With the chapter titled “Platen or the superior uranist”, André Raffalovich closes his book “Uranism and Unisexuality”. It is certainly not a case. Raffalovich has always shown a remarkable sympathy for von Platen and for his conception of homosexuality, which is celebrated by him at the end of the chapter with accents of genuine enthusiasm as well as moral sharing. It should be said immediately that Raffalovich, in his overview on remarkable homosexuals of the history and literature stopped at the first ‘800, with the only exception of Wilde. In his work therefore don’t appear some fundamental characters of the history of homosexuality such as John Addington Symonds, Edward Carpenter and the Raffalovich himself, who belong to the second half of the ‘800 and in some cases have extended their activity to the first decades of ‘900.

Platen, like Grillparzer, Motitz, Goethe, and Byron himself, belongs to a period, in which the debate on homosexuality is still something utopian and vague to be placed in a future of which it was impossible to foresee even the dawn.

The destruction of the memories and of many letters of Byron after his death is a sign of how the idea of the homosexuality of the author was considered unthinkable.

Grillparzer and Moritz were very careful in defending their honorability from the risk of accusations of homosexuality. All these characters (with the exception perhaps of Byron) went through periods of doubt, oscillations and uncertainties about the real dimension of their sexuality because they were totally or almost totally lacking in evidence that could put the dominant prejudice into crisis. They all experienced heterosexual stories in which the emotional participation was really minimal and that today would not be difficult to identify as coverage relationships.

Byron, who had behaved more freely, was forced by gossip to leave England and never returned.

Before Platen, the signs of homosexuality had to be found in little known biographical elements or in the ambiguities of the works, where they were almost always transcribed in heterosexual key. For Platen it is not like that. It could be said that Platen is the first homosexual in the modern sense of the term, because he recognizes his homosexuality, at least in front of his friends, who don’t disown him for this, and affirms his right to love and be loved as a friend of noble soul, because his feeling has nothing to be ashamed of. Raffalovich interprets the fact that Platen considers his homosexual love something dignified and high by hypothesizing the idea that it was a love without sex or almost without sex, and anyway with an extremely sublimated sexuality, a hypothesis that could perhaps be proposed for young Platen, but sounds quite unrealistic for the Italian period of the poet’s life.

It should not be forgotten that Italy, for the whole ‘800, was for the rich homosexuals of northern Europe a true earthly paradise, totally devoid of English moralism and German hypocrisy in matters of sexuality.

Certainly Platen, it seems, even in Italy didn’t live a wild life to the level that will then be typical of Wilde and seems to maintain moralistic attitudes even when he condemns very libertine poets who intend to create a relationship of friendship with him.

But Platen is modern also for another reason: his not to surround his life and his poems of too much caution exposes him to gossip and he ends up being a victim of very heavy and vulgar personal attacks, obviously on charges of homosexuality, advanced in the most vulgar ways by a character like Heine, in other respects an excellent and fine literate of Hebrew origins.

The controversy between Heine and Platen arose for reasons of literary pride, it seems that Heine had not much appreciated a poem by Platen and had expressed about it a very critical, if not scornful, judgment, Platen replied by bringing into play Heine’s Jewish origins. Heine answered letting himself go to insults against Platen related to his homosexuality.

The story of the quarrel between Platen and Heine is the sign of how much the accusation of homosexuality was (and still is today) a weapon that is kept in store and can be unleashed whenever the opportunity arises.

Thomas Mann dedicated a long essay to Platen who, in his solitary death in Syracuse, by cholera (perhaps), is the inspirer of “Death in Venice”, on which Luchino Visconti based his cinematographic masterpiece. But Mann’s work on Platen, rather than representing a hypothetical fight of Platen against homosexuality, embodies in Platen the similar and far more grievous struggle of Mann against his own homosexuality. Today, after the complete publication of Platen’s diaries, the reading of the character made by Mann can no longer be shared. Platen, unlike the great majority of cultured homosexuals of his generation (and also om many of the later ones) had accepted his homosexuality and considered it a value that could not be set aside in any way. Of course, in a world where homosexuality was heavily criminally persecuted and denial was the only attitude of all, including homosexuals, a man like Platen spent his life between disappointments and frustrations, falling in love with heterosexual friends with a lot of misunderstandings, but for him homosexuality was a form of love with capital L and certainly he would not have lowered to the idea of mercenary sex, he’s a character who has maintained high, even as a homosexual, the level of his morality.

Let’s leave the floor to Raffalovich. Below you can read my translation into English of the chapter dedicated to Paletn in “Uranisme et Unisexualité” by Marc André Raffalovich, 1896. My translation into Italian of the entire work can be downloaded without any formalities on the page:



I would like to present in a clear way the noble, interesting and melancholic figure of the poet Auguste, Count of Platen-Hallermünde.

He is for excellence the born uranist, destined, self-assured, upright, complete, courageous, elevated, all dedicated to his love for poetic glory, for poetic art, for intellectual and physical beauty, in the most lively way in which he feels it, because he feels it in accord with his dignity as a man. He strongly loved his friends, Count Fugger, Liebig, A. Kopisch, Gustav Schwab, etc., and raised hateful hate. Even today, the Munich library holds the eighteen volumes of Platen’s diary, and this precious deposit awaits a respectful and intelligent publication, which von Laubman and L. von Scheffler have promised.

In 1860 Engelhardt published some fragments of the diary that stop in 1828 – Platen was born in 1796 and died in 1838. It is with the help of this autobiographical fragments, of his works, his letters and the publications of his friends that I will try to show his physiognomy.

Auguste, Count of Platen-Hallermünde (or Count of Platen, as he preferred to be called) was born October 21th, 1796 in Ansbach where his father was in the service of Prussia. The first Count of Platen, Franz-Ernest, had received his title on July 20th, 1689 by Leopold I.

Platen’s father, born in 1740, had married Miss von Reitzenstein in the first marriage, and from this marriage were born six children, one male and five females. The marriage was unhappy and led to a divorce. Count Platen remarried in 1795 with Louise-Friederike Christiane Eichler von Auritz. They had two sons, the first was the poet, the youngest died at the age of three.

Auguste von Platen, or Platen as I’ll call him, when he was still very young, had a long illness, the famous doctor of Erlangen, Hildebrand, considered it incurable; but the child grew up despite the disease, bred with simplicity, and as happened to most of the noble children born after the French Revolution, he was taught to be on familiar speaking terms with his parents and to feel free in their presence: they never spoke to him about his noble birth.

Platen recalled that his early childhood friends had been Simon Langenfoss and Jeannot Asimont, sons of a French teacher, and two Liebeskind. He also often went to the castle to play with the princess, daughter of Prince Louis of Prussia, brother of the king. He met there also the aunts of the little girl, the Queen Louise of Prussia, and the princess of Thurn und Taxis.

Platen’s father made so many small trips to visit the forests to which he had to supervise and the child remained alone with his mother. She read for him loudly and made him love reading. He soon preferred books to his many toys. He also learned to write early. The first book he read alone contained childish comedies. He loved the theater, he went there as much as possible, he recited some comedies with his companions. In his seventh year he wrote a pastoral comedy and sent it to a young friend.

He wrote many small parts in verse, full of fairies, witches and wizards. Even mythology took possession of his imagination, but the stories of love left him indifferent. He considered love only a theatrical artifice. Despite his fondness for fairy tales, he was rather skeptical. He replied to a professor that there was no hell. It meant that there was no place where souls were roasting.

His mother withdrew completely from the world to take care only of her son. She pushed him to work. She had him write letters to an English girl his age, whom he had never seen, daughter of a childhood friend of the Countess. A young girl, Caroline von Gemmingen, soon came to live with them. Platen and her were always at war.

In 1806 the child, in his ninth year, saw the defeat of the soldiers of the Emperor of Austria, Bernadotte passing through Ansbach and the fall of Prussia; and he became very interested in all these events.

In the same year, General Werneck, the head of the Cadets in Munich, a childhood friend of the father of Platen, offered him to incorporate the boy among the Cadets. The father accepted and the mother took the child to Monaco.

The separation from his mother was a great pain for him, and the rigid and heavy clothes bothered him, but the novelty amused him, and what reconciled him with his new style of life was friendship.

He remained for four years among the Cadets. He described very well the life as it was organized there – the Cadet school had been a Jesuit monastery. There were a hundred Cadets. They almost were not allowed to read, their readings and their correspondence, were rigorously examined. The Cadets were constantly supervised: during the lessons by the teachers, during the recreation by the officers, at night by the servants. They were never left alone. They taught them Mathematics, Geometry, History, Geography, Style, Latin, Religion, French, language to which great attention was paid, Fencing, Dance and almost all musical instruments.

Cadets used to make fun of his verses. At mealtimes he was always at the table in the middle: there were three tables on which the food was proportional to the progress or to the relapses of the students. – Comedies were recited; the number of comedies was limited due to the lack of female roles. Platen never recited such comedies. In his tenth year he probably overcame his childhood illness, because he remembered, not without pleasure, of a trip on foot made during the holidays with some companions and some teachers, a trip to the Tyrol. The Tyrolean people seemed to him kind and considerate. The Cadets slept on straw, but they were well fed. He spent the rest of the holidays at home, happy to be free. The constraints of the college were unbearable. His obstinacy attracted so many punishments on him that they ended up aggravating this trait of his character. He soon found himself on bad terms with the military authorities and with the professor of Lutheran Religion. Platen, although he was a Lutheran, had defended Catholicism in a spirit of contradiction. His stubbornness, he himself says, was punishable, but it was also the beginning of his independence of judgment.

Friendship, after all, made the college bearable for him. Friendship was the goddess of the Cadets. Each one could look for and find a soul similar to his own, and despite the external constraints, a Cadet could be linked to a friend for life.

His first confidant was Friedrich Schnizlein, to whom he entrusted his first writings. He was a perfect confidant, but he was not in favor of the fervor of sentiment in friendship.

Ludwig von Luder, he too Protestant, also received the literary confidence of young Platen. He was older and very intelligent, a lover of science, without disordered inclinations. He always remained Platen’s sincere friend, and their discussions were only about politics.
Among the Cadets in his class he often saw Ernst Wiebeking, Count Sprety, Kasimir Baeumler, Tettenborn, etc .; among those of the other classes, Karl and Alexander Welden, Krazeisen, Brand, Kaeser, Normann, Wilhelm and Joseph Gumppenberg.

Max von Gruber particularly attracted him. He was not very gifted, but full of will, a mathematician lover of poetry, just, solid and without prejudices. He would forgive Voltaire his atheism if Voltaire had not so often denied it; he did not blame any of Napoleon’s evil deeds if they were part of his role as conqueror. It is understandable that the young Platen, who had to feel different from others, clung to Max von Gruber, honest and full of respect for the essential differences between men of value or genius. They always remained friends. Gustav Jacobs, son of the philologist, was also very closely linked to Platen; he was a simple, open-minded boy, he hated pedantry, hardly loved by the authorities, he blamed Platen’s lamentations but praised his poems and was interested in them.

The two Fugger brothers loved Platen too, and Friedrich, the eldest, enthusiastic about Goethe, will remain in the history of German literature related to the name of Platen, honored by his long, tender and modest friendship.

Friedrich Fugger was linked above all to Wilhelm Gumppenberg and joined to him by his love for music. Count Fugger later put many of Platen’s poems into music, and in college he already shared his aversion to drinkers’ songs.

But of all these friendships, the most tender was that for Joseph Xylander. They had met in college for three years, before getting to know each other better. They had this happiness in March 1810, and until the autumn of that year, when Platen left, they enjoyed an almost romantic friendship.

Platen wrote for him many poems that Xylander never saw. He also wrote a hymn to friendship, novels and a comedy, parodies and satires, which made him unwelcome in the environment.

All these attempts were destroyed before the end of 1810. The reading of Homer enthused him and transported him to the Greek world. that was so dear to him.

The war of 1809 with Austria taught him to keep quiet.

The Bavarians loved Napoleon: Platen would have preferred the success of the Austrians, and when Munich was occupied by the Austrians and the Austrian officers came to visit the school of the Cadets, Platen hid his sympathies.

In September 1810 Platen left the Cadets and became one of the king’s Pages. Before joining the group of the Pages he spent two months in his father’s house. He had suffered greatly, leaving Xylander.

At the age of 14, Platen’s character seems to have been well defined: love for poetry and friendship, friendship for young people of his age, educated, serious, and at the same time an exclusively sentimental attachment for someone a little younger than him, and then a lot of stubbornness, sensitivity and ability to suffer, a solid patriotic point of view and a desire to love, to be loved, and to get better.

This is the boy who twenty years old will write in his diary that God, chastity, friendship and learning are the basis of his system.

He rested in the group of Pages from 1810 until 1815. His first impression was sad: he had no friends. They looked at him with indifferent eyes. He had no one to confide in. Little by little he found himself well. Count Kuenigl, whom he knew, came to his aid. Among the Pages there was much more education than among the Cadets, there was more freedom, more cleanliness, the food was better. The clothes were more beautiful, and you could change clothes when you wanted. They were treated like elder boys. You could work on your own and you could read all the classic books.

He loved Latin and Greek, Italian and English. He always wrote a lot and destroyed what he had written. The king was very good with the Pages, and court ceremonies were fun for them. Platen slowly made friends, but not a close friend. A certain Count Lodron Laterano was of some importance to him, making him love Italian. Baron Perglas, a young man with an iron zeal, stimulated him at work, as well as the Counts Gajetan Berchem and Saporta. But he had above all confidence in a certain baron Massenbach, a very honest boy. All were useful for his education. He was weakly religious and prayed fervently only in the unpleasant moments, but he never completely forgot to pray decently, without mumbling. His first communion in 1811 gave him many good intentions.

Professor Hafner, the most important man in the school of Pages, did much to amuse and grow the Pages. He took them to the museums at the Academy, read for them aloud, and when the Pages were in bed he told them stories.

In 1813 Platen decided to become official, not out of affection for the military state, but because this state, according to him, involved more free time and more freedom.

His poetic future always tormented him, he wanted to write a tragedy on Corradino, the friendship of the young Frederick for Corradino had to fill more than one good scene. It is interesting that at the age of seventeen he felt obliged to add a girl in love with Corradino, who followed him disguised and unrecognized to Italy.

He had not yet found his literary path.

A few years later, he resumes the theme of Corradino , finds the friendship of Frederick and Corradino more than enough and no longer needs to invent a girl.

Two days before his seventeenth birthday, Platen begins his diary – and will continue until his death, for twenty-five years. – There are some diary pieces in French, others in English, Italian and Portuguese.

He had the passion to read poets in their own language, and he learned Spanish, Swedish, Danish and Persian.

In his eighteenth year, he thinks he is in love with a young Marquise Euphrasia, the most beautiful girl in the court. He goes to live in the same house, he sees her from time to time, but he realizes in the same year that he was wrong, and leaves the good widow, where he is staying, and the mother of this excellent person, with much more regret than that he felt in leaving the Marquise Euphrasia.

He notices this sentimental error, the only one of his life, it seems, and quickly dissipated. I don’t think any other woman really interested him after that. This passing interest in Euphrasia is a curious and instructive moment in the history of Platen. The need to focus on someone and be interesting, the idea that one should be tenderly in love with someone, the monotony of his life, give him this illusion.

Not many unisexuals have let themselves be so easily illuminated as Platen; the collapse of an ordinary superficial love made them seek out insistently the feelings and emotions that the woman can give, but Platen did not restart at all. He already had enough desires, enough aspirations. He wanted to see foreign countries, Italy, London, Rome.

On March 31st, 1814 he became a lieutenant. He does not like the company of the officers. He comforts himself reading a lot, working a lot. He is quite upset by the license of the costumes around him. He learns that a young poet, named Hesse, sent verses to Goethe and received a reply from him. He is very impressed, he wonders if his verses are worthy of such an expedition.

In the middle of his imagination for Euphrasia a sudden friendship for a young man, Issel, is enough to show the most lively interest of Platen for friendship.

