HETERO-GAY AND GAY-GAY MODELS OF SEXUALITY

Hetero-gay relationship

In past times, heterosexual men of high social class, strongly frustrated in their heterosexual sexuality because of arranged marriages, were led to find an outlet for their sexuality in sexual adventures with prostitutes, or in true ancillary loves, socially denied but substantially tolerated because apparently they didn’t undermine the institution of marriage.

The heterosexuality of young people of high social rank was often frustrated by marriages in which the wife was objectively socially superior to her husband, who ended up orbiting her family and depending on her income and property. Basically a heterosexual man could feel himself as an object bought from his wife’s family. The tendency to escape from the grip of marriage was sometimes noticeable but there were certainly inhibitory restraints represented by religion and the feelings of guilt in sexual matters inspired by the religion itself, as well as by the fact that the crisis of a marriage could weigh negatively on the family budgets of the husband. Clearly, in these situations, the breakup of marriage, seen objectively as a real trap, in which one had entered in total inexperience and on the basis of family pressures, could find a tolerable alternative in having a lover.

Looking for a lover, also of a high social level, would have led to the possibility of recreating relationships of dependence substantially similar to those already tried in the marriage and moreover the bonds would have been difficult to dissimulate due to the fact that wife and lover were from the same environment, it would be much easier to find a lover of low social level, whose loyalty would have been guaranteed by his own need for money, here too the logic of “buying the love” returns, but it is not brutal prostitution but something much more complex in which noble feelings also intervened, such as the tendency to protect the poor girl and to emancipate her from the risks of true prostitution, far more brutal.

Love stories of this kind have been common at the end of the eighteenth and in the early nineteenth century and have fueled so much literature. If the heterosexual man of high society meets a poor but faithful girl who is objectively in love with him, the relationship can become stable and also very gratifying, it being understood that it could never be transformed into marriage because of the enormous difference in social level. The story of Cinderella represents, in a very ennobled form, a relationship of love between a poor girl and her noble and rich lover. It should be emphasized that the relationships of hetero men with their lovers also had a not negligible component of power, the difference of social class played a fundamental role and was the basis of a completely dissymmetrical relationship: the girl was totally dependent on lover not only on an economic level but also on a cultural level, she was generally illiterate, while her lover was a man who had received a refined education and frequented high society circles. At the time, the condition of women of low social level, was of clear subordination and, in general, a poor girl who was aware of being courted by a wealthy gentleman, was very careful not to claim an impossible parity. On this basis the relationships between a rich heterosexual man and his lover could last for years and be basically gratifying for both.

It also happened that sometimes the escapes from marriage towards loves with other women of low social class were far from gratifying for the girl’s venality, for her infidelity and, more rarely, for her reluctance to accept a relationship that however would have left her in a state of submission. In such situations, a rich heterosexual man ended up mixing a resentment towards his wife with a more general resentment towards the female universe, perceived as dominant and venal at all levels and felt himself for a verse dominated by his wife and for the another conditioned and almost blackmailed by the lover. In these cases, and not infrequently, it happened that rich heterosexual men developed important sympathies not towards girls but towards guys of lower social status: grooms, servants, but also peasants and economically independent workers.

Homosexual prostitution existed even then, but it was much more limited than heterosexual one; “heterosexual” men who fled from the female world, in general, didn’t turn to male prostitution but tended to build stable relationships with some guys, similar to those that, under more favorable conditions, would have built with poor girls. The risks for the partner of the highest social level, in this type of relationship, consisted essentially in the possibility of blackmail from the partner of the lower social level, while the risks for the partner of the lower social level consisted in the possibility of being faced with a vulgar prostitution relationship disguised as a long-term loving relationship.

In the “Maurice” of Forster, the wealthy bourgeois Maurice tends to show his deep respect for the gamekeeper Scudder, not only never remarks the social difference that separates him from Scudder, as would a rich heterosexual guy looking for a hetero-gay relationship but he tends to build up its relationship with Scudder from the first moment on a level of genuine equality, which is a sign of a true gay-gay relationship. Maurice, however, initially expresses the same fears of blackmail that would have a rich heterosexual bourgeois in search of a hetero-gay relationship. To make Scudder understand that he was in love with him as a true gay, Maurice must show Scudder his deep emotional interest, beyond the merely sexual interest. When Maurice fears that Scudder is about to emigrate, he doesn’t limit himself to saying goodbye, giving him some money and that’s it, as a rich bourgeois implied in a hetero-gay relationship would have done, convinced that once Scudder had left, it would not have been difficult to find a substitute; Maurice is genuinely upset by the idea of losing Scudder, which in his eyes is not replaceable, and looks for him anxiously, until he finds him again so as not to leave him anymore.

I emphasize one fundamental thing: from the point of view of the rich heterosexual man who builds an extra-matrimonial relationship, a heterosexual relationship and a homosexual one are very different things, in a heterosexual relationship heterosexual man finds a gratification that can be very deep, accompanied by a sense of total freedom and emotional and sexual reciprocity, in other words, a heterosexual man can fall in love with the poor girl, while nothing similar can happen in a story with a guy, who would always be seen as the “substitute for a woman” not worthy to particular attention. Having clarified the point of view of the rich hetero man in the hetero-gay relationship, we try to understand who the guys were to whom these men addressed. First of all, they were not male prostitutes able to go indifferently for money with both men and women, they were, in most cases, homosexual guys, i.e. guys who fell in love both sexually and emotionally with guys or men and who dreamed of a stable relationship.

I emphasize that in the lower social environments, male prostitution was somehow accepted and justified on the basis of an economic necessity, while homosexuality was in fact tacitly tolerated but was not socially accepted. The cohabitation of two men was a fact deemed unacceptable, precisely because homosexuality was never considered as a normal and possible condition of life. In such circumstances, homosexual guys were extremely sensitive to any signal, coming from other guys, that had let some element of homosexuality shine through.

The manifetations of availability shown by some men of high social class, tired of their marriage and of the female world in general, made gay guys of lower social class believe that finally they had found another homosexual guy in love with them, and in this way gay guys were urged to show in turn availability.

It is in this climate that the so-called hetero-gay relations developed, on the one hand a rich heterosexual in a moment of rebellion towards the female world, who sought the “substitute of a girl” to vent its sexuality and exercise its sense of domination , and on the other a poor gay guy who dreamed of finding another gay guy with whom to create a stable relationship. These relationships, the so-called hetero-gay relationships, were totally modeled on hetero sexuality and considered the virile role as an exclusive prerogative of the dominant male, i.e. to the hetero male. By virile role we mean the role of one who is active in anal penetration and lends one’s own sex to the others attentions in the oral intercourse. Obviously, the gays were assigned the complementary female roles.

Hetero-gay relationships have been a frequent reality until the 1960s of the twentieth century and beyond. In hetero-gay relationships, roles are fixed: hetero male is active and gay is passive. But I add another observation, in this conception of sexuality sexual intercourse is aimed at anal penetration that appears as the most important and conclusive element of the intercourse, the rest is only seen as a preparation. It is precisely for this reason that, even today, it is used to speak of “complete homosexual intercourse” to indicate a relationship that also includes anal penetration, but it is a way of saying derived from the hetero world. Normally as we have seen, the dominant male in a hetero-gay relationship was not only dominant from the sexual point of view but also from the social point of view, what underlined the radical dissymmetry of the relationship, often experienced by both parties as a domain/submission relationship. These aspects of power legitimated even more in the eyes of heterosexual dominating males sexual relationships with a gay guy.

It should be kept in mind that when heterosexual high-class males married exclusively for patrimonial and caste reasons with women not chosen by them and lived a frustrating marriage sexuality, relationships with prostitutes allowed them to forget their frustrations and to vent their desire of power and domination, sometimes more than of sex. The sense of superiority and power manifested itself as well as through particular sexual practices, through money. Leaving money on the bedside table “pour vos beaux yeux!”, as it was usual to say, was a very strong way of marking social difference and therefore of avoiding to get truly involved with the partner. Mechanisms of the same kind are also found in hetero-gay relationships in which normally the dominant male compensated the gay for his passive role with money or other gifts, thus remarking the role of subordination of the gay.

Hetero-gay relationships and feminization of the gay

Hetero-gay relationships, as lived in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, precisely because in them the gay appeared to the dominant hetero male as the “substitute of a woman”, induced the gay guy too, who in all probability would have preferred an equal relationship, to take on a more markedly feminine role, repressing his instincts that would have led him to claim parity at least on the sexual level. The interest of hetero for the penis of the gay was normally non-existent and the idea that the gay could experience a form of pleasure not reducible to the passive role was not taken into consideration at all, ejaculation was the prerogative only of the hetero partner, the gay one had to limit himself to reach orgasm through masturbation, but separately and out of sight of his partner, who didn’t like having to remember that he had had a sexual intercourse with a guy and not with a girl.

For this reason the male characteristics of the gay guy had to be minimized or had to disappear, gay guys were encouraged not to cut their hair and to dress in vaguely feminine, to use perfumes or feminine underwear, but were also asked to hide their penis between the thighs so as not to show it to the partner and to shave the pubis; in the intimacy the gay guy was called with female nicknames analogous to those that would be used for a prostitute. The gay guy ended up convincing himself that in order not to lose his mate it was essential to please him as much as possible and was urged, for this, to assume languid attitudes, to hide his desires and, in essence, to “consciously act” a female role.

The seduction in the hetero-gay relationship

To get a concrete idea of the techniques of seduction through which a wealthy heterosexual man was able to obtain the availability of a gay guy of low social status, we can refer to the ways of doing Oscar Wilde. I don’t aim in the slightest to face the question concerning the homosexuality of Wilde, who was married anyway and had children, his relationships with the guys, however, have several characteristics of the classic hetero-gay relationships.

As it turned out during the trial, Wilde had an intimate friendship with a certain Wood, an eighteen-year-old master singer, whom Wilde invited to dinner and to whom he lent money, had a connection with a young shop assistant to whom he donated 200 francs, a huge amount of money, he payed tailor’s clothes for a young wanderer, a certain Alphonse Conwell, and stayed with him one night in Brighton. Wilde was a friend of a certain Taylor, a getter of guys, known to the police, had cohabited in Paris with the young Atkins, had dined in a luxury hotel with the domestic Scott and had given him as a present a silver cigarette case. The list could go on, I limit myself to referring to “Gay and History”, Gay Project Library: “The Oscar Wilde Trial”, in which the reader can find many useful details to illustrate the situation.

