REFLECTIONS OF A GAY OVER 30

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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OK I’M GAY BUT I DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO

Hello Project, I wanted to thank you for last night, you have infinite patience and above all you have the ability to make me feel less agitated. One like me, who at 25, after so many back and forth, comes to the conclusion that being with a girl is not for him, he feels quite destabilized: what to do with the girl? What to do with parents? And then, gay, ok, but this at the moment only means that I have fantasies about guys, but then how should I move? I don’t know anything about it and you can understand that I’m so scared that sometimes I get the very strong temptation to say: well, I’m gay, but it’s just a fantasy and it will never change, there will never be anything concrete, then I might as well go on acting the role of straight guy, I did it for so many years! 
 
In the end being gay is too complicated, I’m not used to all the things I read in the forum, prudence, acting, let’s say that until now I did but unconsciously, basically up to a few months ago, I had a half idea of being really straight, but now I should just act consciously and then what do I do?
 
Admitted and not granted that I find a guy, I take him home and I say to my parents: “He is my boyfriend!”? I believe they would call psychiatric service because they do not expect it at all such a thing. And then, even assuming that I can solve calmly with the girl (obviously inventing false motivations, what gives me tremendous annoyance, because she has always been very transparent to me), what does it mean to find a boyfriend? Finding a girl I know what it means, or better, I know what it means being found by a girl, and the complications are not too many, but looking for a guy must be something different.
 
What do I say to a guy? “How beautiful you are! I would like to eat you with kisses!” But how do you woo a guy? I just cannot imagine it. In short, all these things we talked about last night at the time reassured me, when we said goodbye I felt euphoric, then this morning I said to myself: I spoke with Project, it’s true, but for me, in concrete, what has changed ? Just nothing! I talk to Project but in the end It’s I who have to deal with my problems and here’s the problem, because I’m really afraid of not even knowing where one has to start from. The guys who felt gay from the beginning, have slowly learned these things, but me? I read the forum to try to understand what it actually means to be gay and the result is that it seems a lot harder than I thought before. I’m still scared, I think we’ll hear each other soon.
 
You did a very important thing, you took away from my mind a bit of crazy ideas that seemed to me absolutely obvious, you know, a greenhorn doesn’t even know the a b c, for example about the coming out, I filled my brain with this idea, even if I couldn’t really understand how to do something like that, but I liked the idea and I felt less than others because I unconsciously knew it was not for me. Now at least I feel less inept and more gay, so to speak, normal, after what you told me. Then the problems of prevention! Damn, Project, I was just about to throw in the towel. With my girlfriend practically at most a bit of petting, so zero risk, but with a guy I hoped to do a bit of sex. Well at certain times last night I said to myself: Project exaggerates! Maybe he does so for good, but for him this story of prevention is just a fixed idea. But then to think that maybe for a little sex one can really get into big trouble shows things in another way and I had never thought about it!
 
Anyway, let’s say I think I would not have put myself at risk, but now I’m sure I’ll be even more careful.
 
Another point, I need to understand how other boys live their homosexuality (what a horrible word!) Because I’ve never fallen in love with a guy and I think that my basic doubts are all coming from there. Sexual fantasies yes and many, but in love with a guy never! And how is it that if I’m really gay and I’ve never fallen in love with a guy? It seems to me that I could have a relationship of pampering with a girl but with a guy, I don’t know how it could be. Maybe it’s all about roles, maybe it’s something that is much simpler than I think, but at the moment I don’t really see myself cuddling another guy.
 
I often thought that I could do all my fantasies, I mean sexual fantasies, about a guy, but if I really knew him then I would be unable to live in reality that sexuality, maybe that guy would be a friend, even the best friend, as it happened sometimes, but you know how it is when you are friends the relationship becomes almost familiar and sexuality has nothing to do with such things, at least I think so, I have never fallen in love with my friends, indeed I have never fallen in love with anyone.
 
And then there is a guy sweet like a girl? Maybe if such a guy existed I could also fall in love with him, but I see certain guys that make just fall my arms, no sweetness at all, just superficiality and pure stupid brutality. In short, well, a gay doesn’t fall in love with all the guys but with only one, but the thing has just a statistical meaning, there are those who have had 10 guys and those (like me) who have not had and will not have not even one.
 
