THE TRUE STORY OF A 64-YEAR-OLD GAY

– Hi Project, I’m Henry, how are you today?
– I’m not complaining, I feel tired, even very tired, but all in all it’s fine, and you?
– Well, I’m fine, a little upside down emotionally but well.
– This pleases me.
– Meanwhile, I congratulate you for the chat, there are truly remarkable guys.
– Thank you, but if that chat works well it’s all thanks to them, I only put a tool on the net, among other things I almost never enter the chat.
– And then, apart from the chat, also all the forum work is very interesting, even if I’m a little out of time for these things.
– What do you mean?
– I am 64 years old and I’m counting days left to retirement. And in the forum they are all young, I feel comfortable there, but I should have discovered the forum 40 years ago, now it makes me a little melancholy.
– Well, I can understand you a little bit, I’ll tell you because I say it to myself, the more you isolate yourself the faster you age, for me Project is a bit like an anti-aging drug.
– You are not wrong and I think you have a lot of people looking for you.
– I? No! Absolutely not! The first years of Project it was like that, but now serious emails is rare, I often go to look for old mail and it was something very different.
– So if you have some time, I can tell you a little about myself. Ok?
– Of course, no problem, as long as you want.
– How we lived when we were young you know it well because I’m younger than you but the decade is that. Now I don’t even remember many things, the memory is a bit confused and then I never wrote anything: no diaries, no poems, nothing, I’m not a writer. I don’t remember being gay before college and I’d say before I finished college. Of course I’ve never been straight, but maybe I was distracted by my studies and I used to think above all about my graduation, and then I only have a few flashes of that time, but I can’t remember how I really was, however I didn’t have stories with guys, at any level, just nothing. I wanted to finish my studies and work to get some money and maybe to go away on vacation every now and then, what I had never done. When I graduated, I had just turned 25 and I started working almost immediately, but it was different times, and I could also earn a lot. I went to work near Turin. It was a very demanding thing for a 25-year-old guy, but it also gave me satisfactions, especially economic, however, perhaps precisely because I was always alone, right there I began to dream and wish not to be alone anymore.Where I worked there were a lot of handsome guys, but I only saw them from afar and there was not even the possibility to exchange two words, but I used to see those guys and the reaction was melancholic and I began to think that however, I would have spent all life alone. I worked five years in the same place, I made a career, I turned 30 and I was always alone like a dog. I could hardly ever go home because my parents were from the province of Taranto and, with the means of the time, it was an unthinkable journey to stay out 1-2 days. Staying in my little apartment I became more and more melancholy every day. I was not really depressed, because I had made friends with a few people from the village and they treated me well, I used to go down to the bar to have coffee with friends from the village who came to knock on my door. One day I find a plastic bag hanging on the door handle, I bring it into the house, open it and inside there was a homemade donut and also a ticket. In practice, a lady from the neighborhood wanted to thank me because once I had gone to Turin to INPS (National Social Security Institute) to hurry up an INPS problem and I had also solved one of her problems, among other things minimal, but she had spared herself a trip to Turin. The donut is big and good, I put it in the fridge and I don’t pay too much attention to it. The next day I go to the lady and thank her, she is very ceremonious, she wants to offer me a glass of wine but I don’t drink because I’m in a hurry and everything ends there.
– Mh … but was the lady married?
– Yup! She was 27-28 years old, her husband was 42 and they also had two children, so according to my very theoretical calculations, I could feel comfortable. The fact is that after 15 days I get another donut and this time there were no INPS practices speeded up, to be taken for excuse. I go to the lady’s house and she insists to let me in, but it seems to me that there is something wrong in all this story and I make her promise a little jokingly that she will no longer send me donuts.A dozen days pass and I find another package hanging on the door, this time it was not a donut but a rustic pizza with ricotta, salami and cheese. I dutifully pass by the lady and say: “Thank you for the rustic pizza, but we had agreed …” and she says laughing, “But it’s not a donut! I made two pizzas for us, the eggs and ricotta were there and so I made one more! ” Then the lady invites me as before to take a glass of wine, but I say that I’m in a hurry, thank her and greet her. I got such gifts several times and this alarmed me a lot. See, Project, things are strange, maybe that lady had no intention to cajole or cicrcuit me, but I was afraid. Today, after so long, I’m led to think that things could have been that way just for simple sympathy and friendship, with no ulterior motive but then I was afraid and I came to the conclusion that I had to immediately look for a job somewhere else and it would have been a risky and tiring change anyway, because by now I had settled in Piedmont well and I was fine there.
– But didn’t you try to understand what the lady really had in her head?
– No! I was frightened, sending the gifts back would have been rude and above all strange, especially if she had sent them to me without any ulterior motive. I just had to look for a new job without telling anything to anyone, even at the cost of paying a couple more of months of rent and I had to go away just disappearing from one day to the next, maybe going away at night to not let them see me. In short, I now had got some experience in my sector, I take information on a company in the Veneto region of a sector very similar to the one where I had worked. Once the contract is done, I run away from Piedmont and move to Veneto and on the first day of the new job I discover that the staff is practically all female. Are you still there or have you fallen asleep?
– There I am, there I am, go ahead I follow you
– I tie the knot to my tie and go to introduce myself to my boss and I find that my boss is a woman (so to speak!).In practice a very fat lady, graduated in Economics, who was called Frances and had almost to struggle to get out of his chair, but she was very competent even if she was mainly interested in the commercial part rather than in the technical ones. We talked about my work experiences, she realized that I was not a novice and she said to me: “You have to take care of all the technical part: operating machines, plant engineering, breakdowns, maintenance and plant standard updating. I have to think about marketing. Quality control is done by Marina, which also deals with trade union and take care of administration issues, wages, illnesses, vacation periods, motherhood, etc. etc .. ” I said to her: ” But you are all women!” And she replied: “Better so, isn’t it? ” I nodded like an idiot but inside I thought I had ended up in the wrong place. Frances, Marina and I used to see each other often and since the technical work was not much, they had started to give me other assignments too. In those days the first Olivetti computers began to spread and I proposed to buy three, one for me, one for Frances and one for Marina. In those days, the purchase of three computers was a significant expense even for a company that was not really very small like the one I worked for. On a technical level, computers can also be a real revolution in the company, but there was the problem, and not so small, of teaching Frances and Marina computer programming, and I was afraid that my problems would start right from my stupid idea of inserting computers in the office, because I would have to be in close contact with two women. The computers were in the office, a small building with a dozen rooms, 50 meters from the production facilities. The work end was at 18.00 and we used to stay there even until 22.00 trying to program the computers, I wasn’t certainly a computer scientist, I knew “something” but in a very rudimentary way and therefore I had to study the night before, in order to be able teach Marina and Frances something useful the next evening. Step by step our meetings changed meaning, from PC study meetings became convivial meetings. They used to cook in the office, we ate, joked and I was relatively calm because when you are with two women the risk is minimal. The first year with Marina and Frances passed like this, all in all not bad. The following year in mid-June, Frances died of a heart attack and I was really shocked because I didn’t expect it at all. She was 41 years old and was a true friend, with a lot of common sense. She had no family and was an only child. It was an irreplaceable loss for us and for the company. In his place the property sent a fifty-year-old former accountant who as soon as he saw the computer on his desk said: “What is this for? These devices are very expensive and absolutely useless!” Marina and I looked at each other as if to say: “Where does this man come from?” But he was our boss! The “accountant”, as we called him, did not understand anything about product marketing, advertising, sales campaigns, promotion and such things. Sales collapsed and the “accountant” has had the good idea to get out of the way on his own initiative, without making too many stories, before being kicked out by the company property. After a week, Frances’ new replacement, Magda, arrives, who perhaps was able to understand something more than the accountant, indeed, even without “perhaps”, but used to behave as was the Queen of England, because she was the boss! Marina and I used to call her the Quinn! Obviously she didn’t understand anything about computers and had no intention of using them. I don’t know if the Queen was a beautiful woman, because it’s not my sector, but she had many things that I never liked: Frances and Marina didn’t put on almost any make-up, Regina instead always had a very red nail polish on her nails and a lipstick with an incredible color on his lips and she wore blouses that were too unbuttoned, tight skirts and high heels. No close-knit trio such as myself, Frances and Marina was created with her. I got along well with Marina, between us there was almost a complicity in gossiping about the Queen, however the Queen had spotted me as a possible target and I had stupidly underestimated this circumstance. I knew very few things about the Queen: that she was not married, that she was 29 years old, while Marina was 32, one more than me. One day, just before 18.00, The Queen tells me, trying not to give weight to the thing, that she wanted to discuss with me on an advertising strategy and asks me to come to her house around 20.00, I tell her it’s okay, then I I call Marina, thinking inside me that it would have been a business meeting, and say to her: “The Queen wants us to meet her at 8.00 am at het house to decide on an advertising strategy.” Marina turns around and says to me: “That … (I omit the exact term) put her eyes on you! She wants to see you alone and at her home! Watch out!” I reply: “But you are wrong! Don’t be rude, you will realize that things are not as you say!” She tells me very perplexed: “Ok! See you at five minutes to eight under Queen’s house.” Before going up we recall each other to call her Magda and not the Queen! Then we go up. When the Queen opens the door and sees that I’m not alone she has a moment of perplexity but keeps the situation under control with the utmost coldness, as a perfect manager must do. She doesn’t even let us in, she tells us that she has received an urgent phone call, that she is very sorry but she has to go away running and that we will talk about the advertising campaign tomorrow at the office and she goes away running toward her car and Marina tells me: “What did I tell you? She will take revenge against both of us for it!” I, as a good naive, I had not understood anything and I thought that the Queen had really gone away for a very urgent business, I was perplexed but Marina looked me straight in the eyes and said to me: “Wake up! You know about computers but about women I think you understand very little!”
– And how did it end?
– Well, the Queen had a soft spot for me and she was technically the boss anyway. She didn’t take revenge against me but against Marina somehow she did it. In practice, she moved Marina’s office to a corner of the production hall and so, in her opinion, she would have separated Marina from me and would have nullified her negative influences on me, and she would have been alone with me in the office building. Consider that she had occupied the most beautiful office, that of the Chief! Frances used in a much smaller office and left the larger room as a meeting room, but the Queen had taken it for herself. She felt like a manager and honestly she was a manager or something similar. I, who never went to the processing departments before, started going there every day and overhauling machines that had no need for overhaul. Marina and I used to talk every day on the phone and we maintained an excellent relationship. With the Queen it was all formal, there was just the court ceremonial. The property liked the Queen and she was objectively good at her job, that is, in practice for the property she was the hen with golden eggs. All this has been going on for some months in an embarrassing way. The Queen was very pompous and tried to seduce with power and professionalism. Please, note that between us, apart from the fact of the invitation to her house, which was technically resolved, there had never been anything at all, but while with Marina I felt totally at ease, with the Queen it was clear that there were several unspoken things. Then at some point things changed.
– What do you mean?
– I mean that the Queen, who had always been very punctual, started arriving late at the office, but not only, if before she was faultless in her dress and hair, afterwards she seemed a bit neglected, let’s say she seemed less a manager, less in the part of Her Majesty, let’s say more normal. She moved Marina’s office again and brought it back to the office building. She saw me talking often with Marina but seemed not to notice it at all, she seemed thinking of very different things.  She once called the bar and ordered a breakfast for three people, and set everything in her office and invited us to his mega-office to have breakfast together and she said: “You are my collaborators (however she put herself one step higher) and I have the pleasure of having breakfast with you!” Marina was about to say: “Thanks, Majesty!” but stopped in time. Later we understood the meaning of Queen’s “benevolent” behavior, in practice she had just started a relationship with a guy, an accountant slightly older than her, and wanted to convince the property to hire him. Since there were only three people in the offices, she had thought that if the request had been made by the three of us, and had also been well motivated, in the end the property would have hired him. Clearly the Queen didn’t tell us that the accountant was her boyfriend but it was evident that she didn’t want “an” accountant, but “that” accountant. I consulted with Marina and we decided to sign the letter to the property asking to have a fourth person on the staff. Since then the Queen began to call us by name because we were actually her accomplices. As the Queen had foreseen, the accountant was hired, his name was Conrad and frankly he wasn’t that handsome, and I was a true expert on guys, at least from an aesthetic point of view. The Queen and Conrad used to spend hours together closed in the mega-office and it was evident that they had an affair, but from my and Marina’s point of view this fact had a certain usefulness, because for us practically the Queen no longer existed, now she trusted us 100% and we were finally calm. And here my relationship with Marina had a very important turning point.
– What do you mean?
– Marina was the first person I came out with. We used to meet also outside the office, I went to her house (she lived alone) and she came to my house, we had dinner together, but it was clear that there was no other kind of involvement neither on her part nor on mine. One evening she was at my house and we started talking about the Queen, first with the usual teasing tones, and then, slowly the conversation became more personal and I said to myself: “I can trust her!” and so I told Marina that I couldn’t stand the bahavior of the Queen because I was gay and I would never go with a woman. She didn’t get upset in the least and said to me: “Well, what can I tell you about me? I don’t know what I’m but I think I could also go with a man … ” That answer needed no further comments. Since then Marina has become my point of reference, she was not just a friend, she was a person really able to understand me, because after all she used to live things not very far from how I lived them. But the story with Marina didn’t end there.
– Can you be more explicit?
– Neither I nor she had a love life and we started doing things similar to what married couples do, we used to go on a trip on the weekends and also during the summer holidays, ten days together each day in a different hotel around Italy, always with separate rooms, but we used to spend the whole day together and they always considered us as a couple but it was not clear to the hoteliers why we took two single rooms. But, I swear to you, these things, with Marina, were not hedging behaviors to make appear what was not real, they were absolutely spontaneous. We had made a pact, if I or she had found other types of involvement, on a personal level, between us, nothing would have changed, we certainly wouldn’t have gone on vacation together any more but we would have loved each other exactly as before. I swear to you, I’m not bisexual, for Marina I felt no attraction of another kind, not even the slightest, for me she was a special friend but not in the sexual sense that is generally given to this expression. For example, we went on vacation together but the idea of living together never occurred to us, neither to me nor to her. At the time we were little more than thirty years old, now she is 65 years old and she is an old and somewhat decayed woman, just like me. The situation is still this and now I think it will remain this.
– And on the strictly gay side?
– On that side I used to daydream a lot, but then when I was young, in a small town in the Catholic Veneto, what could I find? The place was very small, the chances of getting to know other gays were minimal if not null, because since those days I stayed there permanently and I’m still there. They always saw me with Marina and slowly over the decades they all took it for granted that we were together and someone really thought that she was my wife even if we live in different houses. I don’t know if my relationship with Marina may have turned the guys away from me, frankly I don’t think so, also because in the village I have never heard of gays, neither positively nor negatively, and I’ve been there for many years now. And then, maybe when you’re young you can also think of accepting to take some risks, but slowly, when you pass the 40 what do you do? Can you put your peace of mind at risk for something 99% not concrete? No! You can’t do it. What time is it? 2.40! I think I really have to go to sleep!
– Meanwhile, thank you for this chat which is beautiful and I wanted to ask you if I can publish it.
– Yes, of course, but change the names.
– Do you think Marina could be upset to see her story on a Project site?
– Not at all! It’s impossible! I showed her the Forum and she was very curious. Rest assured that it’s fine. Now I’m going. Goodnight Project!
– Goodnight Henry, and thanks!
– Thank you! Good night!