It could be argued, and not without reason, that Wilde’s homosexual stories are much closer to simple prostitution affairs than to the classic hetero-gay relationships and that the only truly important story of Wilde was that with Lord Alfred Douglas, that cannot certainly be interpreted in the light of the hetero-gay model, because of the social rank of Douglas, certainly not inferior to that of Wilde, but the reference to Wilde serves at least to get an idea of the means of seduction typical of hetero-gay relationships, where lacked the fee in money for the sexual performance, typical of prostitution, and everything was based on the fact that the young man who accompanies Wilde could taste the life of high society, from which otherwise he would have been completely excluded. The trips on luxury trains, the dinners in important hotels, and the entrances in exclusive environments were the real instruments of seduction of this type of relationship. In the case of Wilde they were relationships without any affective component, with the only exception, perhaps, of Alfred Douglas, and they were too numerous and superficial to have a minimum of continuity.

Raffalovich in the Annals of Unisexuality repeatedly and strongly accuses John Addigton Symonds of having used his prestige and his money to seduce some young people but from reading the diaries of Symonds things appear far from such hypothesis . Symonds, although he was also married, like Wilde, and had two daughters, was nevertheless deeply homosexual, he certainly suffered the charm of the guys of the popular classes, not only gay but also heterosexual, but he built relationships with them trending to equality, what is typical of gays, he didn’t deny the male identity of those boys, who was indeed the first cause of his interest and didn’t even deny their heterosexuality, when they were heterosexual, and especially really fell in love with them, wrote poignant poems for them and built with them friendships destined to last. With all due respect to Raffalovich, Symonds’ love stories were classic stories of gay falling in love, not always directed towards gay guys and with a very strong affective component.

Evolution of hetero-gay relationships

Hetero-gay relationships, as we have reconstructed them, represent a reality that is now outdated. In the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, for a heterosexual frustrated in his heterosexual relationships, it was certainly not easy to find a gay guy available, and when this happened, the relationship had, for this reason, its intrinsic stability. Wilde’s case is not significant because his behavior was strongly eccentric and not aligned with the behavior of the average married man in search of guys.

With the post-1968 sexual liberation and especially with the arrival of the Internet, the situation has rapidly changed and the absence of strong emotional relationships, combined with the ease of finding available partners has led to the substantial instability of hetero-gay relationships, which however have not slipped into prostitution, because most of the relationships built via the internet don’t involve donations of money, the means of seduction typical of the hetero-gay relationships have remained the same, because the offer to cruise together or spend a week in a luxury hotel abroad is generally not intended as a fee for sexual services.

In essence, long-term hetero-gay relationships have become a rarity and the ease of partner change now dominates the scene. To give some examples of the evolution of hetero-gay relationships, which involve married men, in the 21st century, I will refer to an interesting article in “LGBTQ Nation” of March 20, 2016, entitled “Straight men discussing their secret sexual relationships with other men “. The article presents three interviews with heterosexual-bisexuals obtained under guarantee of anonymity. I report those interviews below. I state, however, that, as it is obvious from the context, the terms heterosexual and bisexual are used with slightly different meanings from those adopted by Gay Project.

1) Rob

Rob (not his real name) is 46-years-old. He lives in San Jose, CA and has been married to his wife for 12 years. He identifies as “straight with bisexual tendencies” and has been hooking up with other guys on the down low since he was 19.

“Hooking up with other men, to me, is a non-complicated way of releasing sexual steam,” he explains. “It’s simply a physical release with no pressure.”

Rob prefers getting together with other married men in secret, as opposed to single or openly gay men. He finds most of the guys on dating sites.

“I seek out other married men for the simple fact that they are in the same boat as me, and hopefully can relate to what I am looking for,” he says. “I do not want to jeopardize my marriage. Another married man can understand that. Other married men are not willing to take as many risks.”

The primary risk being, Rob says, “getting strong emotions or falling in love. I wouldn’t want to become the object of another man’s desire. I do find some men attractive, but for me it’s just sexual. I don’t feel attracted to men in a loving way at all.”

Currently, there are two guys Rob sees on a regular basis.

“One is divorced, the other is a widower and semi-retired,” he explains. “They both live alone, and are therefore able to host our get together.” But, he is careful to add, “there is no love involved.”

“My wife is not aware,” Rob admits. “I don’t feel guilty doing what I do. However, I would feel bad if she found out. She would be very upset and consider it cheating. It concerns me very much, since I do not want a divorce.”

2) Tony

Tony (not his real name) is 32-years-old. A divorcee, he lives in New York City and just recently began identifying as bisexual, though he’s only out to a small handful of people. He has a casual girlfriend as well as a few regular “buddies” who he will occasionally meet for sex.

“The first time I messed around with a guy I was 21,” he says. “He was an older married guy who I met on a gay website. My challenge is that New York City is a very feminine gay city, and that’s not my type. I’m only into guys who are DL, not being noticed as gay. [DL = Down-low an African American slang term that typically refers to a subculture of black men who usually identify as heterosexual, but who have sex with men; some avoid sharing this information even if they have female sexual partner(s) married or single.] That’s my protocol. When I find someone who’s a match I keep him as a regular.”

Tony says he meets most of his hookups on dating apps or on dating sites, and he will often develop close friendships with them afterwards. He says he’s not “paranoid” about people knowing what he does, but he’s still not 100 percent comfortable with it either.

“I would be afraid of telling someone I had a relationship with a man,” he admits, adding that maybe someday he’ll feel differently. Until then, however, “I need to make sure the guy meets my criteria.”

“My ex-wife didn’t know what I did,” Tony says. “The women I’ve dated lately, though, know. They know how I am and still think I’m interesting and attractive regardless. At this point of my life, I don’t feel like living in lies anymore.”

3) Andrew

Andrew (not his real name) is 33-years-old and lives near New Orleans, LA. He identifies as totally straight and has been married to his wife since he was 21. He had his first gay experience about ten years ago.

“I had been married for two years and was feeling that I wanted to try something different,” he says. “I’ve messed around with about a dozen guys since then. It isn’t often, usually when it feels like my marriage is in a slump or getting boring. It actually invigorates me.”

Like both Rob and Tony, he finds most of the guys he hooks up with online and tends to gravitate towards others who are on the down low.
“I prefer men on the DL,” Andrew explains. “I find I have more in common and it is easier to make a connection.”

“If my wife found out she would leave me,” Andrew says. “She is very traditional and religious and does not believe in homosexuality. I love her and wish that we could have some sort of open relationship, but she would never go for it.”

He continues: “Hooking up with other guys is not something that I am proud of. I wish that I didn’t have the urge or want to do it, but there is something about being with another guy that reignites me. After being with another guy I find that I am more loving and happy at home. It adds life to me.”

Sexual behavior and perception of sexual Orientation

Jane Ward is an Associate Professor and Vice Chair of the Department of Gender and Sexuality Studies, as well as the LGBIT Studies Program Chair, at the University of California, Riverside. She is also the author of the bestselling book Not Gay: Sex Between Straight White Men.

“We can learn a lot about sexual fluidity and diversity from men on the down low,” Ward tells Queerty. “Some men on the DL identify as bisexual but are not public about their sex with men. Others are completely straight-identified and view their sex with men as an erotic hobby, so to speak. For them, it’s an occasional means of getting off, but it’s not something that feels significant enough to influence how they understand their sexual orientation.”

Ward continues: “The point here is that people can engage in the same sexual activity but make meaning of it in very different ways. It’s that process of making meaning that is what ultimately matters when it comes to people’s sexual identifications. Unlike animals, humans have the capacity to reflect on our sex practices and what they mean about who we are and who we want to be.”
I totally agree with Jane Ward.

Another significant example of the value of subjective judgment on behaviors, beyond their objectivity, can be found in the analysis of the relationship between gay sex and sexual play, in the chapter dedicated to gay sexuality.

Let’s stop now to analyze the three interviews. Married men (or who have been married and still have female partners) have sexual relationships with other men. The common element is the lack of awareness of wives or female companions, with the exception of Andrew, who says he no longer wants to live in lies. In all three cases, the interviewees don’t consider the homosexual relationship as an alternative to the marriage, which they don’t want to undermine, but only as a sexual diversion, perhaps fostered by friendship with married people who “are in the same boat”, or even as an incentive to rekindle heterosexual interest when this tends to weaken. It clearly emerges that the married life of these men is not gratifying, that the dialogue with the wives doesn’t exist, but that despite all the hetero relationship has its stability mainly due to the social environment, as can be deduced from the fact that these men tend to keep secret their homosexual acquaintances and to maintain a formal matrimonial relationship even when the couple lacks communication on fundamental aspects of sexuality.

It is clear that these men are interested in maintaining the marriage and preserve heterosexuality, they tend to stress that they don’t want in any way to become the object of sexual desire of other men and that they don’t consider their sexual encounters with other men as encounters of love, and they even consider the hypothesis of falling in love with a man as the greatest risk of their homosexual relationships, a risk that must be avoided carefully.

These men, despite their homosexual relationships, don’t perceive themselves at all as gays, rather they tend not to create relationships with gay singles or with declared gays but to stay with other married men; they admit at most a bisexual tendency, but only on a sexual level. In the chapter on gay sexuality we will talk extensively of curious heterosexuals, a category in which married men who perceive themselves as hetero and have homosexual relationships can be included. As we will see, this is a very large group.

Birth of pornography

It is commonly believed that pornography has always existed and has always been widely used, as happens today, but things are completely different.

At the end of the XIX century, Wilhelm von Gloeden, realized in Taormina (Sicily) a huge amount of photos, considered by many to be pornographic photos, They were actually nude photos, almost always male nude, even if there are female nudes, but there were also landscapes , photos of shepherds and farmers. The male nude was always represented in a Greek mythological frame and there is no picture of von Gloeden representing sexual intercourses or situations strongly connoted in the sexual sense. The photos of von Gloeden were certainly sought by homosexuals, but they were rare and precious material, always spread through very reserved channels.