And if I stay alone (what is very likely because in terms of courage I’m a rabbit), gay and lonely! What a nice mixture! Wouldn’t it be better (fake) straight guy and alone! I could always say that I didn’t find the right woman, which is at least one thing that can be said. I am afraid, Project, to have put me on a path that will only bring me trouble. If I find a guy who loves me, ok, then it makes sense, but it’s something that seems very unlikely. The last doubt that came to me last night: are there many guys in my condition? And generally how does it end? Thanks for the patience, Project, I’ll contact you Friday night.
 
Italian Hamlet
p. s. If you think this email may make sense even for other people, post it in your blog.
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GAY GUYS WHO UNDERSTAND AND REASON WITHOUT PANIC

Panic and rationality

When a boy, who comes to the awareness of being gay, lives in homophobic environments or has been accustomed to seeing homosexuality as a disease, as a perversion or as a sin , that boy will be led to consider homosexuality as a catastrophe looming over him, able to crush him and negatively affect his whole life. In such situations it is not uncommon for the discomfort to be so deep as to cause him to think even of suicide as the only way out.

For a boy who recognizes himself as gay and lives in a homophobic environment, it is essential to keep in mind that the assessments must be given in cold blood, without being panicked and based on a realistic knowledge of what could derive from the decision. One can also be terrified by the idea of being attacked by the ghosts but objectively the ghosts don’t exist.

Objective data

First of all, a gay boy must try to know the reality of the gay world, I mean the real gay world and not that of jokes or urban legends, because it is from the confusion between urban legends and objective reality that comes most of the fears about homosexuality. There is therefore a need to always keep in mind some basic elements about homosexuality on which I will now focus.

First of all we try to understand how many homosexuals are limiting ourselves to Italy. Given that the homosexuals publicly declared are an estimated fraction of about 4% of the total, making a data collection that also involves the large mass of not openly gay guys, it’s virtually impossible. Completely anonymous tests have been made (and therefore potentially truthful, on even large samples of the population) on the basis of two distinct criteria, one consists in considering homosexuals those who have or have had homosexual relationships and the other consists in considering homosexual those who consider themselves to be such, regardless of whether they have or have had a gay couple sexuality.

The two surveys, conducted with the two different criteria, give results according to which those who feel homosexual, between 25 and 26 years, are about twice those who have or have had a homosexual relationship. According to Gay Project statistics, at the average age of 25.81, 45.02% of those who consider themselves gay have never had sexual relations either hetero or gay. From the same survey we come to know that in the same sample masturbation takes place with gay fantasies in over 99% of cases. This fact confirms that the fantasies that accompany masturbation are the fundamental index of sexual orientation.

The most reliable estimates of the percentage of those who consider themselves gay are around 8% of the general population. It is objectively a minority but certainly not a small minority. The findings give similar results both between men and women. Homosexuality is therefore a reality that involves men and women more or less in the same percentage.

Saying that homosexuals are about 8% of the general population is not immediately significant, so it is worthwhile to present the same data through examples immediately understandable: in a class of 25 students, on average, there are two homosexual guys, in one school with a thousand students there are, on average, 80 homosexual students, in Italy (about 61 million inhabitants) there are about 4,800,000 homosexuals, counting both men and women, roughly the population of the whole Veneto, this number also includes children who statistically will recognize themselves as homosexuals during their lifetime. It is understood that, being however a minority, gays are still very many.

Compared with the overall percentage estimated at about 4% of publicly declared gays on the total of the entire gay population, it is observed that the sample examined by Gay Project, of average age 25.81 years, has a percentage of publicly declared gays equal to 13.74 %. Although the sample is not statistically significant, the indicated value is certainly higher than that of the general gay population, the fact remains that the younger generations have a greater propensity to declare themselves publicly. In all age groups, the percentage of gays that are not publicly declared remains, however, very higher than that of the declared ones. According to common experience, even if there are, on average, 80 gay boys out of a thousand students, it is practically impossible to detect even just one because homophobia exists and avoiding a coming out in public is considered as the only possible defense.

Summarizing what has been said up to now we can conclude that gays, even if not recognizable, because environmental homophobia pushes them not to declare themselves, are everywhere around us and these guys, even if they are not publicly declared, are still looking for a dialogue and contact with other gay boys, because the first problem of gay boys is to feel alone.