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If you want, you can participate in the discussion on this post open on the Gay Project Forum: http://gayprojectforum.altervista.org/T-the-true-story-of-a-64-year-old-gay

GAY GUYS AND DOUBLE BED

Hi Project, 

I’m Paul, the 43-year-old who wrote to you because he was trying to accept that the guy who seemed to be his boyfriend had left him to go back to an ex-boyfriend (A GAY STORY OF ALMOST LOVE). When I wrote to you I hadn’t heard from him for more than two months. Today something has happened that has overturned all the balances that I was struggling to achieve and in part at least I had achieved, but I’m happy. In an unexpected way he called me when it was already midnight and said to me: “I need to make love with you, what do you say? Can I come to you in twenty minutes?” I replied that he can come whenever he wants and that I’m always pleased of it, he added: “If you don’t feel like having sex, we’ll just talk.” And this in my opinion is the most beautiful thing you can say! I told him that I was waiting for him and I immediately changed the bed and opened the window, to cool the air a bit, because it’s hot to die for but fortunately there are the mosquito nets. I wondered why he had the idea of having sex with me after almost three months and I thought that the relationship he had resumed with his ex-boyfriend had come to an end. 

When he arrived he undressed and put himself on the bed and he was really beautiful! And above all he was there for me, he had come on purpose with the idea of having sex with me and this idea put him in a very strong state of excitement. I was afraid of not being up to the situation, because sometimes it happens, but I didn’t feel in the least embarrassed, because when it happens he never gets upset, he has never had problems with these things. No, he was not only beautiful, he was really animated by a sexual impetus as in the times when we met many years ago. I refrained from asking him questions. I was fine, with him the taboos have not existed for a long time, with him I behave as I would behave with myself, with the same level of freedom, now it is an acquired fact. He was telling me: “But how is it possible that you have never had sex with anyone else? You should try to be with somebody else!” To this speech, which is not the first time he does, I reply to him exactly as I have always replied that it never occurred to me to make love with another guy, because for me there is just him. 

He didn’t force me at all, no insistence, he knew that I could be afraid of diseases and we only had sex at practically zero risk, there was no need for me to tell him anything, for him exactly as for me, the fundamental thing isn’t in doing this or that but in feeling desired and accepted, and being able to live one’s sexuality together, without embarrassment and without seeing any kind of obligations behind sex. He was really transported by sex, within the limits of common sense, but truly transported. Between us, from the beginning there has always been a very deep understanding from that point of view, we never had sex out of boredom or as a pastime or worse out of duty, it was practically always a very strong thing and much desired by both of us. Maybe that’s why I would never be able to go with another guy, he is the guy of my dreams, after all, in my life, I only desired him in the true sense of the word. When he is with me I see him so free and involved that my head is empty of thoughts and I only think about making him feel good, thanks God I succeed! This seems almost unbelievable to me, but that’s exactly what happens. By now we know each other very well also from that point of view. There is nothing more beautiful than making love with the guy you love the way we do it. Then there will be his ex, maybe, or maybe there will be many other guys, but he has not put me aside at all and he thinks of me just as an important sexual fantasy.  

There was only one thing that I would have wanted different. Generally, even before, after sex he used to get some melancholy, maybe once the sexual involvement is over he begins to reflect on his boyfriend and what to do with his boyfriend, or maybe very likely he doesn’t have a boyfriend anymore. Maybe I don’t have the first place in his heart, but I can’t deny that the his involvement (that was there from the beginning) doesn’t seem in the least vanished because of other things. I wonder how a guy like him can be in love with me, that is, even sexually in love with me, who am a very common type. Now I seem to see him lying on the bed while looking at me and saying “Everything okay?” I would be with him my whole life, it would be a dream for me and today I think it wouldn’t mind him at all, obviously without any constraint, but I think it could last forever. 

Tonight I feel really upset but I’m happy and I think there will be nothing that will be able to separate us, perhaps for a while, yes, but in the end we love each other, between ups and downs, we have been together for many years and then there is between us real affection and respect, I think he is a guy of the highest level both in intelligence and honesty and he trusts me, he doesn’t fear me, in short, I also feel at the center of his attentions. All this, however, must not become a trap, he is not mine, we love each other but he must be free because only in this way he can truly love me. In the end how can people say that there is only sex between us? It’s not true! There is an absolutely unique way of understanding each other. He never felt like a beautiful  guy and instead he is beautiful, when we are together I tell him it many times, he acts as if I hadn’t told anything, but after all he is happy to hear such things! 

I’m also beginning to think of something else that I had always considered stupid before. At the end of our meetings he leaves, he cannot sleep at my house because the next morning he must be at work before 8.00 am if he would start from my house he should get up too early, when he leaves he makes me feel so melancholy because I would like him to stay with me all night long, I would really like to sleep with him. We had sex many times but we never slept together but I think that sleeping together and waking up together would be really beautiful and I think he would like very much such things which are not exactly sex but are sometimes more important than sex itself. I realize that these things, that is in practice the double bed, belong to the behavior of consolidated couples, while he is not my boyfriend, at least in a certain sense he is not, but anyhow falling asleep one in the arms of the other would be really beautiful! In my house there are no double beds and the idea is coming to my mind to buy one, maybe it could also be useful. But I met guys to whom sleeping together in a double bed seemed too sweet, something typical of people romantically in love and not suitable for real men! I can’t stand this expression! Real men? And those would be real men? Those who have sex in five minutes and then bye! Those in my opinion are stupid men! 

However, I feel embarrassed to talk to him about the double bed, but not because of sex, the fact is that he can consider the use of the double bed as a trap from which it is good to stay away. That is, if we have sex with each other as we have always done it is something that seems no more than an outburst, something somehow boyish (and I don’t even understand why!) While if we go to sleep together in a double bed it means that ours is a regular, standard relationship, of those that take away your freedom. I know it is only symbols, but symbols are also important. Maybe I would like to fall asleep with him in a double bed just because I could delude myself that he is mine, this could also be true, but meet in the spare time only during breaks between other work or family commitments, in the most unlikely situations, and always keeping an eye on the clock it is certainly not the best and some of my sexual problems could be due to these things. I need time in sex, I’m slow, if I think I have to get to the end in a set time, I go haywire. Instead with a nice double bed and a whole night together in perspective, well, I think everything would be very different. 

There is also another fact that keeps me from buying a double bed, I live alone, luckily for me, but it happens that from time to time my father, my mother and even my brother (100% straight) come to see me at my house. They always warn me one or two days before, so I don’t have the fear of being caught in the act while I’m in bed with a guy, among other things, my family members don’t have the keys to my house, but they are used to the idea that in my room there is only one single bed and in the guest bedroom there are two single beds. What would they think if they saw the two single beds disappear and found a double bed instead? I don’t know this but I would feel embarrassed, and so I thought that in order to sleep with him in a double bed I would have to go on vacation with him, but even there the embarrassment would be considerable. It is not easy to book a double room in a hotel with a friend and ask for a double bed instead of two single beds. It seems absurd, but these things still condition a lot. I’ll try to talk briefly with him about the hypothesis of the double bed, let’s see what he tells me! 