Famous were also the male nude photos made in Rome by Wilhelm von Plüschow, also distributed confidentially among high-level homosexuals, as evidenced by a fragment of a letter by John Addington Symonds to Charles Edward Sayle:

“If you care for extremely artistic studies from the nude, done mostly in the open air, go & see my friend G. Plüschow 34 Via Sardegna. He has made an immense collection which he will be delighted to show you. Very truly yours. J A Symonds]” [Letter 1969 – John Addington Symonds, Letters, Wayne State University Press, 1969, vol. III. ]

Calling pornography the photos of Gloeden or Plüschow is obviously an exaggeration and in any case the spread of those photos was minimal. In the past, until the early ’70s of the XX century, the spread of pornographic photos, hetero or gay, was considered an outrage to modesty and was prosecuted by law, the photos were expensive and absolutely not easy to find, and were directed especially to bourgeois heterosexuals who lived, at the level of transgression, hetero-gay relationships with gay guys of popular extraction. In a reality of this kind, the so-called gay pornography was in fact addressed to heterosexual males and tended to emphasize the patterns of sexual behavior of the hetero-gay relationship. So, until the beginning of the ’70s the typical hetero-gay model was credited as the model of the homosexual relationship. That model, the only one sponsored by clandestine pornography and for this the only “official” one, ended up affirming itself and being considered by the gays themselves as their model of sexual behavior.

Since the late 60s of the 20th century, with the sexual liberation of ’68, gays began to have a minimum of visibility and, in some cases at least, as in university collectives, they had the opportunity to know and recognize each other, what was before completely impossible. Starting from the early 1970s gays began to abandon the old hetero-gay model of relationships, in which they were inevitably destined for the passive role, to finally live gay-gay relationships.

Up until the beginning of the ‘70s, many gay men lived unidirectional love relationships, often not even declared, towards straight guys who considered them exclusively friends, obviously without sexual contacts. For many gay guys, sexual relationships, I mean the ones exclusively sexual, continued to be dominated by hetero-gay model. In a first phase, currently not completely ended, the hetero-gay model, imposed by pornography, has continued to dominate the scene by importing the active-passive binomial in the gay-gay relationship. In this case, however, also the active role was played by a gay.

It should be remembered that until the beginning of the 1970s, there were no publications aimed at gays nor existed gay pornography. The first homosexual magazine in Italy, “Fuori!”, Appeared in 1971, and the circulation of homosexual magazines was however very low because the diffusion in bookstores or on newsstands discouraged buyers.

To understand how and when pornography, in Italy, comes to large distribution, it must be borne in mind that the magazine “Le Ore”, founded in 1953 as a magazine of cinema current affairs, distributed until 1967, from 1971 became a soft erotic magazine, with male genital organs covered and without explicit photos of sexual intercourses.

During the ’70s the Italian legislation on public morality became much more elastic and in 1977 “Le Ore” became a hard magazine. From the early 1980s, porn magazines have been be gradually supplanted by videotapes. The first gay porn magazine, “Gay Italy”, began publishing in 1983. “Babilonia” the most known Italian gay monthly magazine, with nude photos but never in bad taste, and with articles of interest for gays, began the publications in 1982 and continued until 2009.

Gay-gay relationships

In gay-gay relationships began to appear a novelty that marked a strong difference compared to the hetero-gay relationship: in the gay-gay relationship, although the categories of active and passive still existed, the roles were not fixed, or at least were not rigid, even if the anal penetration continued to be considered the true purpose of the relationship.

In recent years, the late twentieth and early twenty-first century, after the advent of the internet, for many gays the opportunity to come into contact with other gays has become a reality and this has encouraged a dialogue and a comparison among gays and has slowly but inexorably eroded the solidity of the gay sexuality model inherited from the old hetero-gay model. Chat interviews with gay guys of different ages suggest that, as we move towards younger age groups, gay-gay sexuality is understood and lived in a way less and less tied to old models. I would like to add another observation: sexuality on the hetero-gay model resists especially among guys who have been strongly influenced by pornography and who have not had the opportunity to compare their sexuality with that of other gay guys, while for the guys who have had a sex education freer and have been able to talk about their sexuality with other guys, the real sex life is in fact almost totally detached from the hetero-gay model and is tending towards a gay-gay model of sexuality based on the principle of equality.

I will now try to outline how young gays mean sexuality, let’s say gays under 30. For a gay, anal penetration is absolutely the sexual behavior most at risk for the transmission of HIV. This fact, associated with reasons of general hygienic character, pushes the younger gays not to consider the anal penetration a desirable sexual behavior. I note, incidentally, that in the masturbation fantasies of all the gay guys there is the idea of masturbating the partner and of performing oral sex on him or getting oral sex performed by him, while the fantasies regarding anal penetration are decidedly less common. The sexuality of younger gay guys (I am talking above all about undeclared guys and less tied to the world of gay clubs) tends therefore to be a sexuality that ignores anal penetration, which is often perceived as a reality imported from the hetero world and not spontaneously gay. In cases where penetration is practiced, the roles are not fixed or are not fixed in an absolute way, this is a sign, despite the permanence of penetration, of a parity or a trend towards parity within the couple.

Having said that, and with all the reservations of the case, I try to clarify the sense of equality within a gay-gay relationship.

A heterosexual couple is characterized by the complementarity of sexual roles that are anatomically and biologically defined, they are roles that substantially characterize that type of relationship. Heterosexuality means to love the different from oneself. A gay couple is characterized by the identity of the roles of the two partners. A gay guy falls in love with another guy, not because he considers him a substitute for a woman, but because he is a guy, that is, for his male identity.

The interest of a gay guy towards the penis of his partner is particularly strong and the sense of identity and almost personal fusion that is felt in sexual contact is linked to the fact that each of them knows perfectly the physiological responses of the other, because they are two guys.

Given these premises it is easy to understand that a relationship based on the concept of equality tends to be incompatible with the assumption of sexual roles and is absolutely incompatible with the assumption of fixed sexual roles. The sexuality of young gay couples tends to no longer be an imitation of pornography but to be realized through diluted sexual behaviors consisting of different elements mainly related to physical intimacy not immediately sexual and so-called cuddles:

1) Habit to mutual nudity, being naked together, hugging naked with naked and holding each other for several minutes.
2) To caress, kiss, exchange tenderness.
3) To touch each other intimately, without immediate sexual goals.
4) To postpone the phase of the orgasm.
5) To talk a lot while hugging the partner.
6) To prolong the cuddling also in the post-orgasmic phase, falling asleep one in the arms of the other.

As we easily understand, this gay-gay model of sexuality has now nothing to do with models inherited from pornography. In part, the most recent pornography is trying to adapt to the new emerging sexuality models, which however are not compatible with the classic standards of porn movies. Despite these attempts at adaptation, pornography in the classic sense of the term is slowly losing ground among gays to the full advantage of the spontaneity of sexual behavior.

I realize that the description I gave of the couple sexuality of young gay couples, in particular formed by undeclared guys, may appear dogmatic and pretentious. Talking about a “principle of equality” in gay couple sexuality might seem like an attempt to surreptitiously introducing rules that are completely meaningless. I have been reminded several times that in couple relationships everything can happen and depends on what you want and on the people you know, in this sense, the more you get rid of categories and schemes the closer you are to reality. On this I can only agree, but I must stress that the “principle of equality” is not an invention of the one who wrote these pages but is the summary of what has emerged from hundreds of mails and hundreds of hours of interview in the course of several years. Obviously, the results certainly have a value limited to what is found by the observation point of Gay Project and are not necessarily generalizable, but they have nevertheless a very serious objective basis.

__________
If you like, you can join the discussion on this post on Gay Project Forum: http://gayprojectforum.altervista.org/T-hetero-gay-and-gay-gay-models-of-sexuality

REFLECTIONS OF A GAY OVER 30

Have you ever felt tired of everything? of having the impression that you will never have any real contact with the world outside of you? of realizing that you no longer have even dreams, not even desires because the youth is gone and now you are over 30 for a while and that on the horizon there is only so much desert?

I feel the enormous difference between what my body would like and my real possibilities. I’m alone and I am aware that I will remain alone. I spent my life studying, then working and I think it will continue like this until I’m old, in practice I have not experienced any serious history, or maybe one, but then that is over, it was a flash of light in my life and I had deluded myself, or rather I had done everything to delude myself, but I knew that it couldn’t last, now I miss it but I know it is only a memory, the memory of a short period that is now over.

I always have on skype the contact of that guy, but he never enters, it is very rare that he is online, when it happens I send him a hello and he replies with a smiley face, but maybe it happens once in a month. I do a job that I don’t like and that keeps me constantly anxious, at least I’d like to have friends but I have to dedicate the time left to me to my family who have big problems both economic and of people to be assisted.

For me there are only the intervals that I pass at the PC, much time ago I used to chat, I had a blog, I wrote, now there is nothing more of all this, the blog is still there but I no more write, I don’t a chat for a very long time, I’m not talking about erotic chats but chats just to chat. I use the PC to read above all, to read scientific articles. No social network by choice, I don’t want people to stick my nose into my business. I didn’t even want to have sex, it happened before, now everything is pretty much anesthetized.

Sometimes I go to bed very tired and I don’t sleep anyway, I begin to think how it would be nice to live a love story, have a guy who loves me, who really cares about me, maybe I would be able to give that guy my soul, but I say maybe because I’m not so convinced, I think I would disappoint him in the end, I would not be able to really love him, but I pause to fantasize about how nice it would be to hug my boyfriend and see him smile, to understand that he’s there for me, that he cares about me, that I’m important to him.

Then I think I would have a thousand doubts, that I would begin to make comparisons between that guy and my dreams and I would end up destroying everything. I am alone! This is a fact, I don’t know why but I never had friends, a bit because having straight friends, for one that is not declared, it means playing a role, I have not even found one that I could really trust.

Up to 24/25 years I had a few friends, with one we often met, but then I realized I was only the second choice for him, when he couldn’t go out with the girl or other friends then he called me. In the end I didn’t hear him anymore and I didn’t even try to call him.

Where I work, there are some nice guys, but I see them too much distant, they have their dreams and they have the chance to make them come true, but I don’t envy them, I simply say that they belong to another species and live in another continent different from mine.

Sometimes, when I start thinking, I feel confused, I doubt everything, I don’t believe in anything, I let time flow in my hands because what happens, objectively, doesn’t depend on me. I look at things from the outside and, for example at work, I act like a machine without emotions, like a robot programmed to do certain things without asking any questions, like a robot that I turn on at the beginning of the working time and I turn off at the end.

I’m alone in my family but partly, because they don’t know I’m gay. With my parents there is a deep sharing of the troubles we have to face, sometimes I think that with them I could also say I’m gay, but it would be like adding another reason for anguish to those who already exist and who are many and heavy, so I keep everything for myself. I cannot add another cross on the backs of my father and my mother just because I want to have someone who knows about me, it doesn’t make any sense. I love my parents and they love me and I do not want to anguish them in any way because they have already too many problems.