Issel is a young painter and the Grand Duke of Darmstadt makes him travel. At the beginning (the friendship begins on May 28th and ends in June: therefore, above all, it didn’t last long), Issel did not interest him, then he noticed in this painter a great variety of interests, a pure taste in art, a lot of cordiality, lots of attention. Issel would have left after eight or nine days.

Knowing that Platen is interested in poetry, Issel tells him that he had received from young Voss a curl from Schiller’s hair cut after his death and offers to share it with him.

Left together by the friend who had made them meet, they spoke of foreign languages, of Goethe’s works, of such a short life and of such a long art. Issel lives by Nathan Schlichtegroll and advises Platen to get to know him. Then they discuss the reform of the mystical school of Schlegel, of Werner that Issel knows. Issel asks Platen to accompany him to Italy. Platen doesn’t understand how a man of so much spirit can be interested in him.

They often meet after this first meeting. One day Issel begs Platen to read to him some poems [1] and reads to him his own. The next day, Platen reads to him several other poems but then regrets having done so. He feels sad, he thinks he has profaned the paradise of his thoughts having introduced there a stranger. It is possible that Issel (mediocre poet after all), had not appreciated Platen enough. Platen promises to stop writing the verses and frowns at the thought of the loneliness that awaits him. The next day comes the reconciliation: they spend a nice evening together.

Isssel begs him not to abandon poetry, and the next day sends him Schiller’s hair and receives a poem in return. On June 6th Issel tells him he wrote a tragedy (whistled in Frankfurt, about the Countess Platen who played an important role in the court of the Duke of Brunswick, father of George I of England). On the same day, Platen learns that he must bring carts with tents to Battenberg in Tyrol. Issel comforts him, offering to accompany him. The same evening he drinks to his brotherhood with him and Schlichtegroll.

The 9th, Issel and Platen leave together, discussing abuot Dr. Gall, whom Issel knew, reading Wallenstein.

The 10th Platen is happy to see a so beautiful landscape in such a dear company. The same day they have problems. Issel hurts his self-love, then accuses him of curiosity, indiscretion, etc.. Platen finds it offensive to justify himself. They don’t talk any more.

Anyway, climbing up a hill, he meets Issel, who descends, who shouts to have engraved the name of Platen on a stone. When he and Issel leave permanently, Platen regrets having set him aside for his irritable mood and admits that his stubbornness will make him unhappy and will remove many men from him. And he spends two days after Issel’s departure to write several songs.

On June 17th he returned to Munich.

I told this episode in detail, because we can find there what characterizes and strongly distinguishes Platen: his enthusiasm for his young friend, intelligent, cultured, or who wanted to teach or learn. Naturally melancholic himself (since he had left his father’s house), the joy of those he likes, the sweet and calm mood, the laughter of his friend, make him jump with joy. Issel was elder than him, it’s true, but Platen was very young then, he was eighteen.

Later, when he gets to a higher degree of maturity, his friend will be a little younger, young enough to give him the impression of a beautiful youth, but big enough to resemble him, to share his tastes.

Platonic love (philosophical or honorable) has always delighted Platen; for those different from him he had friendship, affection, gratitude, respect. But his passion was directed towards those who seemed to him similar, more beautiful and with more virtuous grace.

This episode of Issel did not last long, but shows Platen at 18 as at 12, who fell in love immediately, expecting to find everything and not always finding great things (as in this Issel) but in any case not finding happiness.

This is the love at the same time intellectual, passionate and sentimental that has made him suffer so much, but that has also kept him intact and dignified. When he wrote the rules of conduct at the age of 20, one was to forget what is sensual in him; another was avoid to study the mystery of physiognomy in the people who interest him, not to think of the absent, to perfect himself, to improve himself.

Even if he says that we must not think of those who are absent, we should not believe him indifferent to his friends; on the contrary, he has been faithful to them, but it is to whom is more than a friend that he tries not to think too much to be able to work and live.

We can already see the difference between Platen and a dissolute; he never seeks rare sensations, but a lasting and fascinating love.

He would have retreated in horror to the loves of Oscar Wilde, in front of the venal loves that are not the quintessence of two noble and manly existences.

In the middle of 1814 he did not recognize himself neither as a man nor as a poet, he is not interested in Euphrasia enough for her to inspire or occupy him. The military state does not suit him, he is advised to study the sciences, poetry still doesn’t belong to him, he goes groping, he has not found himself. His friends are not in Munich, they dispersed. He doesn’t have time to read enough. Nature doesn’t fascinate him when he is alone or bored. However, he reads a lot and in many languages, Petrarca, Dante, the Pastor Fido, Pope, Corneille, Voltaire, Racine, Boileau, etc., and always Goethe. You could apply to Goethe, he said then, what about Goethe said Hamann: “His works are often sibylline books that are understood only when we are in the same situation as the poet.” And we see, for example, Platen at different times of his life who reads and re-reads Goethe, with so much profit as admiration. And as he is in different situations, the same work of Goethe becomes increasingly clear, true and moving. For example, “The natural daughter”, which he doesn’t appreciate at all at the beginning, and which he later admires for its spirit in 1814, becomes for him in 1821, after the tragic sinking of his great passion for Otto von Bulow, a precious mirror of his own pain.

Now he is consoled of his emptiness and of his boredom, of his life that he waits with the discouraged impatience of youth, reading and writing in English with Perglas, reading with him also Virgil and Tasso, skating, concentrating on policy. When Napoleon returns from the island of Elba, he feels a patriotic enthusiasm but Wiebeking spoils this feeling: “If you were to go to serve as a simple soldier for the freedom of Europe you could claim a small part of glory, but you are an officer, and there are many officers. It would be very easy to replace you. You could serve your homeland in a more useful way.”

On November 30th, he reads in a newspaper some maxims drawn from oriental poetry, and copies a certain number of them, struck without knowing why, excited as you can be vaguely in the presence of an important event. Persian poetry was about to express after a short time his secret ideal.

In the spring of 1815 he feels happier, he goes to the English garden every morning to pick up daffodils and to read the Pastor Fido. He writes patriotic poems that serious men read with pleasure. On April 15th, his regiment sets off and arrives at Fontainebleau on July 19th and Platen is back in Germany in November. He seems to have well endured the discomforts of the march, the oppressive heat. His diary is very nice and likeable. He is kindly interested in the good people he meets, he reads very much Petrarch, Jacopone da Todi, Goethe, Eulenspiegel, Eloisa and Abelardo by Pope, that he continually re-reads. He admires gardens, flowers, envies calm and familiar joys, he would like to have with Goethe only a conversation about the destiny of humanity and the spirit of Christianity; then he finds the true letters of Eloisa much more beautiful than those of Pope, and so true. He reads his mother’s letters with great pleasure, writes in prose and verse to Xylander and other friends. The French peasants fascinate him, their kindness, their language enchant him. He is quite isolated among the officers, he totally hates their excesses and their lascivious conversations that he does not take part in. A poem shows how much he suffered from the unpleasant immorality of his companions. At Bar-le-Duc, he is also shocked by the corruption of French books he has found in his room, and his landlady amazes him by saying: Read, my friend, because it is the reading that educates young people.

In Châlons he has the joy not only to meet his friend Schlichtegroll, but also to meet a young German, the secretary of Barclay de Tolly, who tells him that he already knows him very well through Schlichtegroll’s stories. Platen is quite impressed with this observation. In Nemours, he is also happy in the garden of a certain doctor Micheleau whose wife is no longer young, but is so sweet and caring. He speaks French with her with pleasure, and speaks English with an old English lady who lends him some English books. He leaves these kind people with regret and even an old 86-year-old curate, very realist, who says Mass every Sunday, with no other company than his dog and especially his canary, which had been given to him by a certain Rouxelle, a radical, anti-Christian, separated from his Catholic wife, and who lives with his servant, without baptizing his children. “One can be a good man, said the curate, without being a Christian.”

He likes a lot the sub-prefect of Tonnerre, a delightful city, who is a charming young man, the most beautiful model imaginable for a young Roman. On October 6th, he gathers with some old comrades and other young educated men, and Platen can sincerely rejoice by taking part in an intelligent conversation, unambiguously and in a pure dialect. On November 2, he writes in his diary that shame is natural, the shamelessness is acquired. It is certain that Platen was fundamentally modest and full of modesty. On November 3rd, in Troyes, he buys Bérenice, his favorite Racine tragedy. And he notes that in a shop of a rich shopkeeper he saw a clerk, who looked a lot like his friend Xylander.

Back in Germany, he tries to build a system of morals and conduct based on: God, a severe morality, the desire to learn, the love for friends. Without these principles, how can you be happy? How can we fail to aspire to what is higher, how can we do without the chastity of the body and the spirit, the love of study, the friends? And he finds more and more that he cannot argue with young men who speak only of horses, dogs and pleasures, who have neither seriousness in their character nor the desire to perfect themselves and to improve themselves. He feels enriched by everything he has seen, read, thought during this year.

In 1816, he went to Switzerland; in 1817 in the mountains of Bavaria. He still reads a lot of Pascal, Ariosto, Homer, Horace, Alfieri (with whom he finds several similarities) [2], Tasso, Goethe, Byron, Camoens, Calderon, etc.. He makes many projects of tragedies, heroic poems and other things, with all the effervescence of a talent that wanders. He recognized himself in a book on temperament in the chapter: “The sensual melancholic”. There are many impulses of friendship-love that lead nowhere, and yet he is fierce against those who seek him. He has a very masculine nature in its virtues, as in its defects. He must be the one who loves, who discovers, who distinguishes, and demands a sympathy that he doesn’t find at all. You can see, comparing the published fragments of his diary and his poems of that time, as some friends, such as Voelderndorf, worried him and interested him. He reports in the diary every time he meets a young man, polite and kind; he no doubt builds a scaffold of hope every time. He notes in a beautiful poem the sudden emotion of a friend at the sight of Platen and wonders if he is the poet who made his friend’s heart beat, or if it is a coincidence.

At that time, Platen would settle for very little, but he would not be surprised to get everything. He believes he has become very reasonable, he believes he has renounced the dreams that made his life bearable. He is full of modesty, of distrust, he doesn’t believe in his vocation, he is grateful when he is encouraged. He would like to have an advisor, he has too much false shame to cultivate those who could help him. He finds a passage in the Confessions of Rousseau that applies to him, the union “of a very ardent temperament, of lively passions and of ideas slow to be born, embarrassed, and which don’t show up except in hindsight.” He thinks is own merit consists in his struggle to arrive at truth and goodness. Journeys are an exquisite distraction for him. I think it is impossible to read his impressions of travel without feeling sympathy for him.

The day before his twenty-first birthday, one of his poems is published, he immediately sends copies to his parents, to Max von Gruber, to Fugger, to Dall ‘Armi, to Perglas, etc.. His friend Schlichtegroll, who had twenty-five copies, sends one to the painter Issel, and Platen receives from him a leaf grown on the tomb of Virgil.

Despite his friends, who all love the letters and the sciences, for him the life in Munich becomes unbearable and the desire to know, to learn grows so much in him, that he gets by the king to be sent to a university, first to Würzburg and then to Erlangen, first for a year and then for a longer period. The king paid him 600 guldens a year (it was a privilege granted to some of the Pages), his father gave him 300, and he received 12 monthly as an officer. After six months in Würzburg, Schelling, whom he had known as a child, kept him in Erlangen. Platen stays there until 1826.

As soon as he arrives in Erlangen, the change of environment, the professors who are interested in him, the students around him, the ardor of work, make him eventually find his poetic path. He starts writing admirable songs that only injustice has made less known than those of Heine.

Platen must now be pervaded by his masculine ideal, by his masculine love. He loves in silence, he declares himself. “You call me to a painful duty. Yet for one last time I would embrace you, don’t remember me anything before. Who could approach you with indifference, who could coldly see the beautiful, the divine figure, the divine, the beautiful form. Study my life; examine it to see if I have ever been burned by a guilty love, it is only your Dionysiac presence that has conquered my heart.”

“You say I was wrong, you swear to me, but I know you loved me, but now you don’t love me anymore. Your beautiful eyes burned, kisses burned even more, you loved me, confess it, but now you don’t love me anymore. I don’t count on any return of your love. Just confess that you loved me and you don’t love me anymore.”

It is impossible to know to whom these verses are addressed, but they are easy to decipher. Platen, always looking for a fraternal and passionate soul, must have had several disappointments; he was loved calmly, superficially, but not with passion, and probably those who would love him with passion, physically, would not have attracted him. Because in him the senses were confused when the imagination became inflamed.

In 1820 he writes (February 24th): “Never investigate my secret, you must not deepen it, the sympathy will reveal it to you, if we understand each other. Don’t ask what separates us. It is enough that we are separated from one another. What surrounds me, does not understand me and overwhelms me and pushes me, but if I try to console myself in poetry I find myself completely.”

Platen, finally understood his unisexual love and has not been damaged or depraved by this fact.

He is 24 years old, he is ardent, in love, and wants to love only in his own way and only the one whom he thinks worthy of being loved.

He wants passionately to find him, throws himself to his search, recovers, and then is happy with the rest of his heart and his job. On May 10th 1820: “Spring has invited everyone, but not me. He saw me as a prisoner, I was attached to his cheeks, to that face. Now I am free, now spring arrives, only now I can fully enjoy it, even if I’m calmer and calmer than streams and roses.”

In July, he feels again in love. But in the month of August he finds that only the echo has remained. His heart asks for love but he doesn’t know whom to love. This condition of uncertainty of desire tears off him many of the most beautiful poems of German literature.

He is very interested in Persian, studies Hafiz, writes fascinating Ghaselen very well received and appreciated, then comes to his great passion for Otto von Bulow in 1821; on July 13th he makes his acquaintance. He was a young dragon officer in Hanover, who had been given permission to spend a year at the University of Erlangen. He was joyous, light, without affectation and without arrogance, always kind and lovable.

Platen, melancholic in nature, who noted with joy and amazement the two friends with whom he had laughed a lot during his life, falls madly, passionately, platonically in love with Otto von Bulow. He reads Shakespeare’s sonnets greedily and finds there all his affection for Bulow. Full of Hafiz and his love, he finds finally the dreamed and desired ideal, we cannot be surprised by the speed with which the passion of Platen was exalted for his “beautiful friend”, as Fugger calls him in his letters to Platen. The poet’s literary activity naturally increases a lot; he studies oriental books and literature, books are brought from London, Vienna, Munich. He reads Calderon and Sophocles, and welcomes the profound religious sentiment that penetrates Ajax. During a brief absence of Bulow, he writes a poem about him where the name of Bulow is found in each stanza. We see his glory but also the fear that Bulow on the chest of a beautiful girl, is perhaps making fun of his friend. “I should die if I did not write to you; forgive me, Bulow, to love you so much. Who would not be chained by these eyes and these cheeks? Who would not like such joy, but above all a heart so honest? The beautiful Bulow doesn’t give it if not to goodness.”

This happiness (I think it is ridiculous to doubt the chastity of such an eloquent and exalted love at that time) did not last long. In early September, Bulow is recalled to his country and Platen accompanies him to Goettingen.

There, abandoned to his despair, he composes most of the “Ghaselen” of the Hafiz Mirror, which exclusively reflects Platen’s love for Bulow. He reads Cervantes, Persiles and Sigismunde, and other books in different languages.

He meets Goethe, and others, but without making any profit, because he receives a letter from Bulow telling him he is forced to stay in Hanover. The despair of Platen appears in his letters to Fugger. He swears he will no more write poems before he sees Bulow again. The delicacy of heart and spirit of the faithful Fugger is recognized by reading his letters. He doesn’t try to console his poor friend by recommending him resignation or oblivion. Instead, he advises him to hope for an encounter with Bulow; Bulow, he says, cannot forget him or stop being grateful [3]. Fugger also comes to spend some time with Platen, in Erlangen, to distract him.

In December 1821, Platen dreams of making a long trip during the Easter period to see Bulow again. He would have traveled on foot, spending about two guldens a day. He would not have had enough money to see Bulow for long, but at least he would have seen him; he could also go to the beach with him.