Gays and myth of the charming prince

Before proceeding, it is good to dwell a bit on another kind of preconceptions, or rather, of fables related to the realization of the self. Gay boys, like all boys, grow up with myths induced by the cultural climate around them, one of these is the myth of the charming prince. It is a myth that was created for the girls, to induce them not to lose hope but to hope for the arrival, sooner or later, of the classic charming prince capable of transforming Cinderella into a queen. In reality this myth pushes us not to act, waiting for someone to radically change our condition. A myth of this kind, with the necessary differences, can be easily transposed into a gay key, and among gays causes similar damages to those it causes in the hetero field, prompting guys to dreaming, instead of reasoning, and to expecting miraculous solutions coming from outside for their problems and their difficulties, instead of getting seriously busy engaging in the first person.

Autonomy and economic independence

For a gay boy, rather than for a straight boy, it is essential to gain his own autonomy because, in general, a gay boy cannot rely too much on the support that could come from his family or from the social context. Autonomy is not a myth analogous to that of the charming prince, but it is a concrete and essential reality. True autonomy exists only when there is a real economic independence, which is certainly not easy to achieve. Autonomy intended as independence and therefore as substantial freedom of choice, must be the basic objective of a gay boy.

Those who cannot take too much account of the help of others can react either with passivity and fatalism, letting themselves go to accept any imposition and any adaptation, or instead can look ahead with constructive attitude, planning their future step by step and orienting it before everything to the conquest of a full personal autonomy, that is, essentially, of the economic autonomy. There are only two concrete tools for achieving true autonomy: study and work.

Studying, for a gay boy, has at least two functions, the first is also common to straight boys and consists of broadening their general culture and dominating the ordinary tools of critical analysis and communication and the other, specifically gay, consists in the discovery of the weight of homosexuality in culture, from Plato to Garcia Lorca, from Michelangelo to Pasolini, from Marsilio Ficino to Luchino Visconti. To realize the weight and the sense that the homosexual culture has had and has in history, despite the repressions and the discriminations, means to find again one’s own roots and to recognize himself in a tradition of high culture and great dignity.

Obviously the study also has an instrumental function and allows access to more qualified and paid jobs that can guarantee greater independence. It should never be forgotten that the search for couple life can in no case replace the construction of the self through substantial independence, that is, through economic independence. A guy has to stay in a couple because he feels at ease with his partner. When living in couple is instrumental to other aims, the couple relationship is based on very fragile bases. We are comfortable in a couple relationship when we are there by choose and not by necessity.

Equilibrium between affectivity and practical life

It often happens that gay boys come to realize through study and then through their professional activity, all this is highly positive but in some cases hides the a priori renunciation of affective life. Being gay and trying to achieve first of all one’s own independence does not mean having to give up emotional life, but that emotional life cannot and must not be identified with the totality of life, because well-being, which also has a very strong emotional component, it can in fact be impossible when its minimum requirements are lacking, which in an adult life are inevitably of an economic nature. Just as it makes no sense to focus exclusively on the pursuit of economic autonomy by putting affectivity aside, so it makes no sense to be overwhelmed by affectivity neglecting the material assumptions of individual well-being.

That a young boy can be overwhelmed by affectivity and sexuality is still understandable, even if often inappropriate, but an adult must keep his feet on the ground and must give the study and work an adequate space to allow the effective achievement and possibly in normal times, if not shortened, of the independence. A form of discouragement often arises here, the study appears very difficult, very long, you don’t feel adequately prepared and the temptation to throw in the towel makes its way easily. It is at this point that the will must take over. The results derive essentially from work and personal commitment and, from whatever level you start, it is always possible to go ahead and improve your condition. It’s not the so-called genes who go on, but the people who want to commit themselves and who work hard to overcome difficulties.

Discouragement and commitment

Too often we are led to underestimate ourselves to avoid a serious commitment and in this way we tend to confuse the “I cannot” with the “I don’t want”. Here is the farmer’s metaphor: if in a field there is a farmer who works and in the near field there is one that doesn’t do anything, it is true that the one who works may also lose the harvest due to adverse weather conditions, but the fact remains that almost always the working farmer will have his crop for the winter and the other will be reduced to starvation.

Building, in any case, takes time and effort, which is why shorthand propagandists and sellers of easy solutions are almost always smoke vendors who point to roads that lead nowhere. What is served on a silver plate often hides pitfalls. I refer to dating sites and erotic chats. If it is true that it is possible to find friends and even a partner in these sites, it remains nevertheless the fact that the purpose of these sites is different and that most people don’t visit them to find friendship or love but to look for disengaged sex.