In short, Project, since the last email I sent you, the world has really turned upside down for me. I had read your answer, very wise and very rational, but my antennae told me that my story, despite appearances, was by no means over and now I can say that I was right! 

Take care of yourself! Obviously do whatever you want with the email.

Paul

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

A GAY PROJECT FORUM ARTICLE CITED BY IRCT

I’m truly proud to inform you that the IRCT (International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims) in its Thematic Report 2020, dedicated to “reparative therapies”, has included in the Bibliography the article “Reparative Therapy to Cure Homosexuality“, publihed on Gay Project Forum on 10/12/2017, containing my English translation of a famous article by Davide Varì which describes the process of a typical reparative therapy step by step.
I’m proud that the work of Gay Project has helped to shed light on a phenomenon deprecated by the World Health Organization as a violation of human rights.

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GAY SEX AS A PLAY

In this post I will try to address a topic that I consider particularly important, namely gay sex as a play.

I start from a clarification. The word “play” takes on the most varied meanings, from the most negative ones, such as in “Minors are not allowed to play”, where  “play” sounds quite similar to “gamble” to those more neutral and related to child’s play. “Playing”, in the sense that I intend to give here to this word, must be something absolutely spontaneous and must have no purpose other than the play itself and the interpersonal contacts it creates or promotes. In other words, playing in order to feel free doesn’t mean getting involved in a sort of comedy that must follow and interpret a script already written, and even lesser playing is a way to compare yourself with others in order to get a prize. The Play is improvisation. In the real play between adults, as in the game between children, everything is improvisation and spontaneity. The play is liberating. The child who stands on the sidelines, and doesn’t feel involved in the play is a child who is afraid, who feels restrained or, worse, he is a depressed child.

Play has a lot in common with true sexuality, that is, with unplanned and non-imitative sexuality. Living sex means first of all feeling absolutely at ease with your partner, because sexuality can only be lived well in a condition of authentic disinhibition, that is, when you are yourself and you see a deep correspondence from your partner.

A guy in a chat told me: “But sex is repetitive, it’s always the same thing!” This statement is the most typical sign of the sexual dissatisfaction. When you live sexuality well, sex is not repetitive at all precisely because it takes over the dimension of play, of laughing, of joking, of not taking yourself too seriously. There is nothing more beautiful in a sexual contact than seeing the spontaneity and involvement of one’s partner and realizing that he feels totally at ease.

Sex is never a duty to be carried out with the utmost commitment or worse an exam to be passed, it has no rules and no script to follow, if it acquires the characteristics of duty or examination, instead of being relaxing, it ends up creating discomfort and promoting performance anxiety. The play consists precisely in moving away from the script and in creating always different situations, the game borders on rice and rice favors disinhibition and allows you to send even very serious messages, without underlining them the too much, and when two partners are really close, messages sent in this soft way don’t fall into thin air at all. Playing, in sexuality, is a very useful means of spreading the message that sex is an ordinary dimension of life and must be lived lightly.

Sex is not transgression but freedom, the two terms manifest two different attitudes: those who live sex as transgression cannot feel truly free and don’t live sex as part of ordinary life but as an exception and a rebellion against an oppressive rule. Freedom doesn’t consist in breaking the rules but in not feeling bound by any rule beyond one’s moral rule. Play is freedom and sex too is freedom, if you lives it freely, it is a manifestation of interest, respect, affection, attention to the other. Playing and living sexuality means sharing and listening. Making love is a way of expressing yourself, of communicating, of not being afraid of being who you are and of showing yourself for what you are.

In sex, body language takes on a special value that sometimes goes far beyond words: a hug, a smile, a gesture of complicity, an exchange of glances, a wink at the right time convey messages of reassuring and encouragement such as: “I’m happy to be with you!” or “Don’t be afraid of me!”

Often playing, in the sexual dimension, takes on a particular aspect, that consists in not doing what the partner expects, in order to confuse him a bit, and to end up dissolving the beginning anxiety with a smile, as if to say: “I’m kidding you! ” Often sexual play takes the form of an unexpected but never inappropriate intimate gesture. The game is always a call to move away from the script and to feel free. If my partner jokes with me while we are in sexual intimacy this means that he really feels comfortable and that he is not afraid of my reactions.

In order to live sexuality in a truly gratifying way, only two conditions are needed: knowing each other thoroughly and maintaining a level of substantial equality between the partners. To live sexuality well you have to overcome the individual dimension to start thinking as a member of a couple, even if it is a couple with very limited time limits. In a couple that works, as in a free play that works, there are no leaders and there are no followers because the relationship must be equal: the choices must be made in two, they must be shared, because only in this way every forcing, that is a manifestation of disaffection, can be avoided.

If sex is the only moment of encounter between the two partners, it ends up to be identified with the true purpose of the relationship, the means (sex) becomes the goal and the person of the partner assumes only an instrumental role: if you prefer to have sex more than love the person, you neglect the deeper meaning of sexuality, that is, its communicative value.

True sexuality can’t be designed, because it is spontaneous, the expectations that lead us to imagine in the partner the perfect crowning of our fantasies are generally the antechamber of disappointments, exactly like, in the play, the expectation that the other has only the role of playing our game, while the other is a person hose dignity is equal to ours. The profound knowledge of the other reduces all expectations to one, that is, to the desire to be able to share one’s sexual intimacy with the partner, in the way in which it will be possible to do so, it being understood that the way must be an expression of couple’s freedom and never the imposition of a single partner, that is, it must be shared.

During sexual contacts complex or problematic aspects of partner sexuality can emerge which we easily notice but we don’t realize equally easily that, in a perfectly symmetrical way, also complex or problematic aspects of our sexuality, of which we often are not conscious, become clear to our partner. The playful dimension of sexuality avoids that taking note of the other’s problems opens the door to a possible refusal of the other, precisely because play dilutes, loosens, distracts from too specific aspects and creates an atmosphere of pleasantness and mutual complicity that defuses the possible conflicts about to burst.

Sex is often loaded with meanings that doesn’t belong to it, and sometimes having sex becomes the sign of an adult and fully realized life, and therefore not having sex becomes the stigma of a loser, this way sex can become a true social status that seems to create a hierarchy between individuals, when this it happens, sex loses the connotation of simplicity and spontaneity that is proper to it and becomes an instrument to achieve different goals.

Just as all individuals are different from each other in genetic characteristics, physical constitution and psychological attitude, so they are different from each other also in the way of conceiving and living sexuality. Two guys, however similar they may be, will have anyway two different ways of conceiving and living sexuality, which means that even within the most close-knit couple there will always be a need for a mediation to find a balance between two sexualities anyway different. This mediation can be achieved through dialogue but can be achieved in a much less formal way with play, which can also take on spontaneously an exploratory value of the possible horizons of couple sexuality. The exploratory play allows you to take a step back when necessary and to communicate your wishes to the partner, avoiding the verbalization that on certain contents sometimes creates embarrassment even in the most close-knit couples.

The playful attitude allows, when necessary, to say no to one’s partner without that assuming the characteristics of a possible refusal of the person. Demands and rejections, if they are real demands and real rejections, are signs of a relationship in crisis.

The playful attitude often allows you to overcome the moments of embarrassment related, for example, to the difficulty of maintaining an erection for a long time or of reaching orgasm, or related to problems of premature ejaculation.

The playful attitude helps to put aside expectations of perfect reciprocity which are sometimes unrealistic and which in themselves should not undermine the basic relationship between two people, although sometimes the expectation of perfect reciprocity seems to produce just this effect. Play helps not to emphasize the problems, which on a sexual level may very well exist but which must not be underlined but accepted in the knowledge that not every day is the same and that loving a guy means loving him and not forcing him to be our photocopy.

Loving a guy means above all loving his freedom. When during the play a child wants to redefine the rules of the game in order to limit the freedom of his partner, the game automatically loses interest for the partner because it is no longer free and creative.

Very often, in consolidated couple relationships, emotional security is sought by imposing rules, but doing so destroys the spontaneity that underlies sexuality. Often one doesn’t have sex out of love, but out of habit, to pass the time or simply because one has nothing better to do, just like when one decides to play cards or chess to deceive boredom. It is obvious that in such situations, relationships wear out and sex becomes institutionalized almost as a contractual performance. When it comes to these levels, recovering the situation is very difficult and sometimes it is even more difficult to resolve the situation by interrupting a well-worn relationship, kept alive only by formal obligations.

When a sexual contact has been truly satisfying, one tends to manifest to his partner the sense of gratification that has been felt and at this point misunderstandings can arise, and in fact arise.

If, addressing your partner after sex, you say: “You were very good!” and the like, you probably think you were very polite because usually such expressions  are seen by those who use them as a compliment but are often assimilated by those who receive that “compliment” to the classic ritual compliment that the client addresses to an escort at the end of his sexual performance. It makes more sense to simply say, “I love you!” which means that I love you as a man, as a person, for your dignity and your way of being not only for your sexual performance.

I would like to warn  those who read me against an attitude, characteristic of sexuality aimed only at performance, that can cause bewilderment and disappointment. Sometimes it happens that at the end of a sexual intercourse, the one of the two partners, who has been at the home of the other, gets dressed and goes out closing the door and saying only. “See you!” There is no need to clarify why such an attitude can be experienced as unpleasant. Similarly unpleasant is the invitation to dinner before a night of sex, which has all the characteristics of an attempt at seduction, much more appropriate and pleasant is to go and have a pizza together after sex, or to have breakfast together the next morning, because this underlines that the purpose is the person and not the evening of sex and frames sex in a dimension of ordinary normality.

___________

If you want, you can participate in the discussion on this post open on the Gay Project Forum: http://gayprojectforum.altervista.org/T-gay-sex-as-a-play

FREE GAY LOVE

Hi Project,

I read a lot of posts in your forum, there are really good stories and I really appreciate that you have no preconceptions about gay love, you are not propagandizing the monogamous gay couple as the only possible model of true love and you give sex an important meaning but don’t identify it with gay love. 

My story is very similar to many others that I have read in the forum, and this has helped me a lot because I feel less alone and less strange. I fell in love so many years ago for the first time with a guy who has been somehow the living center of my life for the past 10 years. 

We don’t live together, we meet in person rather rarely, we have two completely or almost completely separate circles of friends, each of us lives his own life and his own stories and nevertheless we never lost sight of each other. The years have passed and we are no longer young, but now we are a point of reference the one for the other. 

There is affection between us, not really the passion of two lovers, but the loving of two true friends, there is also a little sex, at long intervals, especially when things go wrong for me or for  him, it’s a way of telling each other that we are there and that at least our relationship will not fade out. There is no mutual jealousy, when he finds another guy, I’m happy with it and, strange as it may seem, I say it seriously, but until now he has never found a guy who is truly capable of understanding him. 