He reads the Bible every night in bed, and on January 1st he gets the idea of writing a drama about David and Jonathan, which he had already thought of in the past.

On February 3th, he sees the charming Liebig and makes his acquaintance on 17th. The famous scientist was not yet 20 years old and was then, as a long time later, extremely attractive. A tender friendship immediately linked him to Platen. On February 17th Platen writes: “He has clear ideas in everything and knows what he wants; the more two men approach each other, the more they try to reveal themselves to each other, the more they become enigmatic, and only a superficial man can believe that two men really know each other.” He writes verses for Liebig. Liebig left Erlangen almost immediately and in May spent a couple of days with Platen in Darmstadt; he never saw Platen again, but they continued to write, to love each other, to respect each other, and Liebig later publicly witnessed his friendship for Platen. The latter did not go to meet Bulow, for reasons I don’t know. Was it because of lack of money, or did Bulow get too cold for him? In any case, he announced to Fugger, when he returned from his trip, that he only went to Cologne. Explanations were given verbally.

A new passion seems to have taken possession of him, or rather it is the same passion for an ideal that cannot tame or hold back. It is Cardenio whom he considers the new symbol, the new incarnation of his idol. On July 22nd 1822, he wrote an epistle in verse, another on August 19th. He wrote several Ghaselen and in 1823 seven sonnets in Cardenio, and on March 13th a Ghasele (to Krieger, a student in Erlangen), which seems to close the episode: “The edifice of hope is dissolving – and yet we were so well together – dark hair, my face … ” the poems dedicated to Cardenio are among the most autobiographical and clearest.

Platen denies always to burn of a forbidden love, [4] and complains about the cruelty of his friend. Cardenio is cold and proud, thin and sweet. – In the evening Platen saw him working with his curly hair illuminated by the lamp. Cardenio is his last hope, there are times when he thinks they both suffer the same way. He cannot understand if he inspires hatred, a predilection for him or indifference.

Ah! if he could only rest on Cardenio’s beloved breast. Ah! No, because a more beautiful head rests on his chest; “Take this letter, give it to your beloved so that he can ask himself if he feels in himself a consistency like mine.”

He wishes to be the pipe between the lips of Cardenio, who receives his perpetual kiss, envies his cap, he who almost never could touch his hair. He was illuminated one winter evening by Cardenio who wore a torch, and this memory inspires a beautiful sonnet. – After long trials and long doubts, it seems that the enemies of Platen (the poets have always enemies, especially those sober, those closed and those austere who don’t allow themselves too much) have indisposed Cardenio against his friend. A casual fact left them alone all night, and Platen dared to put his arm around Cardenio and confess his love. Cardenio did not seem shy at all, and did not retreat, seemed to be acquiescent with his silence, and Platen left him, drunk with love, believing that their souls were melting, that their hearts went to beat one beside the other, believing that Cardenio belonged to him, but the following days Cardenio became colder, harder and harder, and Platen let himself go to the love lamentations. If his wish had been guilty he would have understood that coldness; all sadden him; he had a spotless mirror in which to look at himself, now he cannot be reflected in what is dead, and hide all the pains that are being prepared for him.

Platen’s wishes are specified: rest on the chest of an intellectual friend, handsome and trustworthy seems to be Platen’s amorous ideal. Three years later, in 1826, the same ideal will be found in the sonnets in Karl-Theodor German, and also in the great triumphal sonnet that is near the end of the sonnets.

This loving aspiration without a sexual purpose pronounced or admitted made the furious and trivial Heine call Platen “tribade man”.

In any case, Platen’s desire, in his orientation and intensity, is absolutely uranian, platonic, unisexual. Sodomy, sexual intercourses are very far from this love; and this is probably what helps him to recover, in Platen’s eyes, what makes him call it an innocent love. From the point of view of religion or the code of social conventions, obviously, one could say that this type of chastity is dangerous and reprehensible, but how can the lover judge in this way a tyrannical love, which asks nothing of what the debauchery demands?

“My love may not be praiseworthy, says Platen one day, but it seems foolhardy to blame it.”

Platen has never been false or hypocritical; and when he proclaimed his love for Otto von Bulow and for Cardenio, he sincerely believed he loved in an elevated and dignified way. He believed in decentralizing the sexual instinct, transfiguring the senses, making them feel spiritual sensations, and consoling the soul by teaching it bodily emotions. “I am for you what the soul is for the body, what the body is for the soul, I am for you what the woman is for the man, [5] what the man is for the woman” He says in a Ghasele, and so frankly expresses the nature of his love. It is the passion of similarity, of homosexuality, which pushes Platen.

The uranism, the unisexuality are different in him in this way: put aside the female sex, his love is addressed neither to the effeminate, nor to the very young, nor to mature men.
Platen has always been in one piece, direct, and as such has also been treated by many illustrious men, with respect and consideration. The list of contemporaries who have paid homage to his character and talent is long and contains noble names. “I, who have never loved art or half-beauty, have the right, he says, to make accents rarely heard”, and it is certainly what his friends thought. Goethe has made a point of honor to publicly pay tribute to Platen and to assert his superiority over Ruckert.

In 1823, after the disappointment of Cardenio, Platen wrote with inspiration and ease several poems, and thanks to the letters of Liebig, thanks to the friendship of Professor Engelhardt, of Schelling, of Bruchmann, of the scientist Doellinger, of Kernell, a young hectic with whom he studied the Swedish, saw splendid days. This is the culmination of his stay in Erlangen. In Platen, who has nothing of the erotomaniac or degenerate, the sufferings of love are followed by a great intellectual activity, as happens to all superior men who don’t seek oblivion in dissipation or pleasure.

He writes in five days “The glass slipper”, a fairy tale. The Swedish phlegmatic Kernell was so fascinated that he threw himself at the Platen’s neck; and the story, read to friends and their wives and sisters, was very successful.

The last Ghaselen were very well received. Platen receives an interesting letter from Cassel, from Ludwig-Sigismund Ruhl, [6]. Ruhl tells him that sympathy is a mystery that he does not want to deepen. The first verses of Platen had already made him known a sympathy that we feel for a few people. He seems to have understood Platen before Platen understood himself and didn’t hesitate to tell him. If they will ever meet, Platen will be able to convince himself of the relationship between their minds and their lives. He wants an answer. Platen asks for his portrait and receives it accompanied by an enthusiastic letter.

Dramatic poetry now interests Platen. He writes the Treasury of Rhampstnit, Aucassin and Nicolette. On 21st August 1824 he goes to Venice. His first volume of comedies earned him 154 florins. Hanover’s aunt sent him six gold louis.

Venice inspired him the admirable Venetian sonnets, and he was enthusiastic about Italian painters, for the gospel of beauty. His artistic taste is perfected and matures progressively.

Venice makes him forget his past life, and he lives in a present without yesterday.

The October 24 he celebrates his birthday in Venice going in the morning to see the Barbara by Palma in the church of Santa Maria Formosa, then Tiziano and Bellini in S. Giovanni e Paolo, then the Cristo by Campagna in San Giuliano, then goes to S. Crisostomo to see Piombo, then to San Samuele to see the “Sebastiano” by Veronese, I don’t continue the itinerary. On November 9th, he leaves Venice and on the 19th he arrives in Munich after seven years of absence. He thinks that he had been happy, unknown and busy there. He goes to see Xylander and his wife and other friends, old and new. He is celebrated, his sonnets are applauded.

He sees again after seven years Euphrasia, whom he had believed to love, and that no other woman had come to erase in his mind. He comes back to Erlangen which now bores him, is punished militarily for having passed his period of military leave, and remains from January 2 till to March 22th at the arrests in Nuremberg. He reads a lot in this period and writes in prose and verse.

On March 23th, he receives a letter from a melancholic poetess, in love with Platen. He does not like Erlangen anymore after Venice and Munich. His friends are too busy, and he needs to see new faces, new places.

On June 14th in Erlangen one of his plays is staged (Aucassin and Nicolette) with great success in front of a young and friendly audience.

He’s acclaimed by the public and is brought to the scene almost in spite of himself. Schelling after the show gathers friends to honor the poet.

Here the fragments of the diary that we owe to Professor Engelhardt and Karl Pfeufer stop. [7]

In 1826 Platen wrote a comedy in the style of Aristophanes and also twenty-six sonnets in Karl-Theodor German, sonnets and elegies, of rebellion, of desires, of passion. In a letter to Fugger, he says that the author of the play is the most unfortunate of men.

These sonnets in Karl-Theodor German are among the most beautiful in German literature. Platen in the sonnet flies above all German poets, including Goethe. The perfection of form, the poignant and sumptuous emotion is reflected in them perfectly. The feeling is the same as Shakespeare’s sonnets (with the personal note) and the form is that of the Italian or French sonnet. Platen in his sonnets has reached one of the peaks of poetry. He apparently received no hostility and evil from this German, but was once again persecuted by his unhappy choice. Those he loved the most were taken away by the absence or never belonged to him. He was always ready to love faithfully, constantly, always, and never had the opportunity to prove his sincerity, but he kept at least one promise, to give immortality, celebrity.

Who would know Otto von Bulow or Karl-Theodor German without the great poet?

The last sonnet (the twenty-first) [8] of the poet soaked in bitterness ends like this: “How tired I am of my country!”

And in the same year he went to Italy where he stayed until his death in Syracuse, with the exception of a trip to Munich to see his beloved mother who became a widow.

The collection of ninety seven sonnets ends in a surprising and unique way. After having consoled himself of his sufferings of love, remembering that he has always restored the balance of his life with all the strength and all the dignity of his soul, the poet who has so loved and suffered so much, ends with an epithalamy of unisexual love victorious and with his own epitaph, saying calmly what he did, boasting that pure style that has not been overcome, his odes and sonnets, and his influence on the German language.

He arrived in Rome on the thirtieth anniversary of his birth and died in Syracuse December 5th 1835.

This is not a biography of Platen, nor even his literary history. For this reason, a few lines will suffice. Having had great success (and being conscious of it) in the Ghasele, in the song, and in the sonnet, the ode is the only lyrical form that enchants him and he writes odes ever more complicated and formally rigorous. Now he knows himself thoroughly. What amuses the others down there in his country does not amuse him. Nature, for his suffering, honed his hearing and allowed him to use music to perpetuate all pain. He has been slandered and, despite his silence, he suffers a lot. Even in politics (and politics interests him more and more) he cannot say what he thinks. We must therefore put aside (he tells in an ode) the mantle of illusion, the embroidered garment of the senses.

And the following ode, with its love melancholy of honey kisses, its sighs and its looks, messengers of happiness, perhaps, and the silence and darkness, show that the poetic sentiment did not even sleep in this attractive Italy. Did he not then frequently see a young Italian artist, the most beautiful creature he had ever met? But soon his goodness, his affection and his desire to be useful bind him to August Kopisch, musician and poet, who himself expressed his gratitude to his illustrious friend.

“Our bond is not like the most part of the bonds, said Platen, our witnesses are the sea and the earth. The image of your image for a long time was in me, from the moment in which the vocation to friendship had awakened in my soul that longs to see itself again, but more noble, in another person. Chest against chest, servants of love, let us build a new Rome to that love.”

After 1829 the love poems cease. That year the Romantic Oedipus appears, a great comedy in the style of Aristophanes; then, in 1833, a history of the Kingdom of Naples from 1414 to 1443, then the League of Cambrai; then, in 1834, the beautiful poem in nine songs, the Abassids; then, in 1854, the second edition of his poems. After his death his political poems were published.

The climate of Italy, his many Italian friends, the Germans who traveled there, the admirers who wrote to him, his friends in Germany who always loved him, and the absence of the coercions he had undergone in Germany, certainly made him more happy the years of Italy. And one can be sure that even in this voluptuous Italy and less hypocritical than his Bavaria, Platen didn’t renounce either his principles or his dignity. The pleasure without love never inspired him, and a poet so autobiographical would have surely sung the beautiful bodies and the classic caresses if venal love had played an important role in his life. And a man so honest and truthful (his mother, who survived him, said he never told a lie), if he wrote, he would write the truth. Before 1829 there are still very beautiful odes of love, and one would be surprised if after suffering so much to love without body, Platen had not been tempted by bodies without souls; tempted, but not defeated.

When it will be decided to publish Platen’s complete diary, I think that morality, psychology and literature will gain a lot.

Platen is, in my opinion, clearly the male poet and uranist of the enthusiastic friendship and higher uranism. And, as he himself said, if it is impossible to praise his conception of love, it is foolhardy to blame it. He wanted to satisfy in the most intellectual and ideal the needs of his delicate and ardent nature, always seeking the image he had within himself, trying to find this very noble mirror, not content with any other consolation that friendship and art, when he lacked love. Because you must not confuse his friendships and his loves. His friendships were lasting because they were based on his solid virtues; his loves were not because they were an illusion, an ideal to be pursued, of symbols of worship.

“Are there two souls that understand each other completely? He said; man must seek the answer to this enigma, looking for men like him, until death, until he can seek and die.”

In a letter to Schwab Guslav, from Rome, February 16th 1828, Platen talks about a young Waiblinger who had written a poem for him and wanted one. The poet refused because this Waiblinger repelled him too much. “He has talent, but not enough. His stay in Italy is fatal. His poems are no better because he puts inside the Pantheon, the Colosseum, etc. .. But how do you want him to became a Sophocles when he lived like a pig, which he admits every day, because his frankness, he is not afraid of be disgusting. Lord Byron, it is true, was able to give some credentials to the libertine geniuses, but certainly he did not behave badly not even a half of what they said, and then lived in luxury and did not need to attend taverns and brothels.”

Relationships between truthfulness, lies and sexual life are tight. The effeminate people are liars at all levels, from the meticulous perfidy to the unconsciousness, to the incontinence of falsehoods. They observe things badly and report badly what they have observed. The exaggerations of lies and sexuality are well known from hysteric, sick, criminal, insane people.

The courtesans or the independents, Ninon de l’Enclos and her followers have sometimes boast to be honest, which is very difficult for many effeminate men, and even impossible for a certain number.

The uranist, the unisexual male, like Platen or Michelangelo, who is sincere with himself and with others, is in a particular position as regards his sexuality, once he has reached the age of reason. His fiery, lively, flammable temperament makes him want furiously a complete love without fear, without restraint and without suspicion, the determination in love, at the same time, has an ideal of which it would not know how to do without. He cannot pretend to love someone who doesn’t seem worthy to him just to achieve the sweetness of illusion. The effeminate, the presumptuous, the greedy, the fickle, the curious man, those who would abandon themselves to appearances for a little fun, cannot understand the position of the uranist whom truth and truthfulness defend from frivolous pleasures, from deceiver passions, from relationships that don’t last, and that give too much to do, too much to hope for, in order to get drunk with the pleasures of the street Eros.

Let’s teach first of all truth, veracity, sincerity, if we want the sexual man, heterosexual or unisexual, do not stumble under the weight of his sexuality.

[1] Subject of these youthful poems is the love of a girl for her beloved.
[2] The same timidity, the same “taciturna natura” (“taciturn nature”) [in Italian in the text], the same slowness and “ritrosità” (“backwardness”) [in Italian in the text] towards new knowledges, the same stubbornness, the same obstinacy. He was pleased, like him, to be noble because he could more easily despise the prejudices of his caste without being accused of envy. He didn’t even like dance. He could not get used to military coercion, and always felt a certain melancholy when he didn’t like someone or something.
[3] Once again I have to neglect several interesting nuances and several delicate shades.
[4] Like Michelangelo in many poems.
[5] Heine has committed the vulgar action of mentioning only this hemistich and not the next.
[6] A biography of this interesting man is desirable.
[7] Published in 1860.
[8] To K. T. German.

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This post is dedicated to married gays. I will leave aside all the considerations linked to sexual orientation related to guys who have a straight sex life at the couple level and have a typically gay sex life at the masturbation level, because these considerations have an important meaning only before getting married. I will start here from the situation of married gays, as it showed itself to me through the chats with people living this condition.