Gay loneliness and gay friendships

The basic problem of a gay boy, the problem of loneliness, has two distinct solutions: the first is to find a boy, the second is to find gay friends. It must be stressed immediately that none of these two things, alone, can lead to individual well-being. While it seems obvious that having gay friends without having a boyfriend should be considered unsatisfactory, it doesn’t seem that having a boyfriend without having gay friends is in itself preclusive of individual well-being, because it is assumed that the boyfriend is simultaneously the lover, the beloved, the friend, the confidant, etc. etc..

Experience shows that, paradoxically, gay friendships contribute to individual well-being even more than having a boyfriend because friendships stabilize the emotional live while love affairs, especially at the beginning, destabilize or can destabilize it very strongly. The emotional dimension must necessarily find support on the two tracks of the bond of couple and friendship and while without a bond of couple you can certainly be well for long periods (and at the limit even for life), without friends you are definitely alone.

Friendship exorcises loneliness and at the same time takes away the fear of homosexuality because it allows a personal and not superficial knowledge of other gay boys, stimulates the comparison and shows us how our friends are setting up or have set up the problems that we are going to face. In friendship, analogously to what happens in love, the difference between the true friend and the one who is not is not evidenced by the apparent initial consistency of the relationship but by its articulation over time and by its ability to resist the moments of crisis and to the misunderstandings that inevitably occur in any relationship.

Gay and possible happiness

When one considers the fact of being gay as a calamity, one doesn’t realize a basic truth whose denial is the basis of every form of fear of being gay, that is, one doesn’t realize that for a gay man today it is really possible to be happy, it is possible to have serious gay friends and it is not difficult either; it is a little more difficult to find a partner with whom to build a relationship that will last, but this is also difficult for hetero people for whom it is not at all obvious that marriage represents the incarnation of the myth of the ideal family.

Even gays must guard against the false myths in the name of which people and real situations are often devalued. Love and friendship are not fables but exercises of reality, that is true gyms in which day after day one learns to love through trials and errors. To truly love means to love a real person and not a theoretical model, but truly love is possible and it is a reality that changes life from within because it involves the profound experience of being in two.

Correcting one’s mistakes

I will dedicate the last part of this chapter to a fundamental question that has often involved gay boys over the years, I intend to refer to the ability to recognize and correct one’s mistakes. Gays, like all the people of this world, are subject to various kinds of temptations. There are young people who can make affective choices subordinate to issues of social role, opportunism or economic utility, others can undermine established relationships for years for an overnight adventure, others may end up adapting to social demands to the point of sacrificing their own sexuality. All these behaviors must be understood “in situation”, that is, from the specific point of view of those who put them into practice and in relation to all previous experience. These are often wrong choices, induced in large part by external factors, which can also cause very heavy consequences.

Let’s start from a premise: one can be wrong, the weaknesses are many. The attraction for money, for the social role or for sex exists and is strong. It should be emphasized that the quality of a person is not found in his never failing, what would not be human, but in the ability to correct their mistakes and make choices. Often, however, to the objectively and subjectively wrong choices, for which one feels also a feeling of moral discomfort, is added the idea that now one cannot go back and that a single failure is enough to undermine a person in a definitive way.

Let us ask ourselves: why is a “word” program better than the classic pen and paper to write a letter? The answer is only one: because using the computer one can easily correct errors and improve the text progressively. Programmers are well aware that mistakes are inevitably made when writing a program of some complexity, and the search and correction of these errors is a fundamental phase of the work that leads to the creation and optimization of a program. This also happens in individual life: mistakes are inevitably made, but it is essential that when, to remain in the computer metaphor, the program doesn’t run, one avoids the temptation to reset everything and destroy what has been built up to that point instead of commit oneself to correct mistakes and adjust the shot.

Reversible habits and choices

Some points must always be kept in mind: first of all the choices, all the choices, even the wrong ones, are reversible and are reversible at any time; secondly: the reversibility of choices is much easier if the correction is rapid because, with the passage of time habits are consolidated and one gets used to the very comfortable idea of irreversibility and therefore of moral irresponsibility. I stop on a metaphor: one doesn’t become obese for having eaten one more pastry, but when the habit of transgression of the rules of the diet is rooted, it becomes particularly difficult to return to the observance of the correct eating rules.