I’m gay . . . mh. . . but I think that this is now over in the background, what I would like more than anything else is to rest, just sleep for many hours all in a row, I wish I could avoid to think of many things that occupy my brain, I would like a break free from worries, a few days to get away from the daily life and maybe go a day by the sea, even alone, towns on the sea are beautiful this season, the sea is so beautiful, as the oil, in the early morning with the sun rising on the horizon and slowly warming you up. How I would like to share these things and I would like to share them with that guy with whom I may have lived my only love story, how happy I would be if such a thing could happen, but life is a terrible mechanism and we are carried by forces greater than us, each one towards his destiny, forces that in some periods bring us closer and then move us away permanently.

Being gay what has it to do with all this? There is the shadow of a desire and then there is a great melancholy. Yet I’m not depressed, I know that I have many things to do, not to crown my dreams but to help my family survive and it’s precisely this that gives me the urge to move forward. When you’re a guy you learn to dream as a gay, when you grow up you have to understand that it’s just a dream. I hug you. Believe me, I’m not sad.

_____________

If you like, you can join the discussion on this post on Gay Project Forum: http://gayprojectforum.altervista.org/T-reflections-of-a-gay-over-30

THAT THIN RUBBER WALL

Hello to all, people of the forum, and sorry for the long absence from the discussions, now that I have more free time I promise to participate more diligently. Here are some of my last year reflections; I would like to know what you think about it, or if you have had similar moments with your parents.

Let’s start from this assumption: I did my coming out with my mother in June last year. I thought everything would be pretty smooth with her: she’s an open person and has lots of homosexual friends and acquaintances. Before doing this great step I consulted with a cousin of mine, who has long known of my homosexuality, to ask him how he thought my mother could take it. He claimed that there would be no problems whatsoever; the same was told to me by a friend of my mother, a person whom I have always trusted a lot and to whom I had asked for advice in order to prepare my plan.

I still remember the scene: my mother had come to see me that day in the city where I was studying. I thought of telling her everything as soon as she arrived. For months I could not stand the silence, having to bypass certain questions, even on a simple “how are you?” or “what do you do?” In a word, I couldn’t stand anymore that I couldn’t be myself in front of her. The thing had become more acute after the previous month, May 2014, when I had begun the relationship with my current boyfriend. “So,” I told myself that morning, “as soon as she gets here, I’ll tell her.” Obviously I didn’t succeed. I waited, while we were in my house, to find the right moment. Since at such moments we are always kissed by the blindfolded goddess, what I never wanted to happen happened: by accidentally rummaging in a drawer, she found an old pornographic DVD (gay) of which I didn’t even remember the existence (I thought that I hadn’t it anymore). I took it from her hands, made a thousand improvised excuses and threw the DVD away within two seconds.

The moment I was patiently preparing the ground for my coming out, this was naturally a mess. The height of misfortune was reached when, by chance, a backpack fell from the top of my closet, opening itself and letting go out a box of condoms carefully hidden by me there. As they say: so lucky! All this, as well as unexpected, also seemed tragicomic to me. On either occasion my mother didn’t make a wrinkle; nevertheless my delicate and meticulously constructed plan to introduce the discourse had gone, to put it mildly, to hell. I remember that we went out, seemingly I was the the same guy as in the morning, but inside I cursed myself, for having forgotten the DVD there and for the unfortunate coincidence of the backpack.

We went to eat out in a restaurant. And there I told her everything, between one dish and another; I didn’t use the word gay or homosexual, I didn’t have time to speak clearly. I mentioned something I wanted to tell her and after a few tentative attempts she said to me: “Are you with a boyfriend?” And I replied: “Yes”, with the sensation of throwing myself headlong into a black chasm, where I hoped to find a soft surface that would have mitigated the fall, but it was not like that.

I still remember her gaze at that moment: it was as if a wasp had stung her; in her eyes I read for a moment her pain, an unexpected pain, never imagined. After about a second she came back to her usual way of doing, but there was a touch of coldness in the voice. I realized that my predictions were wrong, that I had thrown myself down and had banged my head violently. “I would have never imagined …”, she told me. “I know how sensitive you are, but I never would have imagined.” Then she resumed with an institutional, very cold tone. “it will take me a while to metabolize. It is not easy for us. No nephews (I am an only child n.d.r.). You did well to tell me. On the other hand we have a very close relationship. Many people never say these things, for a lifetime. Don’t tell dad, he would never understand. Perhaps, with the good that he wants you, one day maybe yes… or maybe not … it’s better to avoid, I think. The soup is tasty, isn’t it? We have to go back here, they make a nice home cooking.” I swear to you that at that moment I wanted to die. It had not gone well. I had hardly seen my mother, usually so warm with everyone, taking on such a cold attitude. At the exit she told me: “Well, hug me”. But it was not a hug, or at least, not one of those I had always received, this one was certainly the coldest. Then nothing more. I was very upset.

Then in the evening I forced myself to stop thinking about it. It was my last night in the city where I had studied and lived for four years and a furious storm raged, I had seen similar rains only during the monsoons. I had greeted my mother as if nothing had happened. In the following days we talked on the phone; she seemed much quieter, even cheerful. She simply told me she wanted to talk a little better with me about the thing. Several times I threw the hook, while she and I were alone at home, when I was home for the summer. We didn’t discuss a second time about it: every time I was about to start talking about it she stopped me saying that it was not the moment and nobody said anything more.

As you can imagine, the thing left me very melancholy. You must know that in the past I had a long relationship with a girl, which ended precisely when I decided to face reality and follow the true feelings that were in me. At that time my mother was always there to ask me how my girlfriend was, when I went to visit her etc. she kept also giving me money, without my request, so I could go and see her, since we were both away from home and during the holidays we lived in different regions.

Given this past, I would have expected a quite similar attitude, at least I would have expected she would ask me how I can meet with my current boy, since we are more than a thousand miles away, I expected that she would offer me help at least sometimes. For a year nothing. I am proud and, I have to admit, I have a tendency lately to shut myself up more than in other periods of my life, I have never asked for anything. Result: economic efforts to save money and buy airline tickets, and so far no problem, there is much worse in life and this is certainly not the problem for which I write here; rather, I was grieved that I continued to take planes for a whole year, once every two months, without saying anything to her. Indeed, I lied every time. I was pretending to be in France (where I currently live) and actually I was in Italy.

In such cases you have to behave like you were a spy: you must be careful never to turn off the phone because, in the event of an unexpected call, the interlocutor should not hear the answering machine of an Italian operator rather than one French; you must be careful never to use a credit card in Italy, because movements are traceable; you must call the landlady to avoid problems to rise in the days when you are away because she could call your parent’s home in Italy; you must invent days never lived and, what is still worse, and has always been unacceptable for me , you have to lie on the phone every night, inventing imaginary stages in radio astronomy that allow only a few minutes of phone calls a day due to radio screens in proximity to the tools (yes, I also invented this). Is not it horrible to have to lie like that, moreover to your mother? And all this because I was afraid of the rubber wall that I found in front of me, not hostile but not friendly, not contrary but not favorable. And I lived and I still live with terror that my father can discover the thing (in which case the catastrophe is assured).

Last April I had resigned myself to the painful idea that in my mother’s eyes I was no longer the same; I felt less loved and, behind all the good speeches, I saw the sad truth that “the majority of parents would not want to have a gay son.” No, they would want a gay son “but” they would prefer avoid such a opportunity. Then if it happens, they show to accept it, or at least maybe they try, but … And into this “but” the figure of my mother is drowned until recently. Then, in April, precisely during one of her visits to the foreign city where I currently live, she asked me for detailed information about my boyfriend, G., offering me the support that long ago would have been the norm.

I reassured myself, and in these months my hopes have increased. Of course, not everything goes well, in the sense that the subject is rather a taboo. I don’t know if my mother will ever get to love me just because I’m homosexual, going from “it is so and I’m not pleased, but I love you the same” to “I love you just because you are homosexual and you’re happy to be, because you’ve had the courage to take the reins of your life and you have a wonderful love story with G.” Perhaps I’m claiming for too much, indeed, almost certainly, but I wonder: is it so difficult for some parents to leave aside, even in lucky cases like mine, the irrational fear dictated by years of backward education on the subject, consolidated with age? I don’t know, have you had similar experiences? Or your coming out finished unexpectedly? A great greeting to all. I promise from now on to write more on the forum!

___________

If you like, you can join the discussion on this post on Gay Project Forum: http://gayprojectforum.altervista.org/T-that-thin-rubber-wall