The totality (or almost totality) of married gays arrives at the wedding with the full awareness of being gay. These are guys who have been masturbating for years exclusively with gay fantasies, that is, thinking about guys, who often have lived sexual experiences with other guys even after 15/16 years of age and even in adulthood, after 20 years of age, and have considered these experiences as “something that everyone does” (including hetero guys) and therefore not indicative of a gay orientation, even if in reality the involvement of a gay guy in a group masturbation session is very different from that of a straight guy. All this, ignoring seemingly minor episodes, such as experiencing erection in the presence of certain guys or the desire to see them naked in the locker rooms of gyms or swimming pools.

The pressure towards heterosexuality (conscious or unconscious) exerted by the environment on these guys has been so strong as to bring them to stop their gay instincts at the level of masturbation and to orient themselves at the same time towards a couple heterosexual sex.

Generally when a guy who suffered a strong social pressure towards heterosexuality, despite his being gay, that is even though oriented in his free sexuality (which manifests itself in masturbation) towards other guys, experiences for the first time a sexual intercourse with a girl his reaction is not necessarily bad at all and, whatever the level of sexual involvement in the contact with the girl (even minimal) is, that sexual intercourse becomes the typical sign that “the gay problem is overcome”. A gay man is a gay man, not an impotent and, especially when he has lived for years in a situation of substantial sexual deprivation, if he is close to a girl in love with him, in a situation that pushes him to a heterosexual intercourse that has at least some features of intimacy and non-superficial warmth, can very well get to have a heterosexual intercourse somehow satisfying. It is clear that such a intercourse has nothing to do with the expression of the free sexuality of that guy who, even feeling terribly guilty, will continue “episodically” to masturbate thinking about guys, or will eventually completely repress his free sexuality forcing himself to put aside masturbation altogether in the belief that masturbation is the cause of the homosexuality.

The first straight intercourses of a gay guy lead him to the idea of having finally overcome the “gay phase” and to have found a “mature sexuality”. Often, for these guys, the fear that gay impulses will forcefully return to be felt is a push to intensify heterosexual intercourses and to go to marriage quickly. It’s the typical idea: “You saved me from homosexuality”, or: “If I get married and can have sex with her every day I will not think about masturbation and my gay impulses will disappear”. Often, therefore, gay guys who go to the marriage, experience periods of intense heterosexual activity, which however are characterized by a deep sense of ambiguity because in almost all cases, these guys, even making love every day with their girls (or with their young wives, if they have already married them) never talk with their mates about their sexual orientation problems. With wives, in principle, at least for some years after marriage, gay husbands do not even mention the problem of homosexuality, there is therefore no real interpersonal communication between husband and wife, who have daily sexual contacts but without an adequate level of trust and mutual communication.

In a percentage of cases around 10%, the guys talk to the girls openly about their doubts of being homosexuals, doubts that are automatically underestimated by girls, who having a straight sexuality are led to think that their boyfriends, by the simple fact that they have sex with them, can only be straight. Generally, a girl is more afraid of her boyfriend’s infidelity with another girl than of the fact that her boyfriend is gay. In some cases the girl thinks she can sexually reorient her boyfriend towards an exclusive heterosexuality by “sexually cuddling” her boyfriend exasperatedly, what results usually in a very quick and clear reaction of rejection. These attitudes as “Red Cross nurse of love” are lived by the guys as aggressive and not respectful towards them.

In the situations described above, the girl still remains convinced of the substantial heterosexuality of the guy but, in some cases at least (rare but not sporadic) the girl has instead full awareness of the fact that her partner is gay and she accepts him as such, that is, the girl, who is really in love with her boyfriend, consciously agrees to stay close to him without any sexual contact or with a sexual contact limited only to the purpose of conception of children, children who may also be explicitly desired by the guy. These attitudes that have something heroic (in a sense at least) are linked to the fact that the solitude of each of the two spouses with respect to the outside is so strong that they must bind each other with a kind of very close symbiosis in order to survive.

It should be emphasized that when a hug is too tight and too long-lasting it risks taking your breath away. In situations like the one described, mutual dependence is very strong and is felt as a bond that sooner or later ends up becoming constrictive. There are couples, and I have known some, who consciously married only to have children, and there are cases (and I have seen some examples) in which a heterosexual wife helps her gay husband to live like a gay man, an attitude in which the boundaries between pleasure and suffering are very fragile. In all these cases, however (about 15-20% of the total married gays) between husband and wife there is still a frank dialog and at least a relationship of friendship and mutual respect. When a gay guy marries a straight girl and they have no children the problems connected to the possible separation are above all of social and patrimonial nature.

Often a gay guy agrees to be with a girl by excluding in his mind the hypothesis of having children and when he realizes that this hypothesis for his wife is essential, the marriage becomes a kind of imposition for him. When there are children the problem of the relationship of a gay married with his homosexuality is extremely more delicate. The emergence of a homosexual tendency is experienced by a gay man who has children as something that can jeopardize the relationship with the children and the feelings of guilt can be very profound. I met a 49-year-old gentleman a few months ago, who had never had a conscious perception of his homosexuality (an exception in the field of married gays), he had a son more than 20 years old but nevertheless he realized that he had a sexual interest for a work colleague. When this gentleman contacted me in his words I felt a deep anguish, due to the fact that he had never suspected he could be gay and was scared of such idea, because his knowledge of gays derived only from reading newspapers and from attitudes typical of the mass media. This gentleman, whom I had the opportunity to hear several times, sincerely loved his wife and son and came to speak openly with both his wife and his son who accepted it and, paradoxically, this form of sincerity has strengthened family ties. That gentleman agreed to live his sexuality as a very private thing exclusively in terms of masturbation and fantasy, totally giving up the idea of looking for a mate and as people say in such situations of “making a new life”.

The solution may seem like a compromise solution to gays who have not been married and who have never had a heterosexual satisfactory family life, but for that gentleman radical choices would have involved a violent cut with the previous life and would have had very little prospect of leading to realization of a new life with another man.

In most cases, however, the family situations of married gays are quite different and much heavier. The lack of sincerity on the problem of homosexuality involves the establishment of a series of formal relationships and under them a series of conflicts, affective life becomes over time a sort of recitation or due act. With his wife, if she requires a frequent sexual intimacy, a married gay ends up pretending, which usually involves many problems, such as the lack of erection that can worry the wife but doesn’t worry her husband who knows that during masturbation with gay fantasies erection is all right. These problems touch the sphere of sexual intimacy of the couple and can be disruptive. Generally, at first a married gay guy tries to repress his homosexuality but over time this attempt is useless and the illusion of heterosexuality turns into a fiction of heterosexuality. The gay impulses are strengthened as the relationship with the wife deteriorates.

It is only right that I explicitly break a spear in favor of the wives who are often completely unaware of the true motivation of the deterioration of the relationship with their husbands and who live, also themselves, really difficult moments. Basically, even if their husbands acted in good faith or did not really realize what they would do with marriage, these women were misled about the true sexual identity of their husbands, who, moreover, were also confused about the matter. The fact remains that at a certain point, a woman who has married a gay man without being aware of it, understands that relations with her husband are substantially frozen, sexual intercourses are completely absent, dialogue is completely lacking, at least on important issues, and marriage is in crisis. When there are children the problem becomes difficult to manage, because in case of separation there is the problem of the entrustment that creates further conflicts between husband and wife which are often resolved in court.

How does he live his sexuality a gay married who has passed the phase (which in many cases doesn’t even exist) of the illusion of being heterosexual? Here the answers are the most varied:

1) The husband accustomed to sexual repression up to play the part of the heterosexual, limits himself to live a gay sexuality in terms of masturbation and porn sites found on the Internet. Such situations are, at most, compatible with the preservation of marriage, at least on a formal level, where there are children, because the external aspect of the family doesn’t change. Often this is the state of affairs to which things stop. The husbands can get to forums like Gay Project or other serious gay sites and simply look for friendships with other gays, often married too, in chat and at a distance. This solution allows a married gay to find a safety valve that puts him in a position to talk openly about his problems and also to find serious answers. It is obviously a compromise solution, but in situations such as those in which a gay married and with children lives it is a situation that is in many respects acceptable, since in most cases we are speaking about men who are no longer young and are totally lacking knowledge about the true life of gays. It should be borne in mind that for a non-young man the chances of finding a “serious” companion (that is, not the one-night experience [risk of aids!]) are not very high and moreover few gay men would be available to build an affective, stable and serious relationship with a man who has a family, has children and therefore has a number of other very strong emotional bonds.

2) If the husband thinks he has to regain lost time looking for a companion with whom to live his affectivity and his sexuality, and the husband is still thirty or so, he can experience situations similar to those of the so-called “frenetic phase” of sexuality of those who discover themselves gay or finally release their gay sexuality at a fully adult age. These guys are not content to masturbate looking at a porn site but sign up for erotic chats and dating sites, giving credit to the idea that the problem of finding a partner is actually a problem that can be solved easily “with a little effort”. Through the chat they get to sexual encounters, often even at risk of AIDS, because a user of dating sites can also have over 100 different partners in a year! Apart from the risk of AIDS, occasional sexual encounters generate feelings of disgust and frustration after the first times. However, it does not follow a rationalization of the behaviors but only the repetition of other attempts with other partners. I emphasize that in these situations the emotional dimension, which is essential in a gay’s emotional and sexual life, is practically completely absent. After a little practice of erotic chats and dating sites, a depressive phase takes place that depending on age can be more or less heavy.

3) There is however a third path followed by married gays towards their gay identity, and it is a path that can only be done in two. I state that the concrete realization of this third way, which is that of “loving friendship”, is not the result of an individual initiative, but is connected to the idea of being already really in two, that there is an “original affective couple reciprocity” and that a real relationship of affectionate friendship already exists, on which an explicit sexual dimension can also be inserted. Given that married gays who end up in a marriage crisis are not very young and are not only undeclared as gay but are declared as hetero, for them the idea of living their sexuality and their affectivity in a strictly private dimension is fundamental. In dating sites and erotic chats there are often people who don’t have too many problems to declare themselves gay, to go to gay clubs and to be seen around with mates clearly gay. Such things are very embarrassing for a married gay, for whom therefore the option of the amorous friendship remains substantially the most desirable. If that friendship is lived with great discretion, it allows the marriage to be maintained at least on a formal level and in some cases even the wives are not in principle opposed to such solutions that allow a stable relationship between the gay father and the children, avoiding putting their emotional growth at risk. I saw, in about 30% of cases, the development of a loving friendship between a married gay and a friend of his, also gay and undeclared. These relationships, even if they occur between fully adult men, have the freshness and genuineness of the first affective contacts between adolescents, allow the two partners to live a deep affective dimension and to integrate sexuality with moments of non-sexual intimacy, linked to totally sincere dialogue and openness and to mutual trust without restrictions, all things that have an enormous value and help not to trivialize sexual intercourse.

For the moment I stop here. I await further input from readers to be able to broaden and deepen the discussion. I would like to point out that the statistical sites show the constant presence of readers who use on the Google search engine keys to Gay Project as “married gays”. The problem exists and it is not statistically irrelevant as usually believed.


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Hi Project,

here you have another mail of mine after 15 days of silence. I’m the 32 year old guy with whom you talked the night between April 13th and 14th. I don’t know what you may have thought that night but for me it was a strange experience, these days I wondered if I had to write another time or not, it took me a while but I decided to write.

When I called you on the night of the 13th I was very depressed. I don’t know if it’s something typical of gays, but I think it’s mostly something that belongs to me, my mood collapses and I see everything black. I really needed to talk because I cannot do it with anyone. As I told you I had tried several times to find friends on chat but with bad results and on the other hand the loneliness weighs and sometimes you get really bad ideas in your head.

I’m no longer a boy and I don’t feel like it, I think the best of life has gone by now, or rather I think I threw it away. I tried to be straight for years and to have a girlfriend but then I didn’t do it anymore and even though I knew I would be alone I told myself that it is better to be alone than to pretend to be what you are not.

As far as the coming out is concerned, I’m not even thinking about it, where I am, it would be destructive. In my family they still hope that the girl who will take me with her arrives. Where I work the word gay raises acid jokes and guffaws.

Sex until recently was reduced to masturbation, pleasant, I do not deny it, but in the long run depressing, because it is like continuing to dream about non-existent things. As I explained to you, my sexuality has slowly disappeared, but also the only emotional desire. In practice I never fell in love, that is, I never found such a guy that I could say that I wanted to be with him. And masturbation has also become an exception in my life whereas before it was a constant.

At the age of 20, when I forced myself to be straight, I masturbated with guilty about guys and so on, etc., but for me it was a very strong sexual interest that I could not really repress. So my problem was to avoid masturbating thinking about guys, and despite all the good intentions, I could not avoid it. Now that I have accepted myself one way or another, it is as if I have completely lost my sexual desire. I don’t need to repress anything, in fact I don’t get excited and even though it seems strange to me, for me it is absolutely spontaneous.

I saw that a guy from the forum wrote things that somehow resemble my experience and I also read the things you wrote. You say that in the end they are not problems but they become problems just because guys see them like problems, but certainly you feel a bit strange, the guy who wrote the post is much younger than me, but in practice from 27/28 years old I happen to think that I don’t even have a sexuality. Let’s say that if I commit myself to masturbating I can do it, but it’s not like before, before it had a strong sexual dimension, now it’s a bit like an ordinary thing, if you do or do not it it’s practically indifferent. Let’s say that I don’t find any motivation of a physical nature for the fact of having put aside sexuality but it is as if I had removed a part of my personality, or rather as if that part of my personality had fallen asleep.

For the rest things are fine, apparently I don’t feel depressed, indeed, at work I also get better results, a bit as if I had transferred the mental time that before I devoted to sexuality to other things. Of course, it creates a strange feeling to hear my friends, all straight, talking about sex as if it were the center of their lives, for me it is not at all and what leaves me more puzzled is the fact that I don’t even fall in love with guys who are objectively beautiful and who in other times would have attracted my fantasies like a strong magnet.

I don’t feel anaffective, but asexual, that is I like the company of guys (even that of girls) with them I’m fine, with my straight friends I go out a little but there is a relationship, practically as before, only now I have stopped already looking with another eye a couple of them that previously interested me even sexually.

Project, when we talked, you tried to encourage me in every way but I don’t feel depressed, I feel good, not at all frustrated by this thing, let’s say that thinking about it is substantially a form of intellectual curiosity. Here are three pages of my diary that could explain the situation better. If you think it useful, publish everything I sent you (I have already changed the names).

See you soon.


January 12th 2009
Work finished, and I think quite well. I have some free time what do I do? I’m going to rest for a while. Mh, I don’t think about sex for a long time, it’s been months since I’ve opened my last porn. I go to the pool twice a week, I see a lot of naked guys but I remain totally indifferent. Before I needed a titanic strength to control myself now it is as if I were in a female dressing room. I’m moving away from these things and it seems to me almost impossible.

January 13th 2009
This morning I saw Matthew, beautiful as the sun! But I really did not give a damn. We went down to get coffee, he was casual, nice, always behaved in the same way, I went to the bar but I felt distant, stranger, and yet Matthew has been my fixed idea for years. Maybe when you understand that he is not for you, the fantasy comes away.

January 21th 2009
Yesterday I went to see “The Reader” a tragic film about a German guy who goes with a woman much older than him and discovers that she was a kapò, film strong, beautiful, the protagonist is a handsome guy and I have also seen him completely naked. In other times it would have shocked me, but yesterday it didn’t make me hot nor cold, at most the idea of exploring the nudity of that guy, but just zero sexual involvement. But is such a thing normal? Boh! It’s just as if I didn’t care about it.

February 6th 2009
Matthew asked me to go swimming with him. In other times something like that would have sent me into orbit. I told him yes, but I don’t really care about it.

February 10th 2009
I’ve been swimming with Matthew and I saw him naked for the first time, he’s a nice guy, also well endowed, but he didn’t make me hot nor cold. He does not think that I can be gay, of course … zero reaction! But the fact is that I think that actually saying that I’m gay doesn’t mean anything. I’ve been, maybe, but I’m not anymore, of course I’m not straight, but if to be gay I have to have fantasies about a guy, then I’m not anymore.