He is often in crisis, tends to devalue himself and nevertheless I have never known a guy better than him, I don’t say from my personal point of view but objectively. He is serious, non-invasive, non-vindictive, with me he’s very patient and understands what I think without words, he claims to be neurotic, aggressive, prevaricating, but these things are the exact opposite of his way of being and I don’t get to understand why he thinks such things. He says that he exploits me and that he seeks me only because there has always been a very strong sexual attraction between us. If it’s true that there has always been a very strong mutual sexual feeling, it’s also true that this didn’t prevent him or me from having other stories that seemed more attractive than our, but in the end they were not at all. 

We thought several times that our relationship was somehow wrong, that it was conditioning for many other things and we tried two or three times to interrupt it but then we ended up finding ourselves together and we understood that this bond, which seems so weak, basically has its internal consistency. I know that he doesn’t judge me and that he cares a lot about what I think of him, and such things on the other hand are mutual. He’s always afraid that people will judge him badly, will think him cynical, indifferent, provocative, capable of doing very bad things, but he has his friends and they are stable friends and, from what he tells me, they trust him. 

What upsets me most about him is his way of making love. I too have had my experiences and not really very few but I have never found a guy like him. Many times sex was something that could be done and therefore had to be done even if neither partner was really interested in it, it was never like that with him, sex was never a banality, both for him and for me it was basically a way of feeling accepted, of knowing and proving that at least there is someone who wants you as you are, who doesn’t want to lead you to some particular choice, who doesn’t judge you and who loves you. It’s another way of experiencing affectivity and sex.  

As for me, would I live with him? I think so, but I never came out with my parents and therefore in concrete it cannot happen and all in all, if it happened we would both lose our freedom and eventually our relationship would become a very standard thing as it happens in many couples. We love each other even if or maybe exactly because we are not a couple. When I haven’t heard from him for a long time I miss him but I avoid calling him. Today, after we met, he said to me in greeting me, “Call me!” and this touched me a lot because it means that when I don’t call him he feels that he’s missing something. 

I don’t know what our relationship means but I’m glad he’s there, he understands me, he respects me, he loves me and when I think of him a smile of tenderness comes to my lips. He says that the others don’t understand him, that they tell him that he is strange, that he has no grit, no self-esteem, that he is always on the verge of giving up, that he doesn’t strive to get what he wants, but it seems to me the exact opposite. Either he behaves in a way with me and in a completely different way with others, but frankly I don’t believe it, or there are people who are not in the least able to understand what they are despising. 

He has never been miser in human relationships he has never made the account of giving and having, how can one not love a man like this? I believe that meeting  him was a fundamental event in my life, I met many guys but I never managed to build a deep bond with any of them, not even when we used to meet every day. There were always a thousand misunderstandings, a thousand equivocations. It has never been like this with him, sometimes I’m sorry to see that he doesn’t understand how important he is (but perhaps he understands it!) and how much weight he gives to judgments made by people who don’t know him at all. Today we talked a lot about his last guy: he had no real dialogue with that guy, that guy didn’t listen to him, that’s why he felt hurt and very deeply uncomfortable. 

My fear is sometimes that my presence may condition him and prevent him from living his true life, that’s why sometimes I try to keep him at a distance and to thin out our meetings, but he doesn’t allow me it because he knows me deeply, and knows what I really want. When our story began, I didn’t believe at all that I would have accepted to be with him in a relationship like the one that then came out. I wanted a guy of my own, because I was unable to imagine a way of loving outside of a bond more or less like a marriage: monogamy, absolute loyalty, coexistence, declaring oneself in front of parents to make a big family all together, at that time this was my way of reasoning. 

But my coming out with the parents “fortunately” remained in the limbo of good intentions, because I understood that they would have taken it very badly anyway, and so the first pillar of my dream castle collapsed, then gradually the others too collapsed, without those pillars, according to my thought at the time, love would never have existed, but instead slowly I realized that my love story (because I consider it so) contradicted all the criteria that I initially had taken for granted, first of all it was born from a story of sex, that is, from a situation in which I would never have thought that something good could come out, even if it is true that between us there has never been only sex, there has never been mutual exploitation, we were afraid of feelings, we both considered them as traps and therefore we put everything openly in sexual terms. 

We continued to love each other without any constraint and without any imposition, even when we lived our external stories, this is also something that I never would have thought possible before and instead it was just like that. Practically, one after the other, all those rules that had seemed to me essential to found a love story collapsed, but the more pillars collapsed the more I realized that the vault was not collapsing at all and that it had the strength to support itself, I practically discovered unconditional love. It took me time to understand that it was really love, because we never use this word between us, just to not get caged in words. 

Our relationship has grown over the years, it has not been an a priori choice or a bet on the future, it has strengthened coming out unscathed from many difficulties and becoming  and more and more deep-rooted. One thing, if I think about it, has always struck me: we have never quarreled, there have been sometimes mildly aggressive manifestations but in no case did we ended up putting our relationship into crisis. 

I don’t know what will happen to us in the future. Slowly we are becoming aware that sex is more a pretext than the substance of our relationship. I often hear many guys who speak badly of those who have relationships like our, who consider them depraved, who speak of open couple as of something that allows you to do very freely whatever you want with sex while pretending to be with someone at the same time, but these are completely false models, we love each other, of this I have no doubts, he’s not a superficial guy who doesn’t understand what he he’s doing, I trust him, he’s not at all a fool or a naive and then there is another thing that has always happened spontaneously between us: there are no secrets between us. It is something more unique than rare, we mutually recognize each other’s maximum freedom but we know all about each other and nothing ever vaguely similar has happened to me in other stories where the unspoken was a very common thing. 

He knows that we are somehow together but not because we have deluded each other, but because we have chosen each other as we are, including our small and large flaws and weaknesses. I often wonder why people don’t believe in this kind of love, why they need rules, that they then end up transgressing anyway. We don’t have rules, however, we love each other, from the outside it all seems pathological, I realize it, but we really love each other and we don’t need rules and models of behavior. I don’t know what I’m, he is an intelligent and honest man. We wait for the future without asking too many questions but now our present is beautiful for us because we have our certainties. When we embrace I feel that he’s there and I see that when he’s with me he’s serene, that the ghosts he carries inside himself go away and that he feels loved. Before, this expression seemed too much pretentious to me, but now I think it’s simply the truth, because I feel loved too.

____________________

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

GAYS AND TIME

In the career of an athlete, sooner or later the time comes to choose the day on which he will have to withdraw from competitive activity. Some argue that the ideal time to retire coincides with that of maximum success, others have different opinions, but the fact remains that if the time to retire is too much postponed, the athlete ends up being considered a survivor and, in practice, a caricature of what he was in better times.

In the life of ordinary people there are many moments of choice and each of them marks the transition to a further phase, if we want more mature and more aware, but from which there is no going back. Obviously “there is a time for everything” and this also applies to gays. There is a time to understand that you are gay and one to accept it, there is a time to fall in love and a time to be indifferent, a time to long for a partner and a time to long for solitude, a time to hope, a time to get busy and a time to forget. Time limits are generally elastic but cannot be postponed indefinitely. This means that they are choices that must in any case take place and that only the determination of when is left to us, and many times with very strong restrictions.

The time limits within which to make a choice or behave in a particular way are defined with two different criteria, that of possibility and that of opportunity. Both, despite appearances and with a few exceptions, are very nuanced criteria. The possibility is defined by physical or legal parameters: you cannot choose to civilly join another person before the age of 18, because law doesn’t allow it, and you cannot decide to retire at any age, because law sets precise deadlines, but you cannot even think of bringing help to a person who needs it when you are no longer in suitable physical condition to do so. The criteria of necessity, although sometimes even very elastic, have an intrinsic cogency, in the sense that if it is true that something can become increasingly difficult over time, without any theoretical limit, it is true, that after a certain time that “something” will become so difficult as to be in fact impossible.

The opportunity is something radically different from the possibility, it is a social criterion and is therefore questionable, as in the case of this statement: “It is appropriate to start a coexistence when you are between 23 and 35 years old!” In this case “appropriate” means socially accepted and nothing more, which means that making the choice of coexistence beyond certain time limits exposes to social discredit for failure to comply with the social rules of opportunity, but nothing prevents that coexistence can begin at any age.

So far I have talked about possible and opportune choices, which are in any case choices, that is voluntary and conscious acts, but the problem of “time” sometimes arises even in a very heavy way in relation to the acceptance of inevitable things such as disease and death itself, realities that induce defensive behaviors, aimed at denying the problem or relegating it to a future to which we try in every way to give the halo of uncertain and hypothetical.

I don’t intend here to address universal problems such as that of the acceptance of death, on which too much has been written, but I would rather focus on the problems related to the choice of times by gays in issues that are typical of gays. Among these problems there is the choice of the time of coming out. It is true that coming out is not an obligatory choice and therefore the full determination of whether or not to come out is left to our freedom, but certainly coming out at 15, 25, 50 or 80 has very different meanings and purposes, that is the time, in this case, qualifies the action in a substantial way.

Among the problems connected to the better times for the “forced” choices, there are those related to attitudes and behaviors that undergo an inevitable deterioration connected to the passage of time. It is not said that you have to live as a couple, you can also live as a single and, at least in theory, there is no time limit to start a couple life, but on the other hand, if the couple life must really be a couple life and not a substitute for a mutual assistance relationship, there are certainly times “within which” that choice must be made. Also in this case, going to live with your partner at 20, 40, 60 or 80 has very different meanings and purposes.

When we talk about gays in general we mean referring to a particular subset of gays and that is to say young gays, and we identify as classic gay problems the discovery of being gay, the acceptance of being gay, the coming out, the looking for a partner and the building a couple’s life or friendships within which to live one’s own affectivity-sexuality. All these things, as it is easy to notice, refer mainly to young gays, but identifying gays with gay boys who go to the disco on Saturday night means forgetting that being gay is a fact that pervades the entire life of an individual up to at its end. Nobody talks about middle-aged gays (50 years old) or sick ones, or old ones who end up in nursing homes. They too were young, certainly in other periods, and then they grew old, but they are still gay.

The dimension of flowing time is often neglected or forgotten even in the use of words and we sometimes refer to one’s age group as if it were something stable and not something subject to change due to the passage of time. Young people reason as if the category of “young” were their stable characteristic, forgetting that they are young “now” but they will no longer be in twenty years and old men try to evade the evidence that they are old “now” but in twenty years, and perhaps much earlier, they simply will no longer exist.

A gay man, like any human person, follows a parable from birth to death. The acceptance of homosexuality or the coming out or the search for a partner are classic gay problems which are either exclusively gay, like the acceptance of homosexuality and the coming out, or they are universal, like the search for a partner, but, for gays they take on a so particular and specific connotation that they become problems substantially different from those of hetero people.

I will now try to deal with three typically gay problems from the point of view of the times:
1) The acceptance of one’s homosexuality
2) The coming out
3) The search for a partner
Let’s start from the first topic.