ANTI-GAY THERAPY

Hi Project, 
do you still remember me? Probably not, I have not called you for a long time, practically since the beginning of February. In February we chatted on skype a couple of times, I’m 23, Lombard. I remind you that we also talked about the fact that I was going to graduate in Engineering, but this does not tell you much. There is one thing that can help you remember: we only talked about girls, it was my fixed idea. 
The second time you told me things that bothered me and I closed the chat and, I must say, I felt really bad. It seemed to me that you wanted to remind me that for me girls were a way to escape reality. Your speech seemed to me very stupid. After I closed the chat I sent you loudly to hell and so I felt happy. What happened next? I told myself: Project is a fool and doesn’t understand that I am 100% straight! And I didn’t even know why you were looking at details that were a little scabrous of which, among other things, I had spoken to you. It’s not that we cannot talk about these topics, but it didn’t seem to me such a decisive thing at all. 
What you were saying really bothered me. I didn’t call you anymore, but not only, a bit for reaction, I put my own commitment to woo a girl, frankly I thought she wouldn’t accept and that everything would end with just a little courtship so, just to do, but it was not like that at all. She fell in love with me and I went ahead, we had sex more than sometimes. I did it, no problem, erection ok, and everything. She was very happy, me less. The first time I didn’t even notice my lack of participation, after all it seemed exciting. We went ahead. One day she calls me and tells me she thinks she’s pregnant. 
I was a little excited, because, you know, the idea of a child at my age is beautiful, but I was a little frightened because I didn’t love her. Two days of delay and I started to feel panic, and she didn’t know what to do and she was very nervous. Then the answer came and it was a false alarm! At that moment I felt a lot lighter, but also a little disappointed. Since then we have always made love with condoms, so there was no risk of pregnancy. We arrived at a pace that we did it even three times a week and even more, always everything was technically perfect, but I felt strange and I started to see it as a sort of duty. I told myself that I was tired, stressed, that it was becoming a habit. When we were in bed I had an erection, etc. etc. but on other occasions, thinking of her I was neither hot nor cold. 
Little by little, the situation has become such that she thought I was deeply in love with her and she wanted me to tell nice things every moment, things that in reality didn’t come spontaneously, and sometimes I couldn’t stand her, especially when she made me proposals that, according to her, I would have liked a lot. Note that throughout this period I didn’t have a boyfriend and I didn’t even think about it and didn’t even masturbate because the sex I was doing with her was enough for me. So I lived with her all my sexuality, but I couldn’t tell her: look, when we are together there is something that doesn’t work, because everything actually seemed to work. 
In mid-May I go for an internship in a company and I know a 25-year-old guy. he strikes me, but I don’t consider him as something too much important. My girlfriend offers me a weekend together and I say no, for the first time. The following week I’m looking for excuses and I don’t make love with my girlfriend, in fact I don’t think of her, I think only of the 25 year old guy, and even just thinking of him, “it stands up” and I don’t feel upset at all. In the week when I was not with my girlfriend, practically since Monday I started to masturbate thinking of the 25 year old guy. 
So, dear Project, you have come into my mind, I thought maybe you were not really that stupid, but I thought also that if I had started making love with my girlfriend all the gay fantasies would have gone away. With a great effort of will I forced myself to return to make love with my girlfriend. She pampered me in all ways. Erection yes, but not convinced. She looks at me a little disappointed and begins the story: “But it’s my fault? What have I done? But don’t you like me anymore?” In short, a terrible situation, incredibly embarrassing. I could not stand her appreciation of my penis. At one point the annoyance became such that I dressed and I left. I thought that from certain situations, which are a bit like traps, you must also get out without thinking too much, since you enter into them playing. 
She calls me on the phone, I don’t answer, she calls me for the second time, in the end I have to answer, she tells me that there isn’t any problem, that the next time will be better. But I said to myself: “I don’t want any next time. And now how can I discharge this girl?” I sent her to the devil without hesitation, but she had now entered the part of the girl who has to save her boyfriend and wanted to understand “why”. But how can you tell the girl that you put almost pregnant that you don’t really love her, you don’t want her and instead you think about a guy a thousand times a day? They were days of hell, I didn’t know what to do, to get rid of her I could tell her I was gay, but with her mentality it would have been worse, because she was convinced she would be able to take any gay to bed. In fact with me she was successful! But only because the idiot was me and also the asshole because in fact I used her as an anti-gay therapy. 
But I did not want to tell her that I was gay, now it was a certainty for me, but to talk about it with her was really impossible! I know it’s a malice but it’s like that. So I told her a huge lie, I told her that I had been with another girl that week and that I didn’t feel like being with her anymore. I felt a monster in telling a similar lie, but I had to go out of the situation anyway. There were hours of recriminations, then dozens of text messages to which I never replied and then she sent me a definitive one: “If you don’t answer me I will not call you anymore!” I didn’t expect any better and It was a moment of enormous relief (I didn’t hear her anymore). 
My 25-year-old guy didn’t have a girlfriend but, from the way he talked about women, more straight he could not be. What does it mean when a 100% hetero does not stay with a girl? In my ingenuity of gay neophyte it meant that the hetero was not so hetero! And then, with a lot of discretion (it was the first time that I was courting a guy) I started going after him. The thing ended almost immediately, he used expressions about a supposedly gay guy that I didn’t like at all. I didn’t look for him anymore, he kept looking for me for a while, then he got tired, luckily! I don’t want to fall in love with a straight guy! 
In practice I was alone again, but better alone than with my girlfriend or with an idiot like the 25 year old guy. Project, it’s ok that you have a certain practice of gay things, but how the hell did you understand that it would end this way? But I come back to me. So the next day I joined the gym and it’s actually a place where I feel great, a bit because, well, you certainly understood, and a little because in an environment like that, all male, I feel just fine, the sexual temptations are there but it is also nice when we are together only on a generic level. They are guys very ok! 
Now I cannot even understand how I felt hetero for years. If I think that practically a little more than a month ago I was making love with my girlfriend every other day, I feel absurd. But how didn’t I realize it before? There were a lot of the so-called significant signals and we had talked about a lot, I thought: “if the sky is cloudy it may rain a little” and instead it was a storm. I gay !!! My God, but how is it possible? But it’s like that! Project, if you want to publish this mail up to this point you can put it in the forum (by the way, congratulations for the forum! It’s a smart thing! And has grown a lot!) But from here on the mail is just for you, because I have other things to ask but they are too personal and on the other hand I cannot talk about it with anyone. [omissis]. And now I salute you otherwise to read this email it will take three hours. If you forgot it, my contact is [omissis].

If you like, you can join the discussion on this post on Gay Project Forum:

A hug, Project! I’ll call you soon!
__________
If you like, you can join the discussion on this post on Gay Project Forum: http://gayprojectforum.altervista.org/T-anti-gay-therapy

HETEROSEXUAL EXPERIENCES OF A GAY GUY

Project, I wanted to ask you an opinion on something that happened to me and that put me quite upside down. I am 22 years old, I am rather clumsy with the things of sex, in practice I have never had sexual experiences with either girls or guys. I always thought I was gay because the girls never attracted me and my sexual fantasies were always for guys, except very rare cases, when I was 16, and deliberately forced myself to think about girls but, let’s say so, with a minimal physiological reaction, practically almost nothing. 
 
About a month ago I met a girl from my city (a small northern city) on the campsite, she is about my age, we were both with our friends, I was with three other guys and she with two guys and another girl, then we met at the sea in the morning, spent the morning all together, we all took a bath together then there were those who sunbathed, in short, the usual things you do on the beach. My three friends were busy with the girls they found there, but a normal thing, that is talking, joking a little, the usual things you do between young people, I watched, with the usual attention not to get caught, one of the two guys of the other group, who was not bad, let’s say who was not bad to look but was not really my type of guy, however my three friends, that is those of my group, have never attracted me from a sexual point of view and that guy was the “least worst” there.
 
Until here there is no story, the usual thing of the gay who has to be content to watch. But something unexpected happened. The girl I told you began to talk especially with me, to joke but in a very nice way, without the typical attitude of certain girls who are taking a crush, a little like a guy. Let’s say that this girl was tall, very thin and with blonde hair cut very short and had a very small breast, basically it made me imagine her a little as a guy, but she was a girl. I was fine, let’s say so, from a certain point onwards I began to treat this girl in a freer way, a little as I would have done if she had been a guy, playing even with a minimum of physical contact and it was really not unpleasant. My friends have noticed all this, according to them I was aiming at her, I went on with the game because my friends didn’t know about me. In practice so we arrived at the end of the holiday, I completely forgot to look at the guy of the other group and I always looked at the girl.
 
There is one thing to say though, in reality I didn’t even think I fell in love with that girl because during the whole period that, let’s say, I was with her, I continued to masturbate with my usual gay fantasies, that is she was very pretty, etc. etc. I saw her as a friend, but she didn’t attract me sexually, and then she didn’t even try anything with me neither at a minimum level, let’s say it was just a nice and pleasant liking. Then we came back in the city and things have taken another way.
 
My parents were out on vacation and I invited her to my house, she was not at all surprised and immediately said yes,  for a while I have been happy then I felt a bit embarrassed, but now the thing had already started and we can say that I wanted to see how it would end, but I was determined to avoid any form of sexual involvement.
 
She arrived at my house, I had bought some good things at the fry shop, we ate, the speech was embarrassed, there was something unsaid, that anyway still conditioned us, I was very cautious and she didn’t know if to step further. At the end of the lunch we sat on the sofa, I felt the tension in the air. At a certain point she snuggles up close to me and tries to rest her head on my legs at the groin, I stop her, I take a pillow and I put it on my legs to avoid any genital contact, let’s say. I don’t think she understood the meaning of the maneuver, however things doesn’t go further, I start talking about the campground but just like I would have done with a guy, but she was a girl, resting her head on my legs and we were alone at home.
 
Here I began to get an erection but, if I have to be honest, I tried to imagine that she was a guy, or maybe I don’t know, the fact is that I got an erection. We had been like this for an hour, she looked at me in a tender way every now and then, sometimes tenderly blowing my face and smiled and I liked all of this. Then she told me: “Do you like an ice cream?” I said yes, she got up and asked me where the bathroom was, so I had time to put myself in a condition that could let me to stand up without embarrassment, let’s say I was a bit wet. If I have to be honest, I was not bad. Then the ice cream and the walk, just as if I had been with a male friend. I take her back home, she tells me it was great and asks me what I had to do the next day, so we agree to repeat the experience the next day.
 
I go back home, I think about everything that happened, I don’t mind but I think that if it happened with a guy I would have exploded with happiness and it would have been another matter. In the evening I don’t masturbate, which is rare for me.
 
The next day we repeat almost exactly the same script, but as was to be expected, she takes one more step, tells me that it’s too hot and takes off her blouse and bra and lies down on my legs like the day before, she has actually small breasts, she is a beautiful girl but she is a girl, then she takes my hand, takes it to her mouth and kisses it in a very light way, then she begins to caress her breasts with my hand, I am in erection and a little wet, I let things go on, then I start to caress her, it is a pleasant feeling but I realize that it is not what I want, I start to feel embarrassed, somehow the situation is pleasant but I realize that we are going to things that I don’t feel mine at all, then I begin to have doubts, i.e. I think that basically with her I could also have done something because I hadn’t felt any sense of repulsion, I don’t know what would have happened if the situation had switched to sexual genital things but I think I could even have had a little sex games with that girl.
 
Anyway she realizes that I am very much cautious and I don’t tend spontaneously to go further, she blows on my face and tells me smiling: “ice cream?” This means that she is a clever girl who perceives immediately the situations of embarrassment. She goes to the bathroom, I get back in order, I’m actually quite wet. When I leave her at home she tells me that she will not be there for a few days because she will go to [omissis] to her parents but immediately adds that she will call me back as soon as she comes back and that we will be in contact by cellphone. She greets me giving me a very light kiss on the mouth. She had never done such a thing before.
 
I come home a bit relieved that we will not see each other for a few days but a little I miss her. I begin to think back to the sensations I felt while caressing her breasts but the feeling is strange. In the evening I try to masturbate thinking about her and what we did, it does not come spontaneously, a half-thing, more forced on a physical level that enjoyed with the imagination, but I come to the end but to an end so unconvinced that I begin to ask myself what I’m doing.
 