February 21th 2009
In the pool there was a new guy, very young, 20/21 years old, I think, he asked me how the pool works and I explained it to him, then I invited him to the bar and we got a drink. He was alone, without friends, then he told me that he was going to get ready for the pool and he said to me: “Are you coming?” I told him that I would go shortly afterwards, actually I waited for him to go to the pool, then I went to change. I don’t know if I avoided going there when he was there for fear of erection, the fear that could happen was there, anyway when he was there I didn’t go. Perhaps I was afraid that it would “not” happen. At home I have thought about him several times, but with tenderness and nothing happened, at most a half erection, but so, spontaneously, just thinking of a guy, it had not happened to me for a long time. Perhaps next time I go to the locker room with him.

February 28th 2009
With the guy of the pool I think we will be friends. I’m very comfortable with him. I think I’m a bit taking advantage of him. He does not talk about sex, neither guys nor girls, he’s really a good guy, this time he invited me to the bar, then same scene when he went to the locker room, I waited and went there a few minutes after but then I felt very uncomfortable and when he came out I went out too and we ended up in two showers nearby, I was afraid that I would get an explosive erection but nothing happened and he too was completely flaccid, I think he is straight. But it’s a nice guy, naked more than dressed.

March 2, 2009
I know that something is starting to happen to me. I often think of Andrew, even in a sexual key, I would like to cuddle him a bit when he is more melancholic, I think a hug would please him. Thinking about him in a sexual key makes me strange, it’s too young for me and I feel like a maniac, I know that I like this guy, but just as a person.

July 14th 2009
Andrew went to Sicily with his family. But why? This thing crashes me, in the last five years he was the only guy who made sense to me. With him I was really good, there were moments of mutual beautiful tenderness and maybe I would even fall in love with him, I began to have a sex life, that is to masturbate, with so many feelings of guilt, I admit, a bit as if I were a thief of his youth, because I was beginning to fall in love, but now? What should I do now? Write to him? I have his cell phone, I don’t even know if he’s gay, just that I was fine with him. Andrew! Why don’t you contact me again?

July 26th 2009
End of the story! Andrew sent me a beautiful postcard signed also by his girlfriend. I’m happy for him and also because our story was taking a road that I could not control. I feel dry, I don’t want to write anything. That’s enough! I am 32 years old and I feel like a failure from all points of view.


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Scrolling through the catalog of “La Pléiade” it’s easy to realize that from 1972 to 1998 eight full-bodied volumes were published, for a total of more than 14,000 pages, containing the complete work of Julien Green. Those who have even a minimal acquaintance with French Literature know that the honors of “La Pléiade” are due only to the recognized great masters of French literature: Julien Green is one of them. Elected, first of the non-French, among the “immortals” of the Academy of France in 1971, in place of François Mauriac, he resigned in ’96 claiming to feel “exclusively American” and “not at all interested in honors, whatever they are.” 

 He was not actually of French descent, his real name was Julian Hartridge Green. He was born in Paris on September 6, 1900, the last of eight children, from parents of Scottish and Irish ancestry, who emigrated to France from Georgia in 1893. Julien’s grandfather was a rich cotton merchant, owner of plantations, which made in France a good fortune, the mother came from Georgia, the father, originally from Virginia, was a businessman and was Secretary of the American Chamber of Commerce in Paris. 
Julien Green is generally qualified as a Catholic writer, an expression that has, in his case, a very particular meaning: Catholic yes, certainly, but also homosexual. The lacerating attempt to reconcile homosexuality and Catholicism was a constant in his life and it must be said that this attempt to reconcile the irreconcilable, at least giving the word Catholicism the traditional sense that the Catholic hierarchy attributes to it, emerges very clearly throughout the his work.
Julien Green has offered an extremely honest and realistic picture of himself and his inner conflicts. The self-censorship concerning sexual contents has become increasingly less binding over the years and it has happened that subsequent editions of his works have been enriched with many pages, originally omitted; a large part of these pages deals with homosexuality. This is the case of the first volume of the “Diary”, Les années faciles, the first edition of 1938, is heavily censored, while the second, of 1970, which presents almost 200 pages more, gives much more space to the theme of homosexuality. The censorship, on the other hand, remained rigid in relation to the homosexuality of other people, sometimes referred to as pseudonyms.
However, a laic homosexual, in the most radical sense of the term, who approaches the work of Julien Green cannot but recognize a considerable intellectual and moral rigor, of course, in the secular sense of the term, and a basic honesty in dealing with theme of homosexuality and trying to analyze it in front of his own conscience. Julien Green has undoubtedly an emblematic value because he embodies the ideal aspirations and anguish typical of true Catholics who want to be honest with themselves in the face of homosexuality, not considered as a theoretical question or as a problem of others, but as a profound element of their own personality, irreconcilable with faith.
On May 15, 2013, “L’Osservatore Romano”, the newspaper of the Holy See, published an article by Joseph Ratzinger entitled “And Julien Green became himself again”. So Ratzinger expresses himself on the religious education of Green:
“He tells how, from his childhood, his mother, Anglican, had literally immersed him in the Holy Scriptures. It was obvious for him to know by heart all the one hundred and fifty Psalms. Scripture was the atmosphere of his life. And he says: “My mother taught me to understand it as a book of love and deeply permeated me with the idea that, from the beginning to the end of Scripture, it was only love to speak. And all my being wanted nothing but love.” In the end a man who has received such bases cannot be lost.”
These statements by Ratzinger, from a secular point of view and in reference to the homosexuality of Green, instead, think of the violence of a religious education based on Scripture, which was accompanied, among other things, by the radical repression of sexuality, systematically operated, from an early age. As we will see later, this repressive education left deep traces in the soul of adult Julien. To memorize the one hundred and fifty Psalms is not at all obvious to an adolescent who, exposed to such a radically and strictly religious education, risks becoming dependent on many prejudices of religious origin, from which it is often difficult to get free. Julien’s mother was by no means the “ideal religious mother” described by Ratzinger, or perhaps she was fully, the assessment depends on the idea of religion of the one who judges. The fact remains that Julien’s mother heavily conditioned her son in the development of his sexuality. Julien remembers at least twice the rigid behavior of the mother when he was in the bathtub and the attitude of almost rejection that she showed for everything related to sex in relation to her 10 or 11-year-old son.
Julien remembers that when he drew naked bodies they were always completely without sex.[1] The only sexual curiosities came to Julien’s mind by reading the Bible and were systematically resolved with a “You will understand when you grow up. For the moment there is no need for you to know.”
Green does not omit to describe his perplexity at the attempts of other boys to explain something about sex or even to seduce him, in fact he was not able to recognize the normal awakening of sexuality or to have an authentic awareness of pleasure like his peers. He was about 15 years old when some of his high school friends of the Lyceum Janson of Sailly started him with the pleasures of masturbation. At that time the sense of sin was linked to the concept of pure and impure, not through a personal assessment but in terms of permitted or prohibited. Referring to masturbation he says: “As for the gesture in question, I didn’t reconnect it to any known offense.” Weeks passed before it occurred to him that he should regret it.
Julien himself speaks to us of his silent love for his classmate Frédéric: “No carnal desire tormented me. If the heart burned, the senses were sound asleep and I was exceptionally cold. The idea of getting my hands on Frédéric would have seemed to me simply monstrous, because nothing seemed beautiful to me that it was not pure, finding that word in my mind all the power that it had almost lost.”[2] 
Of his love for Frédéric Julien had spoken to the his friend Philippe but not to Father Crété who was in charge of his religious education. Not having the courage to confess to Father Crété what he did with his friend Philippe or alone, he went to confession elsewhere in complete anonymity. Teen Julien is now fascinated by the human body, especially the male one. Julien rarely talks about girls, when he shows a slight interest in a girl, every approach is cut short by the intervention of his sister Mary and his mother, terrified by the idea that Julien could follow a destiny similar to that of his uncle Willie, who died of syphilis inflicted on him by a servant.
At 15, Julien read Baudelaire but was unable to grasp his sensuality.
Only the following year the awakening of the senses occurred, at least partially, during a trip to Italy. In Italy he read Boccaccio and was shocked.
In 1916, after the death of his mother, he converted to Catholicism and let the hypothesis of a vocation  to religious life in the order of the Benedictines emerge. Sister Mary was the first converted to Catholicism, then her father and mother followed her. From a secular point of view it is hard to believe that the conversion of Julian sixteen years old and his momentum towards monastic life were free and well thought out choices.
A year after the conversion we find Julien seventeen years old involved in the war, to volunteer in the red cross of the United States on the Italian front. After the war, now eighteen, oscillates between the idea of religious vocation and artistic tendencies (painting and music). He then went to the United States and studied from 1919 until 1922 Languages and Literature at the University of Virginia, three years of studies offered to him by Savannah’s uncle. It is precisely at the University of Virginia that Green begins to understand that he is “a man with a great secret”, that is, a man who must bring with him the secret of his homosexuality. He is however enchanted by his fellow students, who considers the best humanity imaginable. At the University of Virginia he falls in love with Benton Owen, whom he will call under the pseudonym of Mark. It is through the Virginia guys and through the unconfessable love of Owen that Green realizes the emotional strength of homosexuality. Love towards Owen is platonic but not for this reason it is less violent. Green abandons Mark in 1922 without confessing his love, but then has an unforeseen opportunity to meet him again in July 1923, when Mark is traveling and is in Paris. Julien promises to finally speak clearly to Mark on the Pont-Royal, Mark is ready to listen, but in the end Julien gives up:[3] “One or two minutes later, on the other side of the bridge, I said to Mark:” I’m sorry but I cannot”. He squeezed my arm a little and told me: “I understand you very well” Once again I found myself faced with the risk of permanently losing his affection and I had considered that risk too great. There is no need to stress that in my work Mark reappears continuously, under one form or another. He is always the mysterious handsome guy to whim you does not dare to declare your love. Eric Mac Clure, in “South”, Praileau in “Moïra”, Angus and Wilfred, both of them alternatively, in “Chaque homme dans sa nuit”, Paul in “Le Voyageur”, and especially the handsome guy of “L’Autre Sommeil” “
Perhaps it is no coincidence that after a long time Green has considered the years of Virginia as some of the saddest of his life, were certainly those that troubled him more and put him in front of the reality of his homosexuality.
Leaving the University of Virginia without graduating and returning to France in 1924, Green publishes under the pseudonym Théophile Delaporte the “Pamphlet against the Catholics of France”[4] dedicated “to the six French cardinals.”
Let it be clear, this is not a pamphlet against the Catholic Church but rather a pamphlet against Catholics accused of being too lukewarm with regard to their faith. Some quotes of the text can give an idea of its content. The Catholics of this country have ended up making their religion a habit, to the point that they no longer worry about whether it is true or false, or whether they believe it or not; and this kind of mechanical faith accompanies them to death.[5]
“It is not possible to believe without fighting, but they don’t fight at all with themselves, and accept Catholicism as something simple and natural; and they would end up killing it, if this was possible.”[6]
“However they are Catholics, because they have received the mark of the Church, and they are forever, because the Church does nothing that is not eternal, but these submissive children bring the germs of a powerful corruption. Don’t look elsewhere for the true enemies of this Christian Church of which they believe themselves be the defenders.”[7]
“They were raised in Catholicism; they live and die there, but they don’t understand what they themselves represent or what is happening around them, and they don’t perceive anything of the mystery that surrounds them and separates them from the world.”[8]
“They live in the world as if they were of the world; however, they have been chosen by virtue of certain signs and certain words and if they understand that they have received a mark and are rebelling, they are not less Catholic for this, and if they degrade, they remain Catholics even in their fall and in their damnation.”[9]
“They read the prayers, every word of which is of great importance, and read them as if the prayers were for someone else, for someone else’s life, for someone else’s salvation. One would say that they don’t know that prayers speak only of their condemnation to death and their grace; one would say that they believe that Catholicism was founded for others and if they themselves are part of it, it is only by chance or by game.”[10]
But if 1924 is the year of the apology of Catholicism contained in the Pamphlet It is also the year in which, after having reached the peak of his religious exaltation, Green moved away from Catholicism. Here I quote Ratzinger’s quoted article:
“[Julien Green] He writes that in the interwar period he lived just like a man of today lives: he allowed himself all he wanted, was chained to pleasures contrary to God so that, from one side, he needed it to make his life bearable, but, on the other, he found that life itself unbearable. He looks for ways out, connects relationships, goes to the great theologian Henri Bremond, but the conversation remains on the academic level, theoretical subtleties that don’t help it. He establishes a relationship with the two great philosophers, the spouses Jacques and Raissa Maritain. Raissa Maritain indicates to him a Polish Dominican. He meets him and still describes to him his lacerate life. The priest tells him: “And do you agree to live like this?” “No, of course not!”, He replies. “So do you wants to live differently? Are you repented?” “Yes!” says Green. And then something unexpected happens. The priest tells him: “Kneel! Ego te absolvo a peccatis tuis – I absolve you.” Julien Green writes: “Then I realized that after all I had always awaited this moment, I had always waited for someone to tell me: kneel, I absolve you. I went home: I was not another, no, I had finally become myself.” “
So Julien Green wrote to Jacques to Raissa Maritain on April 25, 1939:
“I am writing a few words to you before leaving, to tell you that this morning I had communion after a conversation I had with Father Rzewuski.”[11]
It’s easy to understand how much the young Ratzinger found in the account of the conversion of Green a confirmation of Saint Cyprian’s famous statement that “there is no salvation outside the Church”.[12]
 Yet Green was Catholic, he had converted at age 16, because people speak of a second “conversion” in 1939? Ratzinger does not explicitly tell us what was there in Green’s life, before April 25, 1939, which then led to the need for a new conversion to Catholicism, and prefers to remain vague on the subject  for the fear of dirtying a character who seemed fully embody the ideal Catholic model. To understand that what happened in the life of Julien before 1939 we can be read a short novel published by Green in ’31, “The other sleep” (L’Autre Sommeil), all centered on the theme of the discovery of homosexuality (awakening) made by Denis, the protagonist.
The novel portrays Denis, first child and then teenager, who lives a life neither better nor worse than that typical of the children of thousands of bourgeois families. The death of his father, who is a liberation for him, marks the true beginning of his youth. Chaste up to 15 years for natural coldness, Denis experiences a little later, the revelation of the pleasure of senses. “With oscillations between coldness and the will to resist, I was weak and sensual” He then knows the strange ways of passion, he believes he loves Andreina but it is Remy, her lover, who fascinates him. “Nothing is as mysterious as the path of passion in a heart without experience.” Claude, Denis’s cousin and childhood friend, who was an orphan after his mother’s death, is welcomed into the house by Denis’s parents and the two guys are living together. For Denis it is as if a dam had collapsed revealing the violence of all that it held, now Denis is aware of being in love with his cousin. He would like to reveal his feelings to Claude, but during the few occasions he has to see him, after a period of absence, before he leaves again, this time definitively, he cannot confess to him those feelings. The protagonist realizes that he will regret this failed declaration for life. This portrait of a young man with a heavy heart, whose dreams, whose desires and fears nourish a rich and terrible inner life, highlights the eternal emotion of a silent love, of a passion that doesn’t dare to declare itself and of which he preserves the sad and useless weight throughout life. This book reveals “the obsession of cold and the fear of fire”, a rather surprising tale of psychological darkness. It is obvious, and Green himself admits it without difficulty, that “L’autre sommeil” reflects his falling in love for “Mark”, the Benton Owen that Julien had met at the University of Virginia, so it is a substantially autobiographical novel. But homosexuality as a fundamental element of Green’s life between the two conversions also emerges from other elements. It is Green himself, in “Jeunesse”, the fourth volume of autobiography, who talks about the period after his return to France from Virginia and presents us with a Julien who attends the meeting places of the Parisian homosexuals of the Lungosenna. It should be added that in that period Green knows and frequents literary man who had publicly declared themselves homosexual like André Gide and Jean Cocteau and also others who were homosexual but much more secretly than Gide and Cocteau, like François Mauriac, on whose homosexuality I refer to the excellent study of Jean-Luc Barré.[13]
The fourth volume of autobiography concludes with a reference to a “person” with whom Julien falls in love and who will make him live the best years of his life. Despite the extreme reticence of Green himself on this point, we know that Green was bound by strong friendship with Robert de Saint-Jean, Green rarely talks about the relationship with his friend and defines it as Platonic. Anyway Green’s Diary and Autobiography leave no doubt that the two have lived together for years. That the link was really important is also apparent from the fact that Green did much to do, after the Germans entered Paris, to allow Saint-Jean to leave and take refuge in the United States.
Saint-Jean was a very important person and very exposed at the time of the German occupation, he was not only one of Green’s dearest friends, most probably the most loved, he was also the deputy chief of staff of the French minister of information.
Saint-Jean had written several times in the French press about Joachim von Ribbentrop, the German foreign minister, who harbored a personal grudge against him, and if he could, he would not have let him escape.
Saint Jean called Green from Bordeaux when the French government was disintegrating, and Green, who had taken refuge near the Spanish border and could have crossed it because for him, an American citizen, the ban on entry into Spain ordered against fleeing French citizens, could not be applied, had no doubt about what to do, he would in no case leave his friend Saint-Jean to his fate and to the revenge of Ribbentrop. In “The end of the world”, which dates back to June 1940, Green tells how he managed to get his friend to Portugal, and then get him a visa for entry to the United States.[14] In essence “The end of the world “of Green is a true love story, even if it doesn’t have such appearance. The relationship between Green and Saint-Jean had begun well before the war. 