THE TIME OF ACCEPTANCE OF YOUR HOMOSEXUALITY

To clear the field of possible misunderstandings, I must start by saying that I will only speak of guys who are properly homosexual, not bisexual. Acceptance is not in itself a problem, because experience teaches that in environments where there is no homophobia and there is a correct sex education (as in Scandinavian countries), the acceptance of homosexuality by boys coincides with puberty. Genital sexuality already has a homosexual connotation at its birth, the thing is not a taboo, it is possible to talk about it without problems in the family, with classmates and with friends of the same age or even adults without meeting questioning and perplexed looks. Summing up, in an atmosphere of this kind homosexuality is a normal fact and to say: “I’m gay” is not a problem, as it is not to say: “I’m straight”. The two are both part of the domain of normalcy.

Of course, imagining a society without homophobia means thinking only based on theoretical concepts, however, there are societies that reflect that model quite faithfully and in which homophobic attitudes are objectively rare; and at the other end there are societies in which homophobia is instilled through religion and becomes a common cultural heritage and is sometimes even protected by law as a value capable of moralizing society.

May 17th is the world day against homo-, bi- and trans-phobia. This date was chosen because thirty years ago, on May 17, 1990, the World Health Organization finally removed homosexuality from the list of mental illnesses! Even today, despite repeated appeals coming from the European Parliament, there are countries within the European Union that don’t recognize any legal legitimacy for homosexual unions. In Italy civil unions between people of the same sex were introduced with the Cirinnà Law, Law 20 May 2016 n. 76. In some countries, such as Italy, there is no specific law for the suppression of homophobia, but outside Italy there is much worse, always in the European Union, in Hungary and Poland, levels of discrimination on a homophobic basis are widely covered and protected by law and institutions, but it is enough to look beyond the Atlantic to see, under the Trump presidency, the resurgence of homophobic attitudes, not only not repressed but encouraged and legally protected. In some Islamic countries homosexuality is still punished today with the death penalty, a death penalty which is in itself and in any case a sign of incivility. I remember incidentally that on November 30, 1786, 234 years ago, Pietro Leopoldo of Habsburg-Lorraine, Grand Duke of Tuscany, abolished the death penalty in his Grand Duchy without exception, paving the way for a modern criminal code. It was the first explicit abolition of the death penalty in the world. But let’s get back to the topic. On the occasion of the world day against homophobia, the President of Italian Republic, Sergio Mattarella, took a very clear position stating that homophobia violates human rights whose respect is necessary for the full development of the personality. In essence, homophobia deprives homosexual people of the serenity necessary for the full development of their personality and compels them to stressful defensive behaviors that effectively limit their individual freedom.

In the various countries of the world homophobia manifests itself in various ways and degrees and consequently the acceptance of one’s homosexuality becomes a more or less serious problem depending on the pressure that environmental homophobia is able to exert, such pressure can go from simple cancellation of any reference to homosexuality, up to violent bullying by the family itself and work colleagues and in some cases the consequences can be extreme, as it happens in the film “Viharsarok”, a Hungarian film of 2014, released also in English with the title “Land of Storms”, in which a gay guy suffers homophobic environmental violence, exercised on him in such a systematic and persecutory way, that to free himself from the induced “guilt feelings” related to homosexuality, he ends up to kill the his partner. In this case the murder, more than to the exasperated guy, it must be attributed to the environmental homophobia that led him to that extreme gesture. In situations such as those described in this film, accepting one’s homosexuality is truly dramatic. But between the extreme levels of the radical absence of environmental homophobia and of the violent homophobic climate there is an infinite gradation of attitudes, more or less aggressive and more or less persecutory.

Becoming aware of one’s homosexuality when homosexuality is openly subject to social discredit, because it is considered a psychiatric illness, a behavior against nature, a moral degeneration or a guilty “choice”, is objectively difficult. It is not a matter of declaring yourself gay publicly but simply of accepting that you are who you are, but in order to accept that you are who you are, you must become aware of the absurdity of what is commonly told about homosexuality, therefore you must have access to objective information not spoiled by ideological prejudices and you must realize that, due to the effect of environmental homophobia, a gay guy will never be able to freely express his way of being and loving. But all this is not enough, because once you have acquired these awareness, sometimes the idea of having to integrate in any case into the world of others dramatically takes over. But for a gay guy this means forcing himself to live a fake hetero life, that is, forcing himself to play the role of a straight guy even through marriage, or simply to put aside sexuality altogether, perhaps sublimating it in work or in something so “high” that it appears worthy of such a sacrifice.

Those who live in Western European countries tend to give the word homophobia a reductive meaning, because they see homophobia as a fact “still present” and perhaps “still faintly present” but destined to disappear anyway and not as a distressing and heavily persecutory problem, as it is still today in many countries of the world. The problems of homosexuals do not come from homosexuality but from ignorance and prejudice and for this reason, the real solution to those problems consists in the diffusion of a free and honest culture able to provide gays with the indispensable tools to understand and judge consciously and in the same time to provide others the means to prevent homophobia, against which the only effective antidote is true culture, which undermines prejudices and accustoms the brain to think autonomously.

The time that elapses between puberty and the acceptance of one’s homosexuality by a gay boy represents the measure of environmental homophobia which, of course, is far from uniform within a state and indeed has very strong local components, linked to individual communities and even to individual families. I would add that traditionally religions, and I would say above all the great monotheistic religions, have always been directly and indirectly among the main sources of inspiration for very deep homophobic sentiments.
In conclusion, the time of awareness is not in substance an autonomous individual characteristic, but is the result of the widespread cultural climate in which we find ourselves living.

THE TIME OF COMING OUT

What has been said about environmental homophobia in the previous section obviously also applies in relation to the problem of coming out. However, a clarification must be made: the problem of “coming out” is a problem that has arisen only in recent years. Already in my time, 50 years ago, the idea of coming out (I’m obviously speaking of public coming out) could have had some connotation of concreteness, perhaps, for some movie star or for some super-billionaire, but also in Western Europe, it didn’t even touch the brains of gay boys, as today it doesn’t even touch the brains of boys who live in Iran. Today, in Western Europe and in the USA, the idea of a coming out limited to a more or less restricted group of reliable people is much more common than the idea of a coming out without limitations. Still today the idea of public coming out is not taken seriously as a possible hypothesis by the great majority of gays, because the consequences of a public and generalized coming out can be and have been in fact disruptive even years later. In Italy, of course, there are no laws that discriminate against homosexuals, but homophobia exists all the same and is exercised in an undeclared but substantially effective way. To dismiss a gay employee, an employer can’t at all motivate the dismissal with the sexual orientation of the employee, he must be able to carry out targeted mobbing actions to obtain a “voluntary” resignation or may resort to disciplinary proceedings based on a real presumed fault of the employee. It is true that it is possible to appeal to the employment judge but it is expensive and in any case with an uncertain outcome and so homophobia, if properly hidden, can continue undisturbed to do its job.

In general, the coming out with close friends is today much more anticipated than in previous generations. Many youngsters already at 14-15 have confided their homosexuality to their most trusted friends, although the cases in which these confidences are delayed even by 5 or even 10 years are not uncommon. The specific environmental situations condition these postponements much more than general rules and prudence itself do.

Among the forms of restricted coming out, coming out with parents is of particular importance and has a rather characteristic timing. Given that coming out with parents is still an uncommon thing (3-4%), even if it is spreading, albeit in a very limited way and slowly over the years, I observe that or coming out with parents happens very early, between 14 and 16-17 years of age, or is postponed indefinitely, using a formula more or less like this: “I will only tell my parents about my homosexuality when I’m economically independent, because thus, if the climate were to become unlivable, I could permanently break up my family relationship.” That this type of postponement is actually a definitive removal of the problem can clearly be deduced from the fact that no “coming out” with the parents follows the achievement of economic independence. The cases of coming out with parents of adult and cohabiting gay sons are very rare and in general they are the seal of a very rare dimension of respect and substantial family affection.

THE TIME OF SEARCHING FOR A PARTNER

I come now to the last subject that I had proposed to face: the time of the search for a partner. Here it is not a question of carrying out an action in this or that moment or of reaching an awareness in tis or that moment, it’s not question of defining the time of an action that is substantially “punctual” but of defining a period, normally very long, in which the research of a partner can materialize. The time of searching for a partner therefore has a beginning and an end, normally located in very distant phases of life. For a young man it makes sense to ask himself when it is possible or it is appropriate to look for a partner, for a mature man it makes sense to ask himself when it becomes impossible or at least inappropriate to look for a partner, obviously these are extremely different situations both of which are part of the gay dimension.

For a teenager, there is nothing more unwelcome than being told: “Wait! You have to grow up! Before making your choices you have to mature! ” The word maturity has become so important that at least in Italy it has given its name to the exams that conclude high school. Before the high school final exam (“maturity exam”) all the choices are actually made by the parents, after the high school final exam there is the first real choice made by the boy, which is the choice of the university faculty. It is an extremely important choice that often young guys faced with the total unawareness that they are about to decide something fundamental for the future, in other words, such an important choice is made on the basis of the hearsay, without collecting serious information and often pursuing the intent to please the parents by adapting to their expectations. In other words, very often the choice of the university faculty is faced in a deeply immature way.

An adequate level of maturity is also required for the search for a partner, the phenomenon is not substantially different from the choice of university faculty. To look for a partner you should have a realistic idea of the true life of a couple of gay men and you should also understand why many gays don’t like the couple life, but not only, you should also know where to look for a serious partner and how to behave in the initial stages of a possible relationship, but also in looking for a partner guys rely on the hearsay and very often choices are made in an immature way. A serious sex education and a specific information on the true experiences of other gay guys would be very useful and would favor informed choices built on the basis of reliable data, but, at least in Italy, sex education, which until a few decades ago was in entrusted in fact only to the church, is now delegated, also this time “in fact”, only to pornography and dating sites. In such a situation it is inevitable that guys make immature choices and make mistakes of various kinds, which result in states of unease, intolerance and frustration.

Just as science proceeds by trial and error, also the acquisition of experience in the emotional and sexual field proceed by trial and error. If you learn from experience and don’t make the same mistakes again, then the experience makes you grow up and the vision of relational and couple problems becomes more and more mature. If, on the contrary, experience easily put aside and one enters a vicious circle within which the same mistakes are repeated, even if with different people, one never manages to accumulate an experience that allows conscious and mature choices.

The search for a partner is precisely a search and can end with the creation of a stable couple, or at least hypothetically stable at the beginning, but it can also lead to a long and more or less frustrating series of attempts that anyhow contribute to the maturation of an experience on the basis of which the criteria for continuing the research can be refined, expectations can be reduced and previous experiences can be differently assessed.

Among the many possible determinations to which the experience accumulated in the search for a partner can lead there is a very particular one which is the decision to end the search, because lowering expectations too much or waiting without any time limit for the arrival of the ideal partner means in essence trying to settle for something that will not be satisfactory anyway or wasting your time in an activity that is likely to not achieve any result. The conclusion of the speech can be summed up with the expression: “Enough! I can’t waste years and years of my life running after dreams that probably will never come true!” Certainly, the affective-sexual life will continue anyhow, but as for the future at least the couple model of “two hearts and a hut” will be put aside. At what age does all this happen? First of all it should be clarified that this is not a formal decision taken in a precise moment but something that matures slowly over the years and gradually takes on greater concreteness. The heavier the series of frustrations we have faced, the faster we reach these decisions.