In the morning I wake up in erection as almost always happens to me, I turn on the PC, I look for videos of guys and I masturbate on those videos. It is incomparably different, I realize it and I say to myself: “What the hell am I doing? I’m gay! I can also get an erection by playing with a girl (and then only with that girl, because she is a very particular girl), but I really don’t see myself having sex with her, I want a guy!” Project, now I come to the questions, but from what I told you, do you think I’m straight (I don’t think so) or at least bisexual? Maybe just a little? And then what should I do with that girl? Being close to her is pleasant for me, I cannot deny it, but it is that step by step you get slowly to sex and, at the limit, maybe I could even accept it but it is not really what I want. This is my problem! If you want, publish the email as it is, but, please, change the names of places.
A hug.  Perplex
__________
If you like, you can join the discussion on this post on Gay Project Forum: http://gayprojectforum.altervista.org/T-heterosexual-experiences-of-a-gay-guy

A DIFFICULT PATH TO ACCEPTANCE OF MY BEING GAY

Hello everyone, 
I am a 20 year old guy from Campania (a Region of southern Italy) and I attend the Computer Engineering course at the university. Nice to meet you! Why am I here? Obviously I didn’t sign up for fun. I am a guy who has discovered his being gay about a year ago, and has spent most of this year to consider himself bisexual and to refuse at all costs to call himself gay, a guy who was afraid, but now, starting about a week ago, wants to put an end to the great inner problems experienced in these months, and to accept his homosexuality, because he couldn’t go on that way. Inside I felt I was just trying to delude myself in some way … I decided to deeply analyze my situation and I understood that girls didn’t interest me at all, and I’m also supported by the fact that I had a gay relationship that lasted for eight months and I was fine, I had some small gay experiences and I felt good, I feel a strong gay desire and I’m fine, while on the other side I never felt really comfortable with girls and I realized recently that I didn’t feel any kind of interest for them …
 
I hope not to bore you, but at this moment I have some small doubts to which I want to find an answer, I try to accept myself for what I am, but unfortunately the doubts come back every now and then, much less than when I wanted to be bisexual at all costs … In particular, I really don’t understand why for 19 years I never thought I could be gay … Now if I think back to what happened to me in the past, I understand better why and I understand what I really want inside me. Certainly I feel much more confident of myself, I feel a fire inside me, that boils, but at the same time I feel small stabs that don’t make me still be right with myself, and I would very much that this period passed quickly … Moreover, I am visibly worried about how my future life will unfold, I am afraid of being marginalized for what I am doing, of being judged simply for my sexuality and even if I tell myself I should not care, I cannot do it serenely. I hate being so sensitive … I hope that you who are in this forum can help me and comfort me, even if I have already been able to talk about myself with some of my close friends, I feel that I need to talk about it with someone far more expert, in particular to analyze my past, on which I still have little doubts to which I am trying to give meaningful answers. Thank you so much for those who will read this post and who will give me a hand. I would like to talk to you about my personal story, which is still being defined today. I will start from the beginning, for what I can remember …
 
I think I was about 11-12 years old, maybe already about 13, when I discovered masturbation … My father told me about it and I saw it was very nice to do … In those days I didn’t have a precise idea about what I was masturbating, I probably had no really exciting thoughts, but I did it simply because it was so relaxing and nice to do …
 
I discovered pornography soon after, at about 13-14 years of age, of course hetero type … even if I vaguely remember I also used gay pornography, but on a marginal level, and it was not too clear that it was gay … Even because I have tastes a bit special, I never really enjoyed watching videos or porn photos with humans in the flesh, but I soon turned to hentai and other forms of designed porn … Then I masturbated in a way very … strange: I imagined myself on the side of the woman, and I imagined that a guy had sex with me … and I masturbated in different ways, using my fingers too, I don’t know if you can understand … I never excited at the idea of myself having sex with a woman, but the idea of doing it with a man excited me a lot, but I didn’t imagine myself as a man, but as a woman, or anyway with a vagina … My personal idea is that I did it to hide my homosexuality in this “inverted roles game”… Anyway, according to my memories, at least initially I always did it this way, then less and less, but such a particularity has never disappeared …
Returning back then, around 13-14 years, while I felt very lightly sentimentally attracted towards girls, but nothing sexual (in short, it ended so quickly as it started), I wanted to try something with a guy, a friend a year older than me … I saw it as something very serious, I really wanted to do something, but he saw it as a simple game and it didn’t satisfy me at all … And then, back home, realizing what I had done, I felt guilty, dirty inside, and when this friend of mine asked me to do it again I opposed myself and said absolutely no. Slowly the memory of what had happened vanished. In the meantime, more or less in the same summer, I found myself vaguely talking in chat about my “particular” way to masturbate and I quickly realized that it was something seen as absolutely abnormal by other guys, and I understood that something in me was different from what the other guys felt … They were excited thinking about girls, I felt much more satisfied imagining myself as a girl, and I didn’t understand why … but I began to repress myself and tried to conform to others, even if I was not very convinced, also because I was pushed by my father, who always reproached me that I didn’t go with the girls … In short, I behaved for a few years as an unconvinced heterosexual, a person who had no sexual desire and no interest in getting engaged with a girl … And I didn’t even have any crush on girls. 
But then I didn’t worry about the problem, I was fine as I was and I was happy, even if I didn’t have many friends to be with, in fact I was a very lonely guy. At home, I continued to masturbate without thinking about someone male or female, I thought only of those images that I saw online and that idea, that often returned, to imagine myself in the role of a woman having sex … I want to clarify that it was an exclusively sexual thing, I never thought of having a wrong body, in short, as a man I’m fine. From that period I only remember the occasional teasing by the scout friends, who jokingly teased me with words like “pansy”, to highlight that I had never shown a real interest in girls and that I often tried in various ways to avoid them, as if I didn’t want to confront them, first for fear, then for disinterest … I remember that I was very angry when they told me such things … 
The years passed and I continued this way, until I had a last crush towards a girl, in my last year of high school … a friend pointed her out and pushed me to try with her, but I could never do it, perhaps out of fear, perhaps it was something that I didn’t feel inside, I didn’t feel that absolute need to push me to try with a girl at all costs … I tried to think of her in a sexual way, but then it didn’t involve me at all … So, I realized that the crush, as usual, had quickly disappeared as fast as it had arrived, and then, in the summer that followed (2013), I began to ask myself the first questions: why didn’t girls attract me? Why didn’t I feel a strong sense of attraction towards them while my friends were sobbing with them? Why didn’t the female mentality interest me and I only had male friends? Why had I never tried with girls? Was it fear of being rejected and nothing else? I began to inform myself on the web, but above all I met someone who was decisive in my discovery: on the internet I met by chance an American gay friend on chat, to whom I exposed my doubts, my uncertainties, and talking to him, at least at the time, I thought I was straight. But my doubts were strong and I expressed them when, speaking of girls at a scout camp, they asked me if I was gay, and I replied “I don’t know, I don’t think I am, but boh … I have to think about, really”. 
It was a symptom that something was changing, and informing me on the web I discovered something that I thought depicted me: pansexuality. If you don’t know what it is, it’s like bisexuality, but a pansexual person, unlike bisexuals, is also attracted to people who don’t fall into the classic gender dichotomy, such as transgender or intersex. I started to define myself pansexual, even though I was far from understanding myself: at the end I still behaved like an unconvinced hetero, and I made my American gay friend understand that I didn’t think I was attracted to men … This friend told me that if I felt pansexual, I would have to start seeing gay porn too, to “balance the two parts of my sexuality”, this happened at the beginning of 2014, when I began to see gay porn with increasing insistence, and to masturbate on those porn, and I quickly realized that my tastes were turning upside down, that I was directing towards gay sexuality, and I really understood it when I had a crush as short as intense for that American gay friend … he was the first guy to whom I revealed my feelings, but my feelings were not reciprocated, and I was discomforted … 
When I realized what was happening I began to think “but at this point … it is not that I’m gay?” In saying so, I was very scared, I wanted to refuse it, and I did everything to do it, but over the months I felt a strong internal contrast within me: I said I was pansexual, but inside I felt a little voice that told me I was gay, and this little voice continued to make herself heard for a long time … In the meantime, I fell in love with a guy for the first time. We got together and we were a couple for eight months, during which, between highs and lows, we had a great time, even if the difficulty of seeing each other (we live 60 km from each other) made us suffer, especially me, and at the end we realized that we were not compatible enough, and about a month ago we broke up … in the meantime, my doubts and the contrast that I had tried continued … And so, in this month, I thought about what happened, and a week ago, after having compared myself with other guys who considered themselves bisexuals before and who had then accepted their being gay, I realized that I had to stop making fun of me, and I told myself what I had understood for months but I didn’t want to accept because I was afraid: I’m gay! 
These days, slowly I’m normalizing the thing inside of me, but I feel sometimes strange, sometimes desperate. I’m happy to be the way I am, happy to have understood who I am, but at the same time I have little doubts, even if I think I have understood a lot of myself in this year and a half. I also recently had my first gay experiences (in fact, with my ex, we never managed to do something in bed) and I liked it. Right now, as I said, I have little doubts, I still don’t feel very well with myself, but in my heart I know I did the right thing for me. Now I’m trying to accept myself 100%. I hope someone has understood something … I’m sorry if I messed up these things, but ordering ideas is not easy, especially when emotions are at stake … What I’m saying is mainly due to an analysis of the facts, and looking at the facts I can say firmly that I am gay.
__________
If you want, you can participate in the discussion of this post open on the Gay Project Forum: http://gayprojectforum.altervista.org/T-a-difficult-path-to-acceptance-of-my-being-gay