In “Fin de Jeunesse” Green talks about a trip to Germany together with Saint-Jean, in the summer of ’29, and doesn’t hide that the purpose was the search for sexual adventures. It was the twilight years of the Weimar Republic and the city of Berlin appeared to the homosexuals as a kind of ideal homeland, where tolerance was highest and the guys were available and not biased against homosexuality. Christopher Isherwood’s “Farewell to Berlin” represents very well the particularly welcoming cultural and human climate typical of Weimar Berlin. However, if we wanted to try to reconstruct the relationship between Green and Saint-Jean, on the basis of Green’s works, we would not come to anything because self-censorship and the defense of privacy are essentially impenetrable. It should be emphasized that Saint-Jean was also a homosexual, in his novel “Passé pas mort” – The undead past[15] male loves are often quoted, without masks or modesty, even if with all the moderation and elegance of writing. The struggle of the soul with the body is also felt in Saint-Jean but less exasperated than it appears in Green: We would have gone through storms and this need for mutual presence would not have failed, this hunger that time cannot satisfy. Why he? Why me? Why this happiness that is nothing more than feeling silent in the same room?[16] 

To try to understand the evolution of Green’s positions towards homosexuality after the second conversion, I would like to focus on two closely related works of Green even if far in time, the novel “Moïra” published in 1950 and the theatrical text “L’étudiant roux” completed by the author in 1993. The play is an adaptation of the novel for the theater but with substantial changes. Who reads the novel tends not to interpret it as a homosexual novel because the protagonist, a nineteen-year-old student of the University of Virginia, red hair, violent and fanatical, yet another literary reincarnation of Benton Owen Green had fallen in love with, is openly heterosexual. Joseph shares with his fellow students that season of life in which the drives explode uncontrolled and in which every value is questioned. Joseph imposes himself both for his physical presence and for his very particular moral disposition as a radical “puritan”, a staunch defender of an uncompromising faith. In the novel there is also a homosexual character, Simon, who, in love with Joseph and, not returned, decides to commit suicide, but it is a marginal episode in the novel, admitted and not granted that such an episode can be considered marginal by who really remains involved. It’s also possible to perceive by intuition something similar to a secret relationship between Joseph and his friend Praileau, but the thing remains too vague to assume a real weight in the development of the story. Moira, which is the Irish form of the name Mary, adopted daughter of Joseph’s landlord, is used to seducing and does not expect herself to be seduced by a beautiful virgin guy who seeks holiness and considers chastity the supreme value. At the end of their only night of love, Joseph will realize that his myth of chastity and holiness is now destroyed and will kill Moira. “I hate sexual instinct,” Joseph said in a dull voice. He stood straight at the table, his fists clenched, his forehead illuminated by the lamp. Something was broken in his features like a wave. With a contained violence, he resumed: “Did you hear what I said? I hate the sexual instinct. Do we yield to that instinct? That blind force is evil [. . . ]. We are conceived in a crisis of dementia.” After mentioning this passage.
Ferdinando Castelli, Jesuit and professor of literature at the pontifical Gregorian university, in his essay “The taste of hell in the novels of Julien Green”[17] continues: Perched in this hatred, Joseph becomes an isolated man: he lives in the company of mistrust, fear, contempt for the sex sphere. They call him “the Angel exterminator”. He has no friends [. . . ], has no interests except that of eternal salvation, he does not grant himself entertainments. Above all it has no love. Can one live without love in proud solitude? When the demon of lust, crouched deep inside, awakes and bites, Joseph strangles the girl with whom he has sinned: Moira.
The reading of the novel by Green given by Castelli, as a conflict between the flesh and the spirit, which on the other hand reproduces a motif dear to Green, seems logical and satisfying, even if it leaves the reader, and especially the homosexual reader, rather perplexed. A beautiful heterosexual guy, paladin of chastity, who strangles the only girl with whom he has had a sexual intercourse inevitably pushes the reader to wonder what is behind the crime and above all what lies behind the hatred declared towards sexuality.
The answer to the doubts comes from Green himself, who in 1993 adapted the story for the theater reveals the arcane: a relationship of homosexual love exists between Joseph and his classmate Praileau. It is Green himself who states that this is the fulcrum of the whole affair. Among other things, in the play, the episode of Simon is greatly reduced and Simon, rejected by Joseph, will simply abandon the university and will not commit suicide as happened in the novel.
Let us now try to give a reading of a non-Catholic but homosexual matrix of the whole affair, of course it is only one of the possible interpretations and it’s up to the reader to judge of its plausibility. Joseph, as already said, a nineteen-year-old student at the University of Virginia, a southern United States region that didn’t shine at the time for openness, has a homosexual love affair with a classmate, Praileau, obviously Joseph and Praileau’s story is lived in a completely hidden way.
Joseph is not afraid of homosexuality itself but of being identified as a homosexual. The love story is lived with such discretion that another homosexual guy, Simon, finding in Joseph something that attracts him and not seeing him at all interested in girls, thinks he can move forward. Joseph is already engaged on an affective level, but the real reason why he leaves Simon is another: Simon tends to express his feelings too openly and Joseph risks being identified as a homosexual. Then there is another fundamental point, for a very nice 19-year-old guy it is obvious to have adventures with girls, Joseph must therefore find something that allows him to keep girls at a distance without fueling gossip, the best trick is chastity for religious convictions. That’s why Joseph becomes the sworn enemy of sexuality, but attention, we talk about heterosexual sexuality. It is in essence a very exasperated attitude but at the same time all exterior. The secret life of Joseph in fact isn’t involved at all, rather it is almost defended and secured by these attitudes. So far we could say that it is a classic homosexual story in a homophobic environment, but apparently at least, one would not understand how Joseph can get to spend a night of sex with a girl and how he can get to strangle her soon after. Let us now try to deepen the discussion. Joseph, is living, it is true, a homosexual love story, but in reality he is not willing to renounce, in the name of that love, to a rewarding life made up of frequent and “normal” social relationships, a little like the Clive of the “Maurice” of Forster.
The appearance of Moira is lacerating for Joseph not because Moira unleashes in him the fire of lust but because she brings to mind a reality alternative to his homosexual love, socially accepted and much less complicated to manage. Moira represents for Joseph the temptation to betray his true love and to live like a hetero guy. Moira is very seductive and Joseph thinks that you can also try to be straight and the thing at a technical level works, this is the great temptation of a repressed gay, but then comes the idea that you cannot betray yourself and live a life that is not your own. Moira is murdered because she destroyed the “true” dream of love of Joseph that is the relationship with Praileau. This reading of the story of “Moira” and “L’étudiant roux”, which is much more credible than that based on a figure of Joseph considered a true heterosexual, torn apart by the struggle between flesh and spirit, is yet another proof of how much, even many years after Green’s second conversion, homosexuality is alive and present in his works.
An example perhaps even more significant is found in another novel “Le malfaiteur”. Green had stopped working on this novel in 1938, when the time for his second conversion to Catholicism was maturing, but in 1955 the intimately felt desire to contribute to a deeper understanding of the homosexual condition led Green to resume and complete the novel “To bring to the attention of serious readers one of the most tragic aspects of the sexual (carnal) life of our modern world, tragic because it involves in a sometimes violent way all affective life and seriously affects spiritual life.”[18] As we see quite clearly, Green, over the years, while remaining Catholic, recovers at least in part his homosexual conscience. The novel has a rather simple plot: Hedwige, a young orphan, lives in the same house as Jean and only partially realizes Jean’s homosexuality, he would not be afraid to explain things to her even if in writing. Gaston Dolange, the object of love both of Hedwige and Jean, is unashamedly homosexual and knows how to monetize his graces.
Gaston, who is not interested in either Hedwige or Jean, appears only briefly at the beginning and end of the novel, but his sexual orientation is absolutely clear both to the other characters and to the reader. The evildoer is Jean, because he loves too much the handsome guys. The bourgeois society is still willing to turn a blind eye avoiding at least sending the police to give scandal knocking on Jean’s door. For years Jean lives hidden then, before disappearing committing suicide, he confesses himself (the so-called confession of Jean), in a letter to Hedwige, the girl, in the text of 1955, is not able to really understand the meaning of what he reads because Jean’s confession is vague and cryptic. She only knows she is a girl in love with a man who will never be able to desire her physically and she will also end up following the path of suicide. If it is true that Green in 1955 considered it his duty to shed light on the unknown world (then as today) of homosexuality, he left his work deliberately in half because, in practice, the text of 1936-38 was published in the ’55 without the fundamental chapter containing “the confession of Jean”. In the ’55 edition, the reasons that push Jean to flee to Italy, where he then committed suicide, remain smoky and incomprehensible, and it should be emphasized that the vision that Green offers of homosexuality is radically negative because Gaston is a nice maintained gay and Jean is a guy deluded and depressed who ends up committing suicide, and as if this were not enough, no explanation is offered either for the behavior of the former or for the latter. Only in 1973, with the second edition of “Le malfaiteur”, there is a substantial resipiscence of Green: the “confession of Jean” is reintroduced in the original integral form of 1938, without censorship, and so, reading the text, we understand that homosexuals, both in Paris and in the province, are forced to attend the typical places of clandestine meetings, disreputable and seedy places, because they are forced to live in falsehood and in constant fear of scandal, are filed and monitored by the police and even denied by their families. The reintroduction of the full text of “Jean’s confession” gives the text another depth and makes serious understandings of the dramatic situations in which homosexuals were forced to live in France in the 1930s.
But let’s close the references to the works and return to the biography of Green. There is a part of his life on which Green is totally reticent, if possible more than about Saint-Jean, I refer to his relationship with his adopted son Eric Jourdan. If Saint-Jean was a year younger than Julien, Eric was 40 years younger than him. Jourdan is a novelist and a playwright, his debut novel “Les Mauvais Anges”, published in 1955, when he was not yet 16, is still one of the most popular homosexual novels, in which sensuality emerges to the highest degree. Pierre and Gérard, two seventeen year old guys are overwhelmed by passion, their sexual desire is violent: “We had wanted to know all the secrets of love in a single night and a real fury guided this discovery, to the point that dawn enlightened in these bodies satiated but not satisfied two young lovers doubly male for their way of taking and giving to each other.”