Let’s admit that there has been someone who has accumulated few experiences and all in all just a little frustrating or who has perhaps accumulated many disappointing experiences but is animated by an indomitable enthusiasm, in such cases the decision to say “Enough!” it may not mature at all and, at least in theory, the search for a partner could go on without time limits. But the passage of time creates so profound physiological and psychological transformations that many of the motivations that had been the basis of the search for a partner in youthful years and also during maturity, become much less strong and fade away due to the passing of time. Sexual libido is no longer that of youth, the desire for novelty is clearly reduced, health is no longer something which can be taken for granted and any change in the pace of life becomes problematic. In essence, the problems of the couple life, in the individual balance, end up prevailing over the possible advantages. In this way the couple’s life loses its charm and solitude becomes, for a few more years, the most accessible surrogate of bliss. All this obviously lasts as long as solitude remains in fact a manageable hypothesis, that is, as long as individual physical autonomy lasts.

I would like to close these reflections with a passage of an email I received about ten days ago from a thirty-two-year-old guy, that can help to understand a way of dealing with the search for a partner that is increasingly spreading today.

“… I had a lot of guys, they were good guys, but I wasn’t in love with them, with some of them I tried to build something, but when the basic push is missing there is little to do, in the end you can’t build anything. I also fell in love with some guys but they didn’t care about me. I had a decent guy with whom I felt not so bad, although I wasn’t really well. With him, perhaps, I could have built something, but he was afraid of everything, he was hypochondriac, he was even afraid of touching me, and after a series of steps forward and backward he preferred to leave than to overcome his fears.

At the end of all these stories what’s left? I lost years and years of my life and I realized that maybe being alone is not the worst solution in the end and then, I’m not alone, I don’t have a boyfriend but I have many friends, I have a job that is not that great but at least it keeps me calm from that point of view. I don’t know if there will ever be a guy for me, but I’m tired of thinking about these things! If that guy will come then I will think about him, but for me the time for chats and dating sites is really over.”

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COUPLE GAY SEX AND FEAR OF DISEASES

Hi Project,
I’m writing to you because in these days I’m having a thousand problems regarding sex with my partner. I’m 34 years old, he is 32, it must be said immediately that unfortunately we don’t live together because we work and live in cities about 200 km away, however, for years now, we have met in practice every weekend, once I go to him and once he comes to me. The fact of not living together is unfortunately a big limitation, we tried to look for a solution, somehow to change job or company, but it’s a very problematic thing and moving is practically impossible, we both know it, as we know that most likely such a situation will last for at least a few years. Between us there are no complaints about this fact because it is not anyone’s fault and neither of us can give up his job, but of course being a couple of Sunday commuters, as you can easily understand, destabilizes a little.
 
Since I met him I found him basically quiet. He had had his stories and even complicated, but only mental and one-sided, he calls them “mental blowjobs”, and probably he faced them by throwing himself in with his shoes on and finally getting nothing more than a series of cold showers. Before we met, he had only had sex with other guys on cam but never in person. So he had built pseudo-stories, all rigorously lasting no more than a month, but for him such stories were very important, probably because they were the first ones. It was never he the one who left a guy, but it was always his current boyfriend (let’s call him so) who left him because guys felt him a little strange, let’s say a little humoral, a little willing to do anything when he was in a good mood and a little depressed, and quite a lot, when he slipped in a bad mood, and above all because he wanted to feel free. Note, Project, that he only knew those guys through chats and some sex on cam. I don’t know how he managed to give credit to such things, but for him they must have been anyhow very involving, and every time those stories ended he used to feel very bad, at least so he told me.
 
He has never been able to endure standard things, that is traditional couples, messages, birthday presents and things like that, and also with me the fact of having to make a trip every 15 days and seeing each other only on Saturdays and Sundays it’s something that he feels forced to accept, he says to me: “If I want to make love with you on Tuesday I have to wait until Saturday, but it’s absurd!” If he is a little strange and humoral, and he really is, I have my shortcomings: I don’t like unexpected program changes, I have to be able to plan my week, I’m a guy used to following my rhythms and habits and frankly I don’t have much creative spirit. He’s a genius, he’s much more intelligent than me (and I’m happy that he is!) so much so that sometimes he puts me in crisis, but many times he underestimates himself a lot, he always thinks he’s below the others, he sees the other guys more beautiful, more smart, more confident, never depressed, never in a black mood, and all this puts him in a situation of discomfort. He has never considered himself a handsome guy and when I tell him that he is (and really he is), he looks at me with a puzzled and a little annoyed air, as if I were giving him a fake compliment. We love each other, but without constraints, obviously, otherwise he wouldn’t be with me, I know he wants to be free and I never ask him questions. In the past he would tell me of the stories he had with certain guys, of course stories that were real just in his brain, now he doesn’t tell me anything anymore and I believe he has no more stories. A few years ago he considered his job to be beyond his ability, now he is very busy in his job and he’s also highly esteemed, because his bosses begin to understand that, if they let him free, he is able to do things that few others would be able to realize or even think of. In short, I think that now his job takes up a lot of his time, after his job for him there is me, Saturday and Sunday in person and the other days for an hour via Skype. He is brusque with me, also a little aggressive, but only when he’s tired or stressed by work problems, it’s true that sometimes he treats me like a rag but then he regrets it and apologizes.
 
But now I come to the reason why I’m writing you this email. When we met he was 26 years old, he was the one to court me, I liked him very much, I considered him the most beautiful guy I had known, but I thought that a guy like him could not find anything interesting in me. At the beginning we talked a lot on the phone, even several hours in the day, then it was he who took the sexual initiative, something that I would have never expected, I certainly wanted it, but I didn’t think it possible. It was the first time for him and for me. I was full of complexes, and in practice he did everything, he was patient, he put me at ease and slowly made me understand many things about sex. The best thing, when we had sex, was to see him play, joke, feel totally free, I cannot deny that all this dragged me into an environment of sexual spontaneity that I would never have thought possible before, but that with him was an absolutely natural thing. We used to speak and behave with each other with the utmost freedom and there was a practically perfect understanding, I can’t say that there was total symmetry, because we had different ways of living sex but we were happy to be together, we needed nothing else. If I think about me, well, he really changed my life, he took me to another highly engaging dimension. At the time we weren’t even afraid of HIV because neither he nor I had ever had relationships with anyone, and sex was really a way to let loose, more on his part than on my part, but he knew he was making me discover a new world and he respected my times, he tried to follow my rhythms, or at least to involve me in his, but in a very sweet and respectful way, yes “respectful” is the right adjective. I was very well with him, a few months before I thought that I would never have sex with anyone, and a few months later, in practice our meetings were centered on sex and I certainly don’t say so to diminish or devalue, because it was not stupid sex at all, we were in love and used to tell each other that we loved each other through sex above all. In short, the first times (even two or three years) we never had sexual problems of any kind. Little by little, a deeper mutual trust was added to sexual intercourse and he told me many things about himself, even of a very private and embarrassing type, in essence he trusted me and he thought of letting me enter his very private world. I think at first he expected a reaction from me similar to what other guys had in front of those speeches, then he realized that there was nothing to fear from my part. Once, a year ago, he told me something that upset me a lot, it sounded more or less like this: “I stay with you because you are a good person, because you respect me, you allow me to feel free, you don’t judge me, I know that you love me, I don’t know how, but you love me, I’m not in love with you but I’m fine with you, I feel safe, precisely because you love me. For you I have never had that very strong physical involvement that I have had for some other guys, it is a different thing, something quiet, you are not my lover, but you are a good man, and I trust you and until now I never regretted it. Maybe I’ll fall in love with other guys and maybe I’ll go with them, but I have to know that you are there and that if I needed you, you wouldn’t leave me alone.”
 
But let’s get to the specific problem. A couple of years ago he had sexual relations with other guys, safe and protected sex only, as he told me, but, you know how it is, in short, after he told me it (we hadn’t had sex for a couple of months) he asked me to make love to him and I told him that I didn’t feel like having sex, but only because of the HIV risk. He initially didn’t take it well, he acted like I was rejecting him, then he understood and agreed to take the test, which resulted negative, according to common sense I should have felt calm and reassured but nevertheless I had the same fear because he could have gone with another guys without telling me anything. I actually don’t think he would have put me at risk, but, you know, these ideas are a bit like a worm that doesn’t go out anymore when it enters your brain. He saw my embarrassment but tried to make me overcome my fears, while in the same time I was trying to reduce our sexual contacts to something that was just at minimal risk, if not zero. From this mechanism began the strange trend of our sexuality. He felt annoyed and somehow upset by my attitude, because, after all, he had done the test and it had resulted negative, and to think that he could have put me at risk without telling me it, was somehow a deep lack of trust in him, because, I’m convinced, he would never do such a thing. In short, an asymmetry started from there, let’s call it so, he could do certain things to me that I didn’t reciprocate on him and other things were not done at all, he tended to involve me more and more and I tended to keep myself within the boundaries of a very low risk. Then slowly he began to think that I had sex with him not for me but for him, as if it were an altruistic gesture, as if I did it out of pity for him. Such an idea is completely absurd, because I think of him very often in sexual terms and, during the week, when he is not there, I masturbate thinking about him. Note, Project, that since we started our relationship I have never fantasized about other guys. But he’s convinced that the fear of HIV is not the real reason for some of my reluctances. Before, when I went to him or he came to me, the first thing that happened was to go to the bedroom. Lunch could very well wait and so did all the rest and even the speeches, but it was obvious that sex, after a week that we had been apart, could not be postponed at all. Now it’s not like that anymore, when we meet we start talking about this and that and even about stupid things, as if we were trying to waste time, I don’t take the initiative neither does he, and he gets angry, he tells me that I’m a hypocrite, that I want him to always take the initiative, so that I can then give my consent like a grace, he tells me that this thing is making him angry because this script is repeated exactly in the same way too many times. I swear to you, Project, that I don’t take the initiative just because I’m embarrassed and I don’t have the slightest intention giving my consent like a grace, because in any case my consent is obvious. For the whole week I say to myself and I repeat that I have to take the initiative, then, when we are together I stop, I’m afraid that he will say no, that he will get angry because it is not the right time or for some other reason, or simply because maybe he’s stressed and would prefer to speak. He complains that I talk too much, that I act like a young girl full of complexes, that I use a too flirtatious and feminine language. He would like me to be at his level, very determined and above all much more interested in sex. In a way he doesn’t understand that I’m interested, but essentially because he is there, because if he were not there, sex for me would be a strictly individual thing and made above all, and perhaps completely, of fantasy and of much or more frustrated desires, as it was before I knew him.
 
Our problems are almost all in the starting phase of sex, which can be ruined by talking too much. I often try to bite my tongue and avoid speeches because I know he doesn’t like them and I try to adopt adequate language and behavior. In practice I try to imitate his language and his behavior. He tells me that I look like an 18th-century valet and that he would like me to be “more man”, an expression that I don’t like at all. He tells me that with him I have to be spontaneous, I must take the liberty of doing anything, that I don’t have to be “obsequious and clumsy” but that I have to wake up. More or less since Christmas, last year, every now and then, let’s say more or less 30% of the time, it was possible to reach a mutual understanding like that of the early times, and it was a very beautiful thing, apart from sex, because he stopped attacking me with the usual speeches and with the usual emphasis and I was actually able to feel again that respect for me that had been the rule in the early years.
 