GAY ONLY WHEN I MASTURBATE

Hello Project, it is very difficult for me to write this letter but I read many things you wrote and I think you can give me a serious answer. I am a 22 years old guy, I feel realized under many profiles: study, friends, etc., people tell me I’m a nice guy, I think about the average, I have a girlfriend for three years and I have a sexual life with her, we make love more or less every week, things work in the sense that I’ve never had erection problems or anything like that. I don’t take the initiative, I expect her to do it, so I feel at ease, now it has been happening this way for years. At the beginning there was a lot of the curiosity about the sex itself or rather the letting go because in fact it was she who fell in love with me, I felt at the center of her attention and her desires and the things went on by themselves even if I never felt a real sexual desire, that is, when we were away from each other for a long time, I missed her company, I missed her intimacy, but not sex as such. 
But after reading your posts, I confess that I have had several doubts because, even if in fact I never considered it an important thing, in practice since always, when I masturbate I imagine sexual situations involving “even” guys and lately it is as if that “even” had become essential. In my fantasies there are women but, let’s say so, they are always less fundamental, it is as if they were an excuse that allows me to be in sexual situations with other guys and, in fact, the thing that excites me most in these fantasies is just that climate of complicity that is created with the other guys, a bit the idea of doing something sexual together, of doing it with a girl, but of doing it with other guys, as if the thing done only with the girl lost meaning. 
It happened to me about a month ago to dream of a similar situation, that is to dream of being together with a guy talking about sex (sex done with girls) but for me the important thing was to hear that guy talking about sex, it was an exciting thing up to orgasm and I noticed that orgasm arrived thinking of the guy and not of the girl. 
In the days after the dream, which shocked me a lot, I started to masturbate thinking exclusively of a guy and it was really spontaneous, it was not a test, but with my girlfriend nothing has changed, I haven’t had sexual problems with her even if I didn’t tell her anything about the dream or masturbation thinking about a guy.
On the other hand, even before, in my fantasies there were some guys even though always, so to speak, the strictly sexual content was focused or at least seemed focused entirely on the girl. In short, with my girlfriend nothing has changed, but inside me something has changed, I cannot deny it, I told myself that in the end I could also be bisexual and that it wouldn’t be a tragedy, but the fact remains that I have never fallen in love with a guy, at least until now, and I cannot imagine myself exchanging tenderness with a guy as I do with my girlfriend. That is, it is as if now I was bisexual, or rather I was gay but only when I masturbate. 
I play sports since I was a kid, I often see other naked guys but this doesn’t make me any effect, now I see those things without any sexual halo and I’m just indifferent. I have many friends with whom I feel very free in behavior but they all are straight and basically I think I’m straight too and I never had sexual fantasies of any kind about my male friends (but not even about my female friends) sometimes I think that in sexual matters I need someone to take the initiative as happened with my girlfriend and I think I would go after easily. I don’t have the vocation of the conqueror but of the conquered, even if I’m 100% male. 
If I have an affective desire about guys it is to be courted by a guy, to become the center of his attention, I think that in a similar situation I would also end up melting up completely . . . or maybe not, I don’t know. But can you be gay only in masturbation? It’s important, of course, but I don’t think it’s enough, that is, in the end you have to fall in love with a guy. Maybe it has not happened to me yet and it’s just a matter of time, but I don’t know what to think, I don’t know whether I want it to happen or not, because if it happens I would find myself in terrible embarrassment with my girlfriend who knows nothing about these things and maybe it is good that she doesn’t know them. I absolutely don’t think about looking for gay environments and just sending you this mail requires me to overcome a terrible embarrassment. I’m waiting for your response. If you want, publish the email, because I have kept on the generic and then you can publish it. 
Sando
 
Comment by Telemachus
Very interesting reflections by this guy. Let’s say that all of us have asked ourselves these questions. But if there is something that has caught my attention is the tranquillity with which this guy is facing his doubts and his questions. Usually the issues related to sexuality and affectivity are accompanied by a high and unhealthy load of anxiety and despair, combined with the rush to self-define in some way just to get out of the limbo of uncertainty. 
Here, however, this guy seems to have a solid and appreciable starting point, that is a considerable dose of serenity with which to relate to these reflections, combined with the awareness of having to look at sexuality as one, but not the only space of realization of the person. So the attitude of the guy in his mail makes me feel a good impression, because apart from a bit of understandable amazement and fear of these news that have obviously affected him, he doesn’t seem to be carried away by drama or fears or existential concerns that wouldn’t do anything else but unnecessarily confuse his introspection and the fixed points to which he can arrive. 
On the other hand, these reflections are important but also abstract: one can ask a thousand questions on how he can formally circumscribe his own feelings, but there will always be that gap between such reflections and the concrete relationships with others that prevents to be able to proclaim definitive rules on oneself.
In my opinion, finally you can say “I’m gay” or “I’m straight” or “I’m bisexual” or “I’m gay only when I masturbate” etc. etc. this is not so fundamental. As much as it can be rewarding to find a “frame” in which to insert your sexual orientation (and I admit that such an “introspective result” can actually be satisfactory because it allows you to file a doubt perhaps with relief but also with all due simplifications of the case), we must not forget that it will have its own meaning only if it will be carried out in relation to a particular person who becomes too special for us to allow us to take care of general and abstract reflections.
 
Comment by Project.
I start from what Telemachus says, which I basically agree with. I often talk to guys who are approaching the idea of being gay step by step and who remain with a thousand doubts in mind until they have their first true gay love story. Many, I would say most, like Sando, come to the awareness of being gay after passing through the awareness of not being wholly heterosexual, precisely through the dichotomy between the couple sexuality that remains hetero even if it is not lived in a very engaging way and masturbation that gradually assumes increasingly marked gay connotations. 
I must say that this path affects the vast majority of that 30/35% of gays who have had a straight sex life and is essentially a rather typical picture. Actually, in the case of Sando, none of the classic complications that accompany this process is present and here we have to open a parenthesis. Sexuality, all sexuality, even the hetero one, can only really be experienced without problems when there is an adequate solid background from the emotional point of view and a consistent measure of self-esteem. I had the opportunity to talk privately with Sando and I can say that he has a very nice relationship with his parents and among other things he was lucky to have parents who love each other and has seen a serious emotional attitude between them since childhood. 
Sando grew up peaceful, without absurd taboo and at 22 has a maturity that many don’t even reach at 40. A bit it’s his merit but in large part it’s due to his family that created a favorable environment. Speaking with him I could understand that the family probably would not cause him any problem due to his being gay and that his father must have realized that the story with his girlfriend is not really an overwhelming love for Sando, and did him understand that if the story were to end he would not be astonished. Probably the father doesn’t suspect that his son can be gay nevertheless he often repeats: “in those things you have to do always and only what you feel without caring about what others think!” 
Starting from the assumption that there were no pressures of any kind on the part of family members or forms of parents’ intrusion with attempts to institutionalize and channel the relationship with the girl towards a marriage solution, Sando felt essentially free to follow his drive, which is something of great value. 
At the moment he is not able to evaluate, let’s say so, the completeness of his being gay because he lacks the fundamental element of living a true gay relationship, and the fear, from what I can understand, is not that this relationship arrives, but it is precisely the fear that this relationship may not arrive. And this is precisely why Sando is uncertain about leaving the girl. I add one thing. Sando tried to read up and understand very seriously what it means to be gay and has a very serious and realistic idea of homosexuality, in essence he feels it like something that belongs to him, but is afraid that the jump that will lead him to a shared love story  can never be accomplished, because the social environment in which he lives certainly does not favor it.  
In practice in his being gay he would have the support of the family but only in private and for him to live a gay relationship with an absolutely minimal visibility would be very risky. He is currently very busy in his studies and is projected towards the idea of moving far away from his region and living and working in a big city, even if for all this it will take years. I think he is following the right path and I really hope he can find what he wants. Come on Sando!! 
 
Comment by Pavloss 
The reflection of the guy is interesting for me too. If on the one hand it reminds me of my past, in which I began to understand myself, on the other it reminds me of the difference with him: I understood, yes, but with a lot of anxiety, an anxiety from which I slowly liberated over time. Reflection suggests that there is a “given” nature in the human being, a psychological-affective-sexual nature that emerges slowly, in front of the environmental solicitations and the circumstances of life. 
The person tries to be fully himself but he don’t succeed immediately; it takes time to discover the “design” that is written within himself, so that all vital centers are activated and present in the human consciousness. This implies an evidence: it is not the idea of oneself that prevails and precedes one’s own nature, but it is the latter that can give us a rather precise idea of what we are, slowly over time. 
Often the idea of oneself with which one wants at all costs to conform one’s nature, creates dramas, tensions, feelings of guilt: “I must be in a certain way and I am not as I would like!” These are things I have known and certainly I was not the only one to follow this twisted path that can be summarized in the (im)moral saying: “We must be as we think otherwise we end up thinking as we are.” Idealism that violates nature. On the other hand, when nature is allowed to speak, things are different. The important thing is that this guy can find a way to positively expand his reality, building himself as a mature and responsible person in a true and rewarding relationship.
__________
If you want, you can participate in the discussion of this post open on the Gay Project Forum: http://gayprojectforum.altervista.org/T-gay-only-when-i-masturbate

AWARENESS OF BEING GAY AND MECHANISMS OF REMOVAL AND UNDERESTIMATION

Let us now try to highlight the typical mechanisms underlying the unawareness and non-acceptance of being gay, in this sense we will consider some of the most typical mechanisms of removal and underestimation of all the elements that, if properly interpreted, would lead to awareness and acceptance of being gay.
BEING GAY 
We assume as a basic definition that being perfectly heterosexual means to fall in love affectively and sexually in an exclusive way with people of the opposite sex and that being perfectly homosexual means to fall in love affectively and sexually in an exclusive way with people of your own sex. Of course, all intermediate positions are certainly possible. Now the problem is to identify, first of all, how the affective and sexual falling in love takes shape. 
What does it mean, for example, to fall affectively and sexually in love with a guy? I’ll try to respond based on the experience gained in Gay Project. 
Falling affectively in love with a guy means: 
1) Intensely wanting for him to be present, creating opportunities to stay often with that guy, trying to delay the separation moment as much as possible when you are with him, perceive that time passes very slowly when you wait to see him and that passes very quickly when you are together with him, exchange as soon as possible texting with that guy and anxiously wait for his answers, try to put him totally at ease, have the pleasure of listening to him. 
2) Feeling for that guy forms of solidarity, feeling discomfort when he is in trouble or is not well, feelings happiness when he is happy even for issues that have nothing to do with you, looking forward to stay close ho him to help him to solve his problems. 
3) Desiring to know as much as possible about that guy’s life: if he has a girlfriend, who his friends are, how he spends his time, what hypothesis he does for his future. 
4) Experiencing forms of jealousy when that guy shows particular sympathy or attention for a girl or another guy, even at the level of important friendship, hope that his love stories will end soon or that they can leave him at least the time to stay with you. 
Falling sexually in love with a guy means: 
1) Perceive the pleasantness of the physical presence of that guy, being struck by his gaze, his voice, his handshake, his way of smiling, moving his hands, walking, seeing something perfect in some physical details of that guy, like the color of the skin, the hair, the harmony of his body, the shape of his hands or face, the heat emanating from that guy, his smell. 
2) Experience the presence of that guy as sexually exciting, to go into erection when you are close to him, especially when you are alone with him, even without any apparent sexual implication. 
3) Asking yourself if that boy is also sexually involved and trying to understand, for example, if he too goes to erection in your presence. 
4) Lingering repeatedly to fantasize about what you would do with that guy imagining him sexually involved. 
5) Dreaming of that guy in situations of nudity or sexual involvement with you. 
6) Masturbating thinking about that guy and dreaming that he can do the same. 
It is obvious that between the forms of affective involvement and those of strictly sexual involvement there are ample coverage and continuity zones and that too analytical distinctions have a very relative meaning. 