Such a union could not but arouse jealousy around them. Some young neighbors of whom the two guys had slaughtered the falcons, for play or revenge, kidnap Gérard and rape him. From here begins the sliding of Pierre and Gérard towards death. Their love is both joy and torture. They are both slaves and masters in satisfying their pleasure, they don’t tolerate any compromise and prefer to choose the death that suffer the wear and tear of the feelings and bodies caused by time. As we can see, it is not only a homosexual novel in the most explicit way, but a novel that is immensely distant from the vision of homosexuality typical of Green.
After the publication of “Les Mauvais Anges” Juordan lived in a very free way before being adopted by Green. After his adoption he settled in Paris and remained close to Green until his death. But we don’t know more than this. Francesco Gnerre interviewed Eric Joudan in 2007.[19] Jourdan had made the condition that there were no questions about Green, However, to the explicit question of Gnerre: “Why don’t you want to be asked questions about Julien Green?” Jourdan replies: “The fact is that very often we tend to make allusions to the story of my adoption to belittle my work, and I don’t like this. Of course I adored my foster father, but we never practiced the same kind of writing and our vision of life has always been poles apart. Juliern Green was a fervent Catholic, I am a pagan, an iconoclast. I am convinced that all the churches and religions, in the first place the monotheistic ones, are kept standing by people who exert their influence on individuals and on the community under the exclusive pressure of material interests. They blame the people for “making them pay”, both in terms of cash offerings and the removal of their drives.” Frankly, I don’t think that the relationship between Jourdan and Green can be seen as the relationship between the devil and holy water, things are certainly much more complex. Green and Jourdan met when Jourdan was 15 years old and all kinds of gossip were made about their relationship, but the two did not get destroyed by gossip and after a few years Jourdan’s parents died and Grenn adopted him and even on this the gossip spread. In “La Civiltà Cattolica”,[20] after the death of Green, Ferdinando Castelli published the article “Julien Green witness of the invisible – in memoriam”. Castelli’s article aims to emphasize the figure of Green from the point of view of faith, but in the article there is a direct reference to the problem of homosexuality in the work of Green. “What does Green think about sexuality and homosexuality, themes repeatedly taken up in his work? – “There was in me, in different periods, an element of terror before sexuality in general and homosexuality in particular [. . . ]. In 1958 I won (supprimée) sexuality. I heard a voice saying to me: “Or now or never.” I replied: “If You don’t help me, I cannot do it.” The help has arrived, but the experience has been excruciating. It lasted about two years, but now peace is back “. Homosexuality is a very large theme, it is a mystery that concerns the wider sphere of sexuality. Both homosexuality and heterosexuality fall into the struggle between the flesh and the spirit: the problem is this,”[21] 
I point out that Green doesn’t see a specific problem in homosexuality but tends to frame all the sexual morality in the dimension of the struggle between the flesh and the spirit. Radical dualism seems inevitable to Green, but a secular spirit, faced with these things, wonders what is the reason why sexuality should be suppressed and finds no other motivation than the blind obedience to a precept that is attributed to God. I can understand that in tracing the obituary of a homosexual and Catholic writer, “La Cività Cattolica” is concerned with giving God what belongs to God, but for a secular homosexual, like me, it is essential to give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and highlight the elements of the life and work of Julien Green that make stand out the homosexuality, won or repressed as you like, but essential to understand the true torment of a soul torn by faith. The prohibition of homosexuality, I return to the point, as in general the prohibition of non-procreative sexuality even within marriage, has no other reason than the will to conform anyway to the alleged will of God, even at the cost of suppressing sexuality violently. God gives us sexuality and then forbids us to use it according to our freedom and without harm to anyone. The prohibition has no other reason than to measure the level of obedience and self-denial before the God’s request, a little like the request made to Abraham to sacrifice his son, but, to take back a bit of evangelical language, whoever of us, if he saw his son in a garden full of fruit, would forbid him to eat the fruits of a particular tree to test his obedience? If therefore we, as bad as we are, don’t forbid our children to eat any fruit of the garden, because should God, who is infinite goodness, show Adam the tree of knowledge to say: you will not eat the fruit of this tree? It will be possible to answer that this is a mystery of faith, but it is precisely because faith, through these mechanisms, creates suffering, that I cannot conceive how blind obedience can be made a principle on which to found life.
[1] Julien Green: Religion and Sensuality – By Anthony H. Newbury – p. 12-14.
[2] “Aucun désir charnel ne me tourmentait. Si le cœur brûlait, les sens étaient profondément endormis et j’étais d’une froideur exceptionnelle. L’idée de porter la main sur Frédéric m’eût paru tout bonnement monstrueuse, parce que rien ne me semblait beau qui ne fût pas pur, ce mot retrouvant dans mon esprit tout le pouvoir qu’il avait failli perdre.” – Partir avant le jour.
[3] “Une ou deux minutes plus tard, de l’autre côté du pont, je dis à Mark : «Je regrette, je ne peux pas.» Il me serra légèrement le bras et dit : «Je comprends très bien.» Une fois de plus, j’avais mesuré le risque de perdre à jamais son affection et l’avais jugé trop grand. Ai-je besoin d’indiquer que dans mon œuvre, Mark revient sans cesse, sous une forme ou sous une autre ? II est toujours le mystérieux beau garçon à qui l’on n’ose pas déclarer son amour. Eric Mac Clure, dans Sud, Praileau dans Moïra, Angus et Wilfred, les deux alternativement, dans Chaque homme dans sa nuit, Paul dans Le Voyageur, surtout le beau garçon de L’Autre Sommeil”. (Terre Lointaine, V, pp. 1257-1258)
[4] “Pamphlet contre les catholiques de France”
[5] «Les catholiques de ce pays sont tombés dans l’habitude de leur religion, au point qu’ils ne s’inquiètent plus de savoir si elle est vraie ou fausse, s’ils y croient ou non ; et cette espèce de foi machinale les accompagne jusqu’à la mort.»
[6] «On ne croit pas sans se livrer bataille, mais ils ne luttent pas avec eux-mêmes, et ils acceptent le catholicisme comme quelque chose de simple et de naturel ; ils finiraient par le tuer, si c’était possible.»
[7] «Cependant ils sont catholiques, puisqu’ils ont reçu la marque de l’Eglise, et ils le sont pour toujours, car l’Eglise ne fait rien que d’éternel, mais ces enfants soumis portent les germes d’une corruption puissante. Ne cherchez pas autre part les vrais ennemis de cette Eglise chrétienne dont ils se croient les défenseurs.»
[8] «On les a élevés dans le catholicisme ; ils y vivent et ils meurent, mais ils ne comprennent ni ce qu’ils représentent ni ce qui se passe autour d’eux, et ils ne pressentent rien du mystère qui les enveloppe et qui les sépare du monde.»
[9] «Ils vivent dans le monde comme s’ils étaient du monde ; cependant ils ont été mis à part en vertu de certains signes et de certaines paroles, et s’ils comprennent qu’ils sont marqués, et qu’ils se révoltent, ils n’en sont pas moins catholiques, et s’ils s’avilissent, ils demeurent catholiques dans leur chute et leur damnation.»
[10] «Ils lisent des prières dont chaque mot est d’une grande importance et ils les lisent comme s’il s’agissait, dans ces prières, de quelqu’un d’autre, de la vie de quelqu’un d’autre, du salut de quelqu’un d’autre. On dirait qu’ils ne savent pas qu’on y parle uniquement de leur condamnation à mort et de leur grâce ; on dirait qu’ils croient que le catholicisme a été fondé pour les autres et qu’eux-mêmes, s’ils en font partie, c’est par hasard ou par jeu.»
[11] L’Osservatore Romano, 27/28 August 2008 – “Storie di conversione: il duplice ritorno di Julien Green – by Claudio Toscani”
[12] “Salus extra ecclesiam non est”, Cyprian, epistle 72 to Pope Stephen
[13] François Mauriac, biographie intime, by Jean-Luc Barré – Fayard editor, Paris, 2009.
[14] Julien Green: The End of a World – As Germany occupied France, Green brought Paris to life in his superlative diaries.
[15] Passé pas mort, Grasset, 1983, re-edited in 2012.
[16] «Nous aurons traversé des orages sans que cesse ce besoin réciproque de la présence, faim que le temps ne rassasie pas. Pourquoi lui? Pourquoi moi? Pourquoi ce bonheur rien qu’à se sentir silencieux dans la même pièce?»
[17] Civiltà Cattolica 2971-2976, p. 353.
[18] … de porter à l’attention des lecteurs sérieux un des aspects les plus tragiques de la via charnelle dans notre monde moderne, tragique parce qu’il engage d’une façon parfois violente toute la vie affective et qu’il touche gravement à la vie spirituelle] [Introduction to Le malfaiteur in the Complete Works of 1955.]
[20] La Civiltà Cattolica, 1998 IV, 365-375.
[21] Taken from the interview reproduced in Le Monde on 19 August 1998, 17
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I am very reluctant to write this story because it touches very delicate issues. The facts are told in a very short diary of which a person I know made me have photocopies, I asked the phone number of the author of that diary and they gave it to me, I called him, he knew me only by interposed persons, because he had heard about me and my blogs, but he said I could use that material but he asked me to do it with extreme caution, and that’s what I will do.

The diary in some places presents true dramatic tones. I rewrote the story, (in the first person) summarizing it and, as usual, trying to respect its spirit. I emphasize that what you will find below is absolutely not my personal point of view.

“My story is a very particular story, it is the story of a very intense and very short but essentially impossible gay love, impossible because denied, suffocated in the bud. All this took place over 25 days, I counted them one by one.

I am 23 years old and he, Mark, 19, we met at university, he was enrolled in the first year, I was about to finish letters. It was late afternoon, after classes, he asked me about the institute of glottology, I tried to explain everything and it started like that, then we kept talking and he was fine, he was hesitant but he was happy to be with me. I didn’t know him at all, he was a handsome guy, but I also liked him from other points of view, he was straightforward, authentic, he did not play, that evening I would never go away. I didn’t even think to tell him I was just fine, I had no second purposes, in fact I often talk to some guy, but just because I’m there and I must pass five minutes. I felt bigger than Marco, more mature, somewhat protective.

The next day he looked for me in my classroom and I took him home, a very long and pleasant trip. In the following days I noticed that between us a strong relationship was creating and I didn’t know how to behave, with me Mark talked about everything but never of girls or sex. If I wanted to be honest, at the cost of losing him, I had to tell him exactly how things were. I did it. Marco was deeply troubled because he wanted to be my friend, but not that way, he told me it right away, but he didn’t know if he would ever succeed.

At first I simply thought that being like an object of love of a gay guy was not an acceptable for him, but the problem was not that. I understood it a minute later because he himself told me in an effort of sincerity that must have cost him blood, he told me: “I cannot share your feeling because I am Christian”, but from this sentence I still couldn’t understand what he was really telling me, I simply told him: “I didn’t understand …” And he replied, winning a very strong embarrassment and without looking at me: “I am gay but I am a Christian and I want to live chastely … and being close to you it would be much more difficult.”

I was shocked by this explicit statement, but he is like that, he is not really capable of cheating anyone, ever! Then he told me: “it’s a battle with myself but I have to win it, it may seem absurd to you but for me it’s essential.” I didn’t know how to behave, whether to do all my usual talk about religion or avoid. I said nothing, took it as a form of respect and he didn’t run away, when we saw each other he was happy but always with a sense of underlying guilt. I let him talk about it, I was hoping very much that he could also understand things from my point of view, then we also talked about religion. For him it was an essential thing, He tried in every way and with the utmost commitment to do things honestly. He was not bigoted, he was not invasive, no! He had taken it 100% seriously.

I have not been to churches since I realized I was gay, in practice since I was a kid, but I read some gospel pages willingly, the closures that the Pope has on gays seem to me absolutely immoral but I don’t think at all that religion is a stupid thing.

Mark realized that I had a certain respect for these things and was happy with him, but he never spoke to me about the problem of religion and gays. The twenty-fourth day, one Saturday, he asked me something very strange, he asked me to accompany him to church the next day … I told him that I would certainly come. Sunday was a particular Sunday and there was a bishop who was supposed to confirm more or less twenty guys.

Marco and I have entered. I would have stopped at the bottom, but Marco wanted me to go further with him and we went to a desk about halfway up the church. The bishop entered for the mass, a thin, tall, old man. The guys were singing, the church was full of people, there was a nice atmosphere. Then the bishop made his speech e he said some very beautiful things, which moved me, on the fact that we are all brothers and that loving our neighbor is difficult. In practice there was not a single word of the bishop’s preaching that I would not have said identical. They seemed like beautiful things, 100% shareable, then we exchanged peace, but it did not have the ritual flavor it usually has, it was serious.

He got up and went to confession on the way back he knelt right next to me, then he went to make communion, he was happy as I had never seen him. When we left the church we talked for a quarter of an hour and he told me that he wanted to be a priest but that now he would have problems in the seminary, before deciding he had to be sure he could take it all the way without hesitation, he explained to me that he would first have to solve the problem of homosexuality and that if I loved him I really had to help him by not looking for him anymore.

I think nobody can imagine what I felt in those moments, I was upset, I didn’t know what to say, he asked me to say goodbye forever and I respected his decision, I told him that I would love him always and however, he replied that he knew this and that he too would not forget me but that his path was different.

It’s been a week now and I have not heard from him. Now I feel sick inside, I feel lonely, I feel lonely and I think I was a coward, I didn’t do what I should, I think I only respected his words and not his soul, that I did him go for what he told me to be his way but that maybe it’s not really his way, because he chose that choice in a dramatic way, because he was split in two, because to save his soul he had to destroy himself. What makes me feel bad is that if he had to repent of his choice he would have no one willing to listen to him. I absurdly followed him in choosing the path that led him permanently away from me, but if he wanted to go back, no one would help him and I think that sooner or later he can go into crisis. The sense of despair comes to me not only for me but above all for him and I feel guilty and I think that my behavior was hypocritical because respecting a person means always telling everything you think and I didn’t do it with him.”


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Hi Project,

I don’t know if you are a real person or a group of people, I will do as if you were a person. Meanwhile, thank you for creating the blog, but I must tell you now that gay things for me have a strange taste, I’m quite full of complexes about these things and even now, as an old man, I’m upset by a lot of strange and absurd thoughts. I don’t know if I’m really gay, I don’t even know if I want to be gay, I’m sure that in the things of sex I lived the life of a pathological case, a neurotic man who never managed to find his balance. That said, you certainly didn’t understand anything, so it’s worth it to tell you what happened. I would like you to put my story on the blog, but if you don’t want it I can understand you. In any case I would like to receive your answer.

I was born in Northern Italy, in Veneto, and then there was really hunger in those places. My parents were farmers and I was the only surviving child. My older brother had died in the war and after the elementary school in the country, my parents had to decide whether to send me to the middle school (with Latin and aimed at the continuation of studies) or to the job placement school (allowing immediate access to work without continuing education). My parents had little money but they made a huge effort to send me to the middle school, to make me study and give me more possibilities. I thank them for this because my economic tranquility of today is the result of their choice.

I did the first and second class of the middle school in a town near my country. I had to get up very early in the morning to get the bus, my mother washed and stretched my shirt every day, because I only had two shirts and at school I had to go well dressed, she also polished my shoes, dad lined my books and made me find good things to eat, which were chestnuts or figs, according to the season. There was the Latin in the middle school and for me it was a big obstacle, but there was the parish priest, Don Antony, who gave me lessons in the afternoon and had me do all my homework. The other guys in my classroom were all from rich or at least middle-class families, but then I didn’t realize it. When there were meetings with the professors Don Antony went there instead of my parents, and I didn’t understand why, but my parents didn’t show up for fear of making me look bad, because they didn’t speak Italian well and their hands were ruined by the work in the country side. My dad had only finished elementary school and my mother hadn’t even finished it.

Despite everything, at school I did not have serious problems of adaptation, the professors were very demanding but I had a certain desire to study and with the help of Don Antony, who had half a mind to send me, later, in the seminar, I managed to I pass quite well.

In the summer of 57 I lost both my parents because of a typhoid fever that the doctor couldn’t cure and I found myself, at 13, practically alone in the world. I was entrusted to a brother of my mother, Uncle Battista, who lived in a small village in the mountains and had the animals in a mountain pasture. If I went to stay with Uncle Battista, who was also old, widower, and had no children, I could not continue to study. The uncle told me that I could either go to the seminary in Vicenza or go to boarding school in Rome, in a school that Don Antony knew. I didn’t want to go to the seminary absolutely and chose to go to Rome, where I had never been. They signed me to school and Uncle Battista took charge of paying the fee, which should not have been so low, because I would have eaten and slept in that boarding school.

Don Antony accompanied me to Rome and introduced me to the Rector of the school, to tell the truth a little shabby, but clean, it was a convent of friars, there was the church, but there were few friars, no more than seven or eight, all old. The boarding school was run by the prefect friar, who was hardly ever seen, all the internal organization was entrusted to young people, university students, whom we called little prefects, they were guys who were in college without paying because in practice they were working with us, paying attention to us, they were the ones who followed us during the hours of study and they made us do our homework, they watched us in the afternoon, during meals, and at night they slept in their small rooms, one next to each dormitory, to control the discipline. In general, they didn’t care so much about us because they had a lot to study for their university exams.

I was new in the boarding school, my comrades had known each other for two years. The school was not bad, all professors were laymen, basically retired teachers of state schools, they were all old but good and they spent their souls to make us learn things. I still remember some professors. The professor of mathematics to which I owe my interest in this subject, in which I was very good, the professor of Italian and Latin who told us the stories of Iliad and Odyssey reciting as in the theater and also the gym teacher who practically made us do premilitary gymnastics, as at the time of fascism. The first days I was fine and I wrote it to Don Antony, who sent me a letter every week, but as early as mid-October I began to see strange things.

There were some boys who disappeared from the study hall and no one knew where they ended up and then they came back half an hour later, I was totally naïve at that time, I didn’t know anything about sex, I had not yet discovered masturbation and they could tell me anything that I would have believed it. The other boys, who didn’t know me, tended to put me aside and keep me out of their secrets, but it did not take me long to realize that in the boarding school there was an invisible, underground life.

For an internal rule, the dorms were distinguished by years of school, so as to keep the children of different ages separate. We saw the students of the sixth and seventh grade only at breakfast, at lunch, at dinner and on special occasions, for example in church, but the recreation was done for separate groups, so in practice I could only get familiar with the boys of the eighth grade.

At the time I was a nice guy for my age, but I was very delicate and very polite. After the first weeks of school one of the boys, one of the most respected little bosses, began to call me “man-woman” and to make jokes that at first I didn’t even understand, like; “You are a man, not your sister!” Then the idea that I was the man-woman began to spread among all my comrades.

One day, during the hours of study, one of the boys approached the little prefect for an explanation of mathematics, the little prefect told him that he was studying letters and that if he wanted to, he could go to another little prefect who was studying engineering in his room. The boy came back to the study room after about half an hour all blushed and disheveled, it was there that I had the first suspicion that the half hours of absence of some boys were not dedicated to receive school explanations. But it was only an impression, I said nothing and everything went on as before.

One evening, before going to sleep, when the little prefect was not there, the little bully boss, who was called Silvan, approached me and gave me a caress and then put his hands in the middle of my legs and said: “it’s just to see if you’re a man or a woman!” I felt my face burn, I wanted to go to the little prefect to report it but Silvan told me: “Go go! So he also will give you a good check!” And laughed.

Over time they told me that one of the little prefects, the one of engineering, in practice the one of our dorm, had sex with the boys of the eighth grade. With me he never tried such things because I didn’t give him confidence, but according to the stories of others, with those who gave him rope he let himself go right. He was a nice guy, I wanted, maybe, that it happened with me, but at the same time I was afraid and nothing happened.

The first really bad things happened to me just before Christmas holidays. The boys were abandoned to themselves, the little prefects were almost all gone for Christmas holidays, except our little prefect, the one of engineering. I make it short because, even if so many years have passed, such things cause me a little repulsion. In short, four guys block me on the bed, they lower my trousers and pants, and Silvan tries to penetrate me, let’s say he makes the move, I scream, but they put a handkerchief in my mouth and then they are four guys and I don’t have the strength to oppose. There was no penetration but the humiliation was terrible. Silvan told me: “Now you understand what will happen to you if you don’t do everything we want!” At that moment, if I could I would have killed him.