Then the story of the virus intervened which interrupted our travels on Saturdays and Sundays, and I could say that perhaps, at least until now, it was a positive thing because abstinence stimulates desire and then we tried to equip ourselves to do at least a bit of sex on cam, but something unexpected happened, we started talking a lot and it was fine, I mean it was fine for him too. Sex on cam wasn’t a stupid thing at all because he was there. I can say that we had found a stable balance much more solid and less problematic than that of the Sunday trips.
 
In days, they say, we will probably be able to resume our travels and I don’t know what to do, because resuming the meetings on Saturday and Sunday would probably take away from our relationship the strength of daily dialogue, and, let’s face it, this would let emerge many sexual problems which are currently hidden or temporarily removed. I would like to propose him to interrupt our meetings, but be careful, interrupting our meetings does not mean diminishing or devaluating the relationship but exactly the opposite, anyhow I don’t know how he could react to a similar proposal. I really don’t want him to take it as a rejection of him as a person. I’m afraid that the mutual clarifications and embarrassments will start again and that the level of communication that had been reached in the period of social isolation will be lost. I think I will let him make all the choices he likes better and then I will adapt anyway, because if he didn’t feel free he would be uncomfortable. He told me that he can’t wait to see me, and I too really can’t wait to embrace him again … In short, I think we will go back to the previous standards and I like it because the real physical contact is another thing, but I fear that our beautiful hours of chat conversation will end up in nothing at all, I’m afraid he can start getting angry at me again, that he may misunderstand the fear of HIV, and now also of the covid; in short I’m afraid everything can go into crisis again. It is a very concrete danger or at least I feel it very concrete, until now the limits of our relationship came from the fact that it was not possible to circulate, but afterwards there will be limits that will be attributed only to me. He will try to make me go beyond those limits, I won’t do it and things will fall apart again. I’m almost afraid to start again, I’m almost afraid of him and the fact that he will be disappointed, I come up to think that I made him lose the best years of his life and that basically I’m not able to love him. Sometimes I think that without sex everything would be better and that spontaneity fades over the years, I speak just for myself of course. What do you think about, Project?
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GAY SEXUAL CONDITIONING AND COUPLE DIALOGUE

I often hear people speaking about gay sexuality, I myself have used and still use this concept and I do it by adapting to a widespread and radical simplification of the concept of sexuality. Descartes begins his “Discourse on the method” by stating that, as for “common sense”, “everyone thinks they are so well endowed with it, that even those who are more difficult to satisfy with regard to any other good do not want or desire more common sense than they have. ” The same could be said for the “knowledge of sexuality”, to whoever I ask for an answer I find people who are convinced that they have a very clear concept of sexuality. However, gathering these answers I do not find that variety that one would be legitimate to expect given the plurality of individual and social conditions, I’m instead faced with rather homogeneous answers, far from individual experience and inspired above all by mass media, television, cinema, readings and, to a large extent, by the use of internet pornography. In essence, the common concept of sexuality represents an abstraction, radically simplifying and trivializing, capable, precisely because of its generality, of being acceptable to the great majority of people.
 
Individual sexuality, which is not an abstract concept but a reality that permeates the whole individual, is linked to many factors, first of all to personal experience, which is absolutely unique and unrepeatable even if it can be studied with standard sociological categories based on age and social conditions. Among the fundamental factors that condition personal experience, family education and sometimes even religion must be placed at the top. The intertwining of the various lines of development of the individual experience is extremely complex and, beyond the abstract or theoretical concepts, leads the individual people to “live sexuality” in very different ways.
 
Here then appears a first substantial distinction: the concept of sexuality of an individual is not what is stated in response to a specific question, but what is embodied in that individual’s behavior. Sexuality is not an abstract concept but a reality that lives in individual experience. Which means that knowing and understanding the sexuality of another person is an objectively very difficult thing, because to share these contents you need an atmosphere of deep intimacy and mutual trust that allows you to overcome the blocks that normally make it impossible a serious dialogue on these topics. Why is it so difficult to speak seriously not of sexuality in general but of one’s own sexuality? The fear of being judged, of being classified, marginalized and rejected, is the basis of any resistance to true dialogue on these issues and is generally a well-motivated fear.
 
There are two prerequisites for any serious dialogue not about sexuality in general but about one’s own individual sexuality. The first prerequisite is the radical elimination of any judgmental attitude, that is, of any preconception, but this prerequisite is still formal and almost professional, in the sense that any psychologist assumes or should assume a non-judgmental attitude. The second assumption is substantive and completely different and consists in accepting reciprocity as a fundamental rule of dialogue on individual sexuality. Accepting reciprocity means understanding that at these levels there can be no roles, there cannot be a professional detachment but an equal dialogue must be accepted. If the dialogue is not perceived as equal, it will never reach the deepest contents of consciousness and their manifestations in sexuality. A level of communication such as that described can be reached sometimes, but not as a rule, between lovers who are now well beyond the phase of sexual experimentation and who have a very strong mutual affection, but can also be reached sometimes in the context of very close friendly relationships (without involvement of sexuality).
 
It should be noted that the depth of a relationship is measured by the quantity and quality of information about ourselves that we are available to provide to the other. In a relationship of superficial friendship we never talk about affective life or we talk about it with very general and, so to speak, common sense categories, in a relationship of close friendship, emotional and even sexual confidences become frequent, in long friendships supported by concrete evidence of mutual reliability, emotional and sexual confidence can become total, that is, it can lead two friends to have no secrets from each other. Obviously all this happens very rarely but sometimes it happens.
 
What does it emerge from the comparison of individual sexualities? What emerges is essentially the category of complexity. What we consider simple and spontaneous manifestation of the sexual instinct, in reality is not at all simple or spontaneous, but is the result of the interaction of an extremely specific genetic-epigenetic substrate with the experience of the person as a whole, that is, with a plot of infinite correlations, for which it is difficult to identify even very general taxonomic categories.
 
I will try to limit the discussion to the gay area only. If there is truly something common in the experience of all homosexuals, this common element is nothing else than becoming and then being aware that the ways of living the affectivity and sexuality of two gay people can be radically different. More or less all gays identify being gay with falling in love with guys rather than girls, or more generally with having sex with guys rather than girls. At this level, in reality extremely general if not generic, it is easy to find consensus, when however we try to understand what it means for every single person to fall in love and have sex with a guy, that is when we move from abstract to concrete, abstract categories lose their meaning and individual stories come into play, stories strictly individual although often similar to those of other gays who find themselves in similar personal and social situations. Thus the importance of the only true instrument of knowledge of the other emerges, which is his individual story, I’m speaking exactly of the individual story, that is, of a real experience, just as it is perceived by the individual who has lived that story and  brings deep traces of it in his memory, I’m non speaking of the story told to other people and more or less unconsciously reinterpreted by the one who lived it. 
 
One of the intrinsic limitations of any psychotherapy consists in the fact that in a professional relationship, if the therapist can guarantee non-judgmental attitudes or, better, behaviors, he certainly cannot in any case open up to a substantial reciprocity, which, alone, could lead to the emergence of the profound contents of consciousness. The therapist, therefore, starts not from the knowledge of the individual story of his patient just as the patient experiences it, but from the representation that the patient gives of that story to the outside, in a communication in which the guarantee of professional secrecy can in no way to make up for the absence of reciprocity. In a sense, we offer a deeper knowledge of ourselves to our lover or our dearest friend than to the psychotherapist because with the lover or dearest friend the condition of reciprocity can really exist.
 
In the early 1900s, Havelock Ellis was already fully aware of the complexity of the homosexual reality and of the substantial impossibility of building a theory of homosexuality that could have a minimum of concrete utility, therefore he preferred to abandon traditional attitudes and organize his book as a collection of 39 real cases, told in the words of the protagonists themselves. The 39 stories, which make up about half of the book, allow the reader to understand the complexity of the homosexual world and then to acquire, even if through a book, a little real experience not of what “homosexuality” is at the theoretical level but of what can be the life of 39 homosexual people with different personalities and experiences. In this sense, more than a book or a scientific article, a novel or a story can help to understand the reality of the life of gays as individuals, which is what matters, and not as a category.
 
In the 21st century, the role of novels and short stories is largely taken on by films, short films and videos, which use a different  language but convey similar contents. In recent years, more or less for ten years now, there has been a noticeable flowering of gay videos, which generally deal with the major issues of gay life in a substantially serious and correct way. Obviously you cannot ask a video of an average length of twenty minutes what you can ask a novel or a feature film, but some of these videos, even if short, are small masterpieces. Generally these videos are quite well made, one feels the hand of expert directors and one understands that the production is not of a reductive amateurish type.
 
These videos can constitute and sometimes really constitute a true form of affective-sexual education, capable of counteracting the models spread by pornography, because in gay themed videos the emotional and psychological dimension is present in a serious way. Unfortunately, gay-themed videos are still produced, at a substantially professional level, providing very particular gay reality models that risk favoring deviant associations in the mind of the viewer, such as the association homosexuality-drug or homosexuality-violence or homosexuality-depression or worse homosexuality-mental pathology or homosexuality-crime. These associations are the result of preconceptions and suggest that the authors of the stories, the producers and directors are not themselves homosexuals and limit themselves to making videos following common prejudices.
 
Gay themed videos written and made by homosexuals are generally short glimpses of homosexual life and are extremely varied, they are therefore a very powerful educational tool, easy to access and capable of highlighting the most classic themes of gay affectivity and sexuality and the gay point of view, in its most complex and varied articulation, on many issues that affect family relationships, homophobia, dialogue among gays and couple life.
 
Let’s go back, however, to the complexity of gay sexuality. A deep emotional relationship with your partner allows not only verbally, but also through the sharing of sexuality, a fair comparison of experiences and the emergence of all the contents of individual memory, even the most hidden. This means that a good gay couple relationship can be more useful than psychotherapy because it allows, in a context of reciprocity, to speak freely about one’s own sexuality and above all to live it without taboos.
 
We need to clarify a concept, as simple as it is forgotten: sexuality can be lived and is often lived in a completely mechanical way, without deep affective involvement, and the sincerity between the partners may become something optional. The lack of sincerity reaches the point of legitimizing the betrayal and to hide from the partner some elements that would radically change his opinion on us. Even in situations where there is no betrayal and it is not a question of hiding “behaviors” that could change the judgment of the partner on us, there are other elements that can be and are often kept silent, these are the non-standard sexual fantasies that may not be accepted or understood by the partner, this is the case of pedophile fantasies even if they have never been put in practice, but it is also the case of incestuous sexual fantasies, or intergenerational, but the listing could also extend to other sexual fantasies, less alarming but quite uncommon.
Another category of experiences is almost always kept silent, even if it is facts that should in no case undermine the relationship with the partner, I refer to having suffered sexual violence or harassment in childhood or in early adolescence. The episodes of violence or sexual abuse of minors, almost always in the family environment or by regular visitors of the family environment, are unfortunately much more common than you can imagine. All these elements and many others can have a profound influence on an individual’s sexual behavior and on many other aspects of his personality. The couple relationship, if it is really a love relationship, can be the best way to achieve a substantial serenity of life.
 