A single concept must always be kept in mind, namely that to have a real falling in love, neither sexual interest nor just affective interest is sufficient, the two components are both necessary. 

UNDERSTANDING AND ACCEPTING TO BE A GAY
People can experience the situation of “being gay” without attributing to the objective falling in love that they live any consciously gay connotation, in this case we cannot talk of gay identity because the meaning of falling in love has not yet been correctly framed by the person who lives it. The problem of understanding and accepting to be gay emerges this way, a problem which, in environments strongly orientated towards heterosexuality, may not be easy to solve. 
AWARENESS 
The most typical mechanisms that delay the awareness of homosexuality are linked to the substitution of the terms that contain references to sexuality with others more neutral, which tend to validate alternative motivations for the interest towards another guy, completely detached from sexuality. Let’s try to synthesize the most typical mechanisms: 
1) ”I am not in love with a guy but I consider him an example to follow because he is beautiful, fulfilled and happy and I am not”. This is the socalled category of the ”model” very in use in the past times to counteract the awareness of being gay by reading the interest in another guy in terms of pure emulation. 
2) ”I like him but it’s just an aesthetic pleasure”. In this classic statement you don’t use the expression ”I’m in love” but in its place the expression ”I like”, identifying the reason for the attraction outside of the sexual sphere in a purely aesthetic dimension. One can say: ”I turn to look at him but only because he is beautiful” and that ”only” tends to exclude the idea of a sexual involvement. 
3) ”I feel physically attracted to him but I am not in love with him because I am heterosexual and therefore I fall in love with girls”. In this regard, I note that the last statement reverses the logic of discourse and transforms what should be the conclusion in the premise. According to the logic one should say: ”I fall in love only with girls (as a matter of fact) so I am heterosexual (I match the definition of heterosexual)”, instead they say: ”I am heterosexual (axiomatic statement assumed by principle) so I fall in love with girls only (due behavior as a deduction from the axiom) ”. I emphasize that saying ”I feel physically attracted to him but I am not in love with him because I am heterosexual and therefore I fall in love only with girls” means to make a separation between sexuality ”being physically attracted” (I note that even here we don’t use the expression ”falling in love”) reserved for guys and the emotional love that would be the ”true falling in love” reserved for girls. Those who use this language are convinced to live for girls a ”higher” love because without sex. 
4) ”It’s just a transitory phase, when I find the right girl, all these fantasies will pass”. This phrase expresses the so-called conception of transitory or evolutionary homosexuality. Here the homosexual attraction is not denied but is debased by confining it in a chronologically limited dimension, but it would be better to say attributing to it a dimension of substantial emotional and sexual immaturity that will be overcome by the advent of a mature heterosexual sexuality ”when the right girl arrives”. I would say that the idea of the transitory phase is particularly subtle because it does not define any concrete temporal limit and allows an indefinite series of referrals of the question to a hypothetical automatic resolution generated from the outside.
The point of view of homosexuality as an expression of an adolescence that has not yet been completed, that is, of surmountable homosexuality, is that adopted by the Congregation for Catholic Education for the admission to the seminary of people with homosexual tendencies. 
The Church ”cannot admit to the seminary or to holy orders those who practise homosexuality, present deep-seated homosexual tendencies or support the so-called ”gay culture”. Such persons, in fact, find themselves in a situation that gravely hinders them from relating correctly to men and women. One must in no way overlook the negative consequences that can derive from the ordination of persons with deep-seated homosexual tendencies. Different, however, would be the case in which one were dealing with homosexual tendencies that were only the expression of a transitory problem – for example, that of an adolescence not yet superseded. Nevertheless, such tendencies must be clearly overcome at least three years before ordination to the diaconate.”(1)
DIFFICULTY OF ACCEPTANCE
Once you have reached the awareness of being gay, this awareness is not always accepted peacefully, because a number of very rooted preconceptions hinder acceptance. Many of these preconceptions are of religious derivation and are therefore intrinsically dogmatic. The mechanisms of non-acceptance always rely on the need for a belonging (familiar, religious or social) that would be incompatible with homosexuality. 
The most typical ideas that make the acceptance of homosexuality difficult can be summarized as follows: 
1) ”These are things that everyone does, they are just forms of exploration of sexuality”. In this sentence two distinct denialist approaches are concentrated: 
a) ”everyone does it” (which is absolutely not true) so yours is not an authentically homosexual behavior. 
b) ”It’s not about homosexuality but about sexual exploration”, here comes the technique of changing names to things to deny them. 
2) ”Gays are people who are addicted to sex and make things of all kinds and I have nothing to do with them”. With statements of this kind people try to generate a sense of disgust towards homosexuality by degrading it morally. Here one can speak properly of internalized homophobia. 
3) ”It’s a vice that I have to take away”. This statement in a sense represents a step forward because homosexuality is fully aware but branded, even by those who live it, with the mark of immorality. In these situations, the iterate condemnations of homosexuality on the part of the Church weigh heavily. The catechism of the Catholic Church and the papal documents in the matter of homosexuality speak of ”serious depravity”(2) , ”fatal consequence of a rejection of God”(3) , ”lack of normal sexual evolution”,(4) ”pathological constitution”,(5) ”intrinsically bad behavior from the moral point of view”.(6) Saint Pius X, in his Catechism of 1910, classifies the ”impure sin against nature” as second by gravity only to the voluntary homicide, among the sins that ”cry out revenge in the presence of God”.(7) And adds(8) ”These sins are to cry out for vengeance in the sight of God, because the Holy Spirit says so, and because their iniquity is so grave and manifest that it causes God to punish them with more severe punishments”. These statements do not need comment. There is no doubt that a homosexual to be Catholic should consider homosexuality the worst of vices. The idea of homosexuality ”against nature”, which is derived from dogmatic, is still very widespread even among people in other aspects of good cultural level. 
4) ”I must go to a psychologist because things don’t work properly”. Among the most widespread prejudices about homosexuality there is the fact that it is considered a psychiatric pathology or a mental disorder. It should be emphasized that the path to eliminate homosexuality from the catalog of psychiatric disorders has been very long and tortuous, has led to an infinity of controversy and still, despite the contrary positions of professional orders, many psychologists, psychiatrists and psychotherapists, who claim ”the right of homosexuals to be cured ”, paradoxical expression, tend to apply therapies aimed at the modification of sexual orientation, the so called ”reparative therapies of sexuality” sustained by Nicolosi in the United States and in Italy by Cantelmi with the support of strong religious groups. I must stress that even today some health workers, who should be reliable reference points, come to confuse sexual orientation and gender identity. 
5) ”If I were gay, I would give terrible displeasure to my parents who expect their grandchildren”. This sentence represents in sublimated terms a reality that should be described in a more pertinent way: ”If my parents understood that I’m gay, my family life would become hell, and since I have no choice, I have to accept to sacrifice my sexuality”. Strong and insistently heterosexual family environments are a very deep reason for concern for gay boys. I must stress that coming out in the family is still a fairly rare reality among gays. 
6) ”Maybe I like guys, but I don’t really feel gay”. Behind this sentence we see the substantial acceptance of homosexuality but not of homosexual identity. ”I can also behave like a homosexual but I am not homosexual”, as if being gay did not correspond to a set of tendencies and behaviors but had a further ontological connotation, that is as if there was a difference between behaving as gays do reasoning like them and being gay in itself. 
7) ”I don’t want to be gay and nobody can impose it”. Behind this sentence hides a further mystification that is to consider the fact of being gay a voluntary choice and not a reality to be accepted for what it is. 
COURTSHIP AND LOVING FRIENDSHIP 
Being gay can manifest to the outside through behaviors that make clear the state of falling in love and tend to get an answer from another guy. These external behaviors constitute the gay courtship. It should be emphasized that gay courtship is often unaware in the sense that several guys, who implement forms of objective courtship against other guys, read their behavior in a very strong friendship, at the limit of sexualized friendship between hetero guys and tend anyway to exclude the classification in the category of homosexuality. If a guy falls unconsciously in love with another guy, courtship can be characterize by an extreme lightness that it is not even perceived as a form of courtship by the guy to whom it is directed, because he is not perceived as such neither by the guy who puts it into practice. In these situations, courtship often manifests in very soft ways and, from the smile to prolonging the conversation more than usual, from the offer to do a stretch of road together or to accompany the other at home, to the proposal to go out with other guys and, in some cases, even to the proposal to go out together alone. Often these ”amorous friendships” are experienced at the beginning in a gratifying way and are transformed into very close interpersonal relationships which however maintain all the apparent characteristics typical of a friendship. Girls often don’t understand why their boyfriend prefers to go out with his best friend rather than with them. Sometimes it may happen that those that seem common friendships are love friendships, that is, at least one-sidedly, unconscious forms of homosexual falling in love.
___________
(1) Instruction Concerning the Criteria for the Discernment of Vocations with regard to Persons with Homosexual Tendencies in view of their Admission to the Seminary and to Holy Orders, n. 2, November 4th 2004.
(2) Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2357.
(3) Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Human person. Some questions of sexual ethics – 29 December 1975, n. 8 – Homosexual relationships 
(4) Ibidem. 
(5) Ibidem. 
(6) Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith – Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on the pastoral care of homosexual persons, 3. 
(7) Major Catechism, n. 966.
(8) n. 967
__________
If you want, you can participate in the discussion of this post open on the Gay Project Forum: http://gayprojectforum.altervista.org/T-awareness-of-being-gay-and-mechanisms-of-removal-and-underestimation

AUGUST VON PLATEN HOMOSEXUAL ACCORDING TO RAFFALOVICH

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: http://gayproject.altervista.org/uranisme_et_unisexualite.pdf

__________

PLATEN OR THE UPPER URANIST

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.

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

 

MARRIED GAY GUYS

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.

__________

If you want, you can participate in the discussion of this post open on the Gay Project Forum: http://gayprojectforum.altervista.org/T-married-gay-guys