After that I keep them at a distance, I show myself as little as possible, but things cannot go on like this. If I had not done anything I would have become the laughing stock of Sivan and his gang and the violence would have been repeated.

I think about it a lot, but in the end I have no other solutions, I take the courage in my hands and I go to talk with our little prefect (the one of engineering), who listens to me, he’s frightened above all by the idea that I go to speak with the Rector, and it’s evident, he tries to reassure me and then we come to a compromise that I never expected from him but that, at the same time, put me safe and exposed me to the worst insults from my classmates. In practice, the prefect would have slept in my dormitory bed and I in his, in his locked room. This whole thing happened, obviously without the true prefect of the college knowing anything about it and the boys had to tolerate everything, if they had not done so, what they had done to me would come out. Then, to keep quiet my comrades, who would kill me, I ended up accepting that the little prefect would come to sleep in his little room too. Of course, afterwards, my comrades considered me just as a whore.

About the engineering little prefect I heard the worst things: that he undressed the boys, was competing with them to see who had the biggest dick and used to beat them to get sexual performances and similar things and some guys swore it was true and that it had happened to them, but the little prefect, with me had never tried such things.

One day, while I was in his room I start to rummage and between the mattress and the bed base I find a package with some letters, I read them, they are directed to a guy but they are love letters and also hot. I think then that all my comrades say about him is true and I start to be afraid.

And here I did something I’m still ashamed of today, I told one of my comrades about the little prefect’s letters, and he tried to push me to steal the letters to have him in hand and maybe to take them secretly to the Rector. I didn’t do this thing, it seemed infamous and then I liked the little prefect and I didn’t want him to be fired or maybe I wanted to have him in my hand. But now another boy knew about the letters and soon everyone would know and the letters would have been stolen by others, then I entered the little prefect’s room, I took them, and I hid them somewhere else (in church).

When the little prefect came back I said I had to talk to him and I told him that the boys knew about his letters, I saw him paling at that thought, but I also told him that I had made the letters disappear and that they were hidden in a safe place, where no one would find them. He wanted them back but I didn’t give them to him and I told him I had read them. He looked at me petrified but I told him that he had nothing to fear because he had behaved well with me, then I told him about all the things I had heard about him and asked him if they were true. He admitted having done some sex games with the boys but only consensual things and he swore it to me. I told him about what Silvan and his gang had done to me and he told me that they didn’t do it for sex but only to inflict a terrible humiliation on another boy, and then he asked me if I liked guys, I thought about it and I honestly replied that I didn’t know it and he told me: What a pity! Then he realized that he had said something stupid and apologized and after many hesitations asked me where the letters were and I told him but I asked him to leave them there because they were safe, maybe he could go and see that there they really were, but I wanted him to leave them there and he did so.

The story of the little prefect however ended badly and perhaps it was my fault. The boy to whom I had talked about the letters, went to report the matter to the Rector. The little prefect denied everything, I was called as a witness, I swore the false and said that my comrade had invented everything. The facts were not proven, but the Rector didn’t want to know reasons and the little prefect was kicked out, or rather removed for reasons of opportunity, a few months before his graduation exams. Before he left, he secretly took up the letters and warned me that he had taken them.

The new prefect was an emeritus imbecile. In the last months before the exams I suffered from the gang of Silvan harassment and violence of all kinds, and this time, since they had to avenge on me that I had been the “favorite of the fag” I really suffered sexual violence by Silvan and another boy. [- omissis -] The feeling of repulsion was total, I will not tell you how I felt after, I still carry inside myself the memory of that scene because that was not sex but only violence like the beasts and even worse. My classmates were 14 years old and in the end I cannot hate them or wish them death, because they didn’t even understand what they were doing.

In short, afterwards I was obsessed with those memories for decades and my sex life was ruined. The memory of the little prefect instead was positive, then I understood: he was really a gay guy, and I liked him well, he had not behaved like an asshole, but the idea that I could be gay just because of the violent initiation I suffered, ruined my life. I’m not married and I don’t have a partner, I’m alone, and absurd as it seems, gay sex seems repugnant to me, but I don’t know, don’t really know, if this happens because of the violence suffered, but I think so.

Anyone who uses sexual violence on another person kills that person inside, kills the dignity, the certainties of that person, dirties his/her sexuality forever. The boys should receive a serious education and learn the true respect of others, but unfortunately, even if fifty years have passed, we are still very far from all this.

Thanks Project, at least I vented a bit.


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It happened to me many times over the past 10 years to write about the sexual abuse of minors and about the consequences that these abuses entail in the lives of the victims. I would like to dedicate this post to clarifying some fundamental points. I will start from the concept of abuse to illustrate the most typical situations in which the abuse takes shape. I will then stop on the effects of the abuse on the victim’s sexuality in childhood, adolescence and later in adulthood. I will focus in particular on the concrete risk that those who have suffered sexual abuse may in turn perpetrate child abuse and on sexual addiction as a result of the suffered abuse.

A premise is a must, my speech is based on the experience gained in Gay Project and, of course, only deals with situations where guys have come to speak explicitly of the suffered abuses. Basically these guys have already a rational awareness of what they have suffered and, at least in a relative way, they are able to objectify it, so they are guys who have already followed an important individual path and have overcome many of the conditioning induced by abuse.

Let’s start with the concept of abuse. Sexual abuse is distinguished from sexual violence because, unlike this, it almost never presents itself with violent or intimidating methods and, very often, at the beginning, in the future abuser there is not even a clear desire to make an abuse.

The collective imagery depicts the abuser as a perverse-minded maniac who, after having spotted casually the child, consciously conceives a project of abuse and stubbornly completes it, but things are objectively very different.

The abuser, in the vast majority of cases, is not a stranger but a close relative of the child or a family friend who habitually frequents him and who has considerable familiarity with the child.

It should be emphasized that a child generally doesn’t have inhibitory brakes and his childhood play has an immediate physicality that is difficult to understand for an adult. The beginning of the path, often long and non-linear, which leads to abuse, lies precisely in the familiarity between the adult and the child. This familiarity also means at least relative freedom of language, freedom of play and often physical contact.

Since statistics make us aware that a high proportion of abusers are adults who in turn have been abused, it is easy to understand that if an adult who was abused when he was a child is in situations similar to those in which he has suffered abuse, he can, more or less consciously, remain conditioned. The temptation to play the role of the abuser can become very strong and the ability to resist this temptation can reach the breaking point.

Generally when the abuser is an adult who has been abused in childhood, the initiative of the new abuse is really of the adult, even if the path towards the abuse is very gradual and goes through stages of advancement and regression. On the other hand, if we consider an adult who has never been abused, things often develop with much less awareness, without a predetermined scheme and almost spontaneously.

The adult grants the child too much freedom without understanding in advance the risks that this behavior may entail. The adult underestimates, or better, is led to underestimate the seriousness of the abuse, and commits some typical errors of evaluation induced, or rather self-induced by a need of justification. He believes that since the boy is very young, he will take the thing as a game, he will not understand the sexual implications and above all he will forget very easily that experience, but evidently these three hypotheses are totally unfounded, and are destined only to fuel the irresponsibility of the adult. The adult who ends up accepting a risqué sexual game with a child pretends to find a justification in sentences such as: “the child was consenting” or even: “I did nothing but play his game”. It is evident that these two formulas, which may make sense to legitimize free sexual behavior with an adult, cannot absolutely apply to a child, because the child is objectively unable to understand the long-term consequences of what he may have also sought.

It is evident that sex education should aim, among other things, also and in particular, to make adults aware of the severity of the consequences of pedophilia, also making it clear that in many cases people slip towards pedophilia very gradually, and often have no awareness of it, and when the awareness arrives, the damage is now irreparable.

It should be noted that one of the fundamental parameters for quantifying the harm produced by sexual abuse on a minor is the duration of the abuse. When the abuse occurs in a single episode, it certainly leaves much less traces, especially if the abuser is not a family member, but if the abuse is repeated and becomes routine and is accompanied by threats such as: “Don’t tell no one, if not, you don’t know what will happen!” creates a state of subjection and real compulsion, that is, becomes a true form of violence.

Anyone who has committed a single abuse of a child would do well, if he has a minimum of conscience, to go and live in another city to avoid that his presence can help to consolidate the memory of the abuse. The behavior of the adult who starting from the assumption that “since now the damage is done”, thinks it is worth to make the abuse become a habit, confuses two totally different plans, that of the abuser and that of the abused. In legal terms after the first abuse one is guilty of a serious crime, technically of a delict, and there is the risk of being denounced and prosecuted, even if the continuation of criminal conduct over time aggravates the crime, the termination of those conducts does not cancel the crime anyway, and the adult who transforms the abuse into a habitual fact starts just from this reasoning; but from the point of view of the child, the repetition of the abuse can really create years after very dangerous situations, as forms of self-blame, interruption of dialogue with parents resulting in a progressive isolation of the guy, and above all can represent for the guy a sexual imprinting able to affect his whole life, creating addictions and heavily interfering in the formation of sexual archetypes and therefore in his sexual orientation and related preferences.

If the abuse is not violent the victim may not immediately notice the danger, but after years, when the level of awareness will be adequate, the memory of the abuse will work in the depths of the guy’s conscience. Most of the damage resulting from non-violent abuse occurs within adolescence. When the boy’s deep and innate sexuality awakens; if it is a straight sexuality, the boy, although deeply suffering for the memory of what happened, in going to (hetero) adult sexuality will also feel a sense of release from the memory of the abuse suffered, in essence the memory of the abuse will be completely separate from adult sexuality.

On the other hand, if adult sexuality were to manifest itself as gay, things would become complicated because gay feelings would be strongly conditioned by the memory of the abuse to such an extent that the guy would think he is gay only as a consequence of the abuse and this would mean that an atmosphere of negativity linked to abuse would be automatically extended to the nascent gay feelings. What I have just written is not a theoretical discourse but it is what I have seen practically in gay guys who have suffered abuse. But there’s even more: the negative light cast on the nascent gay dimension due to the contamination with the memory of the abuse often provokes attempts to escape towards heterosexuality (the so-called escape-heterosexuality) destined to end up miserably and sometimes in long times, leaving behind feelings of frustration and depressive thinking.

It should be immediately clear that the negative effects of the abuse are practically always extended to adulthood. The memory of the facts, especially if they were systematically repeated for long periods, becomes obsessive, the guy, now grown up, often reviews the scene of the abuse that becomes the core of an obsessive-compulsive disorder and as such, despite being substantially an intrusive and disturbing thought, ends up taking on more and more attractive characters. The guy tries to recreate in his current life situations similar to those of the abuse, in some cases creates more or less unconsciously intergenerational relationships in which however the genuine sexuality is very intimately mixed with the obsessive thought of the abuse, and slowly, the abused guy, becoming an adult, begins to wonder how he would behave if he were on the side of the abuser, and here often moments of deep crisis come, because a grownup man realizes that the abuse has not only conditioned his sexuality but may have transformed him in a potential pedophile, that is, in turn, in an objectively dangerous person.

In their sexual life, adults who were abused when they were children tend very often to reproduce sexual behaviors and practices corresponding to those that were the object of the abuse. The compulsion to repeat those behaviors can be close to addiction. In essence, an adult comes to the awareness that the abuse has literally ruined his life and has marked his sexuality in a very negative way so much so that he becomes a potential pedophile through obsessive fantasies of that type.

We will now try to understand how an adult who has been abused in childhood tends to build an emotional and sexual life. Obviously, here the speech will be restricted only to situations concerning adult men abused in childhood by men. When I say adults, I intend to refer to people aged at least twenty. It should never be forgotten that those who come into contact with these adults don’t know their story because even in the context of an important emotional relationship, the adult who has been abused in childhood, if he arrives to talk about these things with his partner, what is not to be taken for granted, will do it only after a long time, when the affective relationship will be well established and it will be reasonably foreseeable that a clear discourse will not undermine the relationship itself. The fear of not being accepted that seen from the outside seems to be connected right away to the abuse, actually hides a much deeper and more consistent fear linked to the fact that adults abused in childhood can have and in fact often have sexual fantasies concerning minors, and at this point the partner may feel deeply uncomfortable.

It should be added that often, when not exclusively, the adult who has been abused as a child tends to create intergenerational relationships, and in these relationships the oldest partner is afraid of being accused of something, in some way, akin to pedophilia. In these cases the older partner tends easily to marginalize the younger because this one is a carrier of more or less sporadic fantasies about minors, and because he realizes that the intergenerational relationship tends to be a repetition of the abuse scene. It is obvious that the adult who has been the victim of abuse, let’s call him an adult A, tends to keep the subject for himself, but in doing so he realizes that the relationship is deeply conditioned by unspoken things that are still very important. It sometimes happens that the adult A tries in a more or less transversal way to share with his partner fantasies about minors, which for him are sometimes true obsessive thoughts; this serves to probe the ground without arriving at explicit discourses.

When the explicit speech arrives, the partner’s reaction is fundamental. Every rejection reaction is particularly traumatic for the adult A, because it attributes to him a fault that he does not have, turning in fact him into a potential criminal, who is in reality only a victim. At the statistical level it is practically impossible for the partner to share the fantasies of the adult A about children, also urged and solicited by adult A, the partner should not respond by complacency stating to share those fantasies, at least partially, but must tell the truth in the clearest way, remembering that adult A is not asking him for a sharing of fantasies that he himself would not want, but in reality he is asking him if the more or less obsessive presence of those fantasies can be able to undermine at the base the relationship itself and he is also asking (if it is an intergenerational relationship) if the fact that the relationship is “also” a way of reliving the moments of abuse can destroy its actual affective interpersonal meaning.

If the partner who does not share the fantasies of the adult A about minors is really interested in maintaining a strong emotional relationship, he must make it explicitly understood. The most irresponsible behavior of the partner is to pretend not to have understood or worse in minimizing, because to speak clearly on these issues, for the adult A is at the same time very difficult and fundamental. The most reassuring speech on the part of the partner is to make clear some elements: 1) Having fantasies about minors and putting them into practice are two very different things. 2) The fantasies, especially the obsessive ones, are not easy to be controlled, but if an adult A has a sense of responsibility, those fantasies remain only fantasies and never turn into acts harmful to others. 3) If an intergenerational relationship may have been established “even” to reproduce a situation similar to that of the abuse, it is still a totally different thing precisely because in that relationship it is possible to talk about the abuse, because now the sexuality has a profound emotional value.

An adult A needs above all emotional stability, to be able to trust and to be himself with his partner, without hiding his neuroses, his obsessions and his most intimate thoughts. An adult A should not be accepted only as an adult but specifically as an adult A. The partner must be fully aware that the memory of the abuse will always be present at the bottom of the personality of the adult A, and that being able to talk about it is liberating. Often, unfortunately, attempts to create serious affective relationships by the adult A, clash with moralistic resistance and prejudices that lead to blame the adult A and to his marginalization. It would always be useful for two ex-partners, once the relationship is over, to maintain a friendship, bearing witness to the fact that the relationship of mutual esteem has not failed, this is all the more useful and necessary in the context of couples with an adult A.

For the adult A there are also other consequences of the abuse, consequences of a more general type, such as the decline in average levels of self-esteem, the easy tendency to discouragement and the lowering of resilience when one becomes a victim of the aggressiveness of others. From the outside it could be mistakenly assumed that the abuse leaves no room for recovery but it is not so. Generally adults A show a peculiar characteristic: they don’t abandon relationships with people, they demonstrate a very strong emotional fidelity, even if not always accompanied by a corresponding sexual fidelity within the couple, and above all they try, when possible, to keep the dialogue absolutely authentic and truthful, far from social rituals or habits.

Relationships with an adult A, when born from mutual acceptance, even partial, but authentic on both sides, have an emotional solidity that leads them to resist over time without losing intensity. Obviously adults A can have highly diversified individual personalities, beyond the experience of abuse, but it should never be forgotten that that experience remains a heavy conditioning that must be understood and accepted for what it is, any mental reserve on what the experience of abuse can cause, even after many years, is a very heavy mortgage on any kind of relationship involving an adult A.


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