Sharing sexuality, sexual freedom in intimacy with your partner, feeling accepted for what you are, after showing yourself for what you are, is a unique opportunity for gratification and emotional exchange, which is truly able to change the life of an individual, provided that couple sexuality is truly an exchange of love and not a substantially selfish rite to exorcise solitude.
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THE MEANING OF GAY SEX WITHOUT COMMITMENTS

This post is dedicated to the so-called “gay sex without commitments” or to those sexual contacts that do not take place within a stable couple relationship, that is, they are not part of a structured relationship.
Two elements appear in this definition: the “stable couple” and the “structured relationship”, which must be further clarified.
 
It is common practice to compare stable couples with unstable (short term) ones and structured relationships to unstructured ones, commonly called free relationships. The legacy of the traditional marriage concept is evident in these distinctions, marriage intends to structure and legitimize a couple’s relationship around the presumed indissoluble mutual fidelity which also implies a social meaning. In the case of marriage, the union is born indissoluble, or at least with the claim, more or less credible, of being indissoluble, but indissolubility is only a hypothesis that is taken for granted, because indissolubility manifests itself over time, in substance indissolubility, which in itself is by no means an obvious thing, is favored, if not actually induced and obliged by the structure that connotes the marriage bond.
 
The “social”, not “couple” dimension of marriage is clearly revealed in the celebration of the wedding ceremony which is a social ceremony. Structuring a couple’s reaction means conforming to a codified and socially recognized standard, that is, inserting one’s life as a couple partner in a legal-social structure that in theory protects it but which risks distorting it completely.
 
Today free relationships, even in the hetero field, are many, even in couples with children. This, in general, does not mean that one renounces inserting the couple life into a wider social structure, but simply that one intends to avoid legal constraints. Removing legal constraints from couple life means safeguard the freedom to interrupt couple life (without prejudice to the rights of children) without legal complications, should the need to do so be felt.
 
For a gay couple, for whom insertion into a wider social structure can be very problematic, it is certainly difficult if not impossible to accept even very weak legal formalizations, such as civil unions, but it is very often necessary or at least very appropriate to avoid the socialization of the relationship beyond a very limited and reliable circle of friends. In essence, the great majority of gays, and especially young gays, do not aspire to any legalization of the couple’s relationship and to the inclusion of the couple’s life in a social dimension with not well defined borders.
 
Many gays, after having dreamed of an almost matrimonial life as a couple and having collected a more or less long series of illusions and disillusions, begin to convince themselves that those who promise sublime things are generally unreliable and that the risk to get involved with individuals of this kind in very structured stories, that are or can became sometimes real traps, is concrete and also probable. Those who, on the other hand, do not promise anything and indeed point out that they do not promise anything and consequently do not require any kind of a priori commitments, can, in the long run, prove to be much more serious and reliable people than they seemed at the beginning. A weak bond, both in the sense of unstructured on a social level, and in the sense of light, partial and non-totalizing, can prove to be very stable, while maintaining its characteristics of absence of structure and lightness, precisely because it is in fact a pure couple relationship on which no pressure or expectation, by the social environment or bay partner, can be loaded.
 
Generally we tend to distinguish simple friendships (without sex) from sexualized friendships, in which some sexual contact can also occur. If it is true that not all friendships last over time, it is equally true that not all sexualized friendships last over time. What gives both the ability to last? And here the answer is immediate. With or without sex, lasting friendships are those in which there is a real emotional foundation. It should be stressed that the sexualization of affectivity aims to maintain the relationship, apparently, on a purely or essentially sexual level, because a contact purely sexual is or seems less demanding than an important affective relationship.
 
It should also be clarified that the sharing of sexuality inevitably leads to the sharing of several other aspects of emotional life and individual history: illusions, frustrations, moments of depression but also moments of joy. Those who are involved in a relationship of this kind do not fear it, they have no reason to run away, they know that no obligation, either social or towards the partner, will derive from it, they don’t feel forced,
don’t feel judged even by their friend, but rather they feel free and this is enough to make them feel deeply gratified.
 
Of course these relationships have nothing of the fusion of two lives, the partners are not two people who share every aspect of their life. Each of the two retains its full autonomy, there are no legal or economic constraints, there is no obligation of cohabitation, cohabitation can also exist but it is an absolutely free and revocable choice at any time. The circles of friends can very well remain completely separate, the relationships with the family of origin of the partner are a pure possibility which often is not followed up because a different behavior would authorize expectations and interferences that in a couple relationship should be avoided.
 
I do not intend to make the apology of free unions, which, as it is easy to deduce from the statistics on straight marriages and gay civil unions, are progressively gaining ground compared to legalized forms of union, in fact, sexual contacts without commitments are not even a free union, which however postulates some explicit assumption of commitments.
 
Sexual contacts without commitments very often are such only formally, because the expression “without any commitment” does not prevent that such a contact can at least involve the moral commitment of the partners to respect each other. Formally there are no constraints and there are no expectations on either side, but over time it is possible, not to say probable, that behind a purpose declared as only sexual and “without commitments” there is actually something more, that, under the protection of the clause “without commitment”, can have the possibility to develop spontaneously and without forcing. Those who consciously live this type of experiences, in general, do not tend to transform them into something else, that is, in stable and structured relationships, and for this reason they do not experience any sense of frustration. It often happens that sex, which had been taken as the basic postulate of the relationship, over time becomes only a possible option and leaves room for other content as well.
 
It should be clarified that, just as stable couple relationships are not a generalizable model of gay life, so are not a generalizable model the sexual contacts without commitments”. It is obvious that each has his own genetic and cultural predisposition to one or another type of relationship, but from what I see, now more and more often, the assumption that it is possible to realize one’s own affectivity-sexuality only in the context of a stable and structured couple is something that does not correspond to reality. Affective gratification derives neither from the presumed definitive nature of the relationship nor from its social or legal sanction, but exclusively from the presence of a real emotional contact which, when it exists, is spontaneous and whose duration cannot be guaranteed by any legal mechanism of protection.
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SEXUAL ABUSE AND OBSESSIVE CONTENTS

The connection between sexual abuse and obsessive content related to sexuality deserves further study. I will consider two different situations, the first concerning a gay guy who has been abused in childhood and who presents a gay sexuality deeply conditioned by the experience of the abuse, the second concerning a straight guy who has been abused in adolescence and has developed a gay-themed OCD (I will only deal with the case of a OCD that had already manifested before the abuse). The situations, despite their substantial differences, have a fundamental aspect in common: the identification of the victim with the abuser. Let’s start with the first situation.

1) A gay guy, who has been sexually abused in childhood, has a gay sexuality that in the first meetings with his partners does not present particular problems but, if the relationship deepens, the guy gets to confess to his partner that he has been sexually abused, nevertheless he does not tend to feel as the victim but almost as the co-responsible if not as the promoter of the abuse, he tries anyhow to involve his partner in his obsessive fantasies concerning the abuse with insistently (obsessively) repeated questions about the circumstances of the abuse, asking him what he would do if he found himself in similar situations; faced with evasive or patently disinterested responses, the guy seems incredulous and attributes the lack of interest in sharing that particular sexual fantasies on the part of his partner to an alleged moralism of the partner himself, however the insistence does not cease even in the face of an obvious lack of interest but becomes even more pressing, as if the guy wanted to obtain a confession analogous to his own. The obsessive insistence on the partner goes as far as to induce him, in more or less long time, to distance himself and interrupt the relationship.

It is evident that the memory of the abuse has become a sexual archetype from which it is difficult to get free, and here a mechanism characteristic of the abuse is triggered: the victim imagines himself in the role of the abuser, situations of discomfort even very strong are created this way, because the victim sees himself as a potential pedophile and develops pedophile fantasies in which he assumes, in an oscillating manner, both the role of victim and abuser.

Basically the projective identification with the abuser and his behaviors favors guilt feelings and strongly weakens the possibility of rationalizing the memory of the abuse and of living a sexuality not deeply conditioned by the abuse itself.

2) In the case of the straight guy with a pre-existing gay themed OCD, the abuse in adolescence creates objective complications that cannot be ignored because it does nothing but feed the OCD, even though it cannot actually destroy the guy’s straight sexuality. The mechanism of identification with the abuser, in this case, cannot lead to true gay sexual fantasies (because the guy is a straight guy) but only to obsessions and gay compulsions which, as is usually the case in the OCD, remain, at most, at the level of masturbation and, in almost all cases, never materialize in real sexual relationships. The gay-themed compulsions and obsessions are perceived as deeply disturbing compared to the true sexuality that is and anyway remains straight.

The identification with the abuser can however be more complex when the abuser is not really a gay man but he is a married man or a man who has children, that is when the abuser is or appears to be a straight adult, with whom the straight guy with OCD can easily identify on the basis of the following projective mechanism: ”He is straight because he is married and has children, but if he abused me it means he also had gay fantasies and could not refrain from putting them into practice, but I am straight too, because I have a girlfriend and I have sex with her, but I also have gay fantasies, so in the end I won’t be able to stop myself and I’ll end up needing to have sex with a man. How can I be with a girl if I already desire men and know that sooner or later I will betray her with a man? I am fooling my girlfriend into believing that I am straight, but it is not so!”

In this case the identification mechanism acts through different paths but it is no less disruptive than in the case of the gay guy and creates the risk, sometimes lived obsessively, but objectively not very concrete, to lead to the breakdown the relationship with the girl.

The deeper identification with the abuser leads to two closely related consequences:

1) the responsibility of the abuser appears to be much lighter;

2) even if in such situations it’s evident that in any case no responsibility can be charged on the victim, the victim himself overestimates his own presumed responsibility up to the point to consider his own behavior decisive, and consequently to experience guilt feelings objectively unjustified.

In the two cases presented, the most suitable conditions to overcome obsessive thinking are realized when the guys have their ”real” emotional life, that is:

1) in the first case, when the gay guy lives not a unilateral falling in love but an authentic love story with a guy with whom a relationship is created that is completely independent of the fantasies related to abuse, fantasies which can also remain but marginalized and spontaneously not shared, fantasies that are not considered as a taboo but are very rarely argument of conversation. In essence the stories that materialize or tend to materialize only or mainly in terms of more or less spontaneous sharing of fantasies linked to abuse are not true love stories and therefore do not contribute to the overcoming of obsessive thinking;

2) in the second case, when the straight guy lives a love story in which the girl knows that the guy has been abused and realizes that the obsessive thought linked to the OCD can cause the guy to question his heterosexuality. The OCD has a strong conditioning capacity in two cases:

a) when the girl tries to ignore obsessive contents, pretending that they do not exist;
b) when the girl emphasizes the obsessive contents and offers them a sound box that amplifies their effect.

OCD must be tackled with awareness but without dramatization.

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