The metaphor also helps from another point of view: eating one more cake can be pleasant and the temptation is great but continuing without rules to eat pastries not only doesn’t lead to individual satisfaction but leads to being sick and to be convinced of being naturally intended to obesity, which in the vast majority of cases is not true. The choices, all the choices, must be made with an eye to the future, trying to foresee responsibly the long-term consequences of what is being done. This discourse is primarily valid for the prevention of sexually transmitted diseases, but it also applies to couple fidelity and to the tendency to follow social rules at the expense of one’s deep affectivity.

Usefulness of moral discomfort

The situation of moral hardship felt by the one who makes wrong choices shouldn’t be buried and judged a residual form of useless moralism, but must be seen as an alarm bell and as a signal to reflect on to go back before making even bigger mistakes.

The moral discomfort that one feels in front of wrong choices, which in any case are made in life, is precisely the basis of the self-regulating mechanism that allows us to correct errors. Expressions such as: “I cannot do anything about it”, “it’s my nature”, “it’s stronger than me” are the typical expressions that accompany acquiescence to moral surrender, that is, abdication to individual ability to choose. A classic example is related to disengagement in the study that is framed in the light of an inevitability “by nature”, but the same can be said for the tendency to transgression in the couple life or for the passive adaptation to social rules that are not shared.

The word “destiny” should be deleted from the dictionary because it is a convenient excuse for any form of disengagement and of perseverance in situations that are considered wrong. The moral lies in not abdicating one’s ability to make choices and therefore in the ability to go back and change one’s condition through individual commitment.

I would like to point out that, among gays, it is not uncommon to find forms of moral relaxation which, I emphasize, don’t consist of specific wrong behaviors in themselves, but precisely in abdication to one’s capacity for choice and commitment in the name of the presumed unavoidability of a destiny or of a “wrong” individual nature. Morality lies in the ability to react and not to lose one’s ability to choose. Below are two emails illustrating the situation, I have been authorized to publish them from those who sent them to me.

1/4/2012 Dear Project,
I am 27 years old, [- omissis-] Let’s come to the reason that pushed me to write you: I spent a year with a girl because I couldn’t stand the subtle pressure of my parents and also because if I had not done so, my friends sooner or later would have come to understand how things really were.

She is a very good girl and with her I don’t feel too much uncomfortable, at the limit, I think there is also some sexual involvement, but when I see some guys and I imagine how it would be to stay with them, my blood starts to boil, it’s absolutely another dimension, but with those guys I will never be able to stay and then I might as well try to stay with this girl, who is even in love with me.

I’m glad when she looks for me and I’m glad to see her, but it’s not really what I want and I’m sure of that. In practice, when I find myself embracing her, I come to think of how beautiful it would be if in his place there was one of those guys who really attract me. I have the distinct feeling of cheating this girl, the courage to speak clearly with her I don’t have it because I fear that I would end up to disgrace myself in front of the whole country, maybe it would not happen, but just thinking such a thing it gives me the push to keep going on like this but I don’t hide that sometimes I feel uncomfortable because I know I’m just using her.

When we meet, which happens in practice every day, I see her happy to see me and I feel uncomfortable, but what can I do? In practice, I have no chance of choice and so I must go on like that. In the end I think it could also work, or at least I hope so. And then I cannot make radical decisions, it’s just against my nature, I don’t have the strength to make definitive choices, and that’s why I let others do it for me. I cannot do anything, it is stronger than me. I was not born a lion, I’m a sheep and I must follow the flock, I would never be able to go alone against everything and everyone.

11/4/2012 Dear Project,
(- omissis -) I managed to take the first step and I had thought I would never have succeeded. It was very difficult but I managed to talk to my now ex-girlfriend. The reaction has been initially freezing, she did not expect it at all, basically she hadn’t understood anything, and there I felt really bad, then she called me in the early afternoon and asked me to meet because she wanted to give me back the gifts I had made her. I didn’t like it, but I couldn’t do anything about, so I put together the presents she had given me and we met in the afternoon, but she told me that she wanted to keep the ring engraved on the inside with my name. So I gave a spontaneous smile and she started crying, she told me that she loved me but she had understood that my life would have been different and that she would not forget me. We shook hands for a few seconds.

I tried to explain things from my point of view but she said that there was no need and we said goodbye with a hug that I didn’t expect. Actually, I think that I will not forget at all this girl. The next day I expected her to call me but she didn’t and I was uncomfortable, the following Saturday we met with friends and it was a nice thing, with me she was sincere and affectionately, with friends she was as if nothing had changed, except for a somewhat more detached attitude, but probably only the two of us noticed it.

In short, I feel much better, more free and above all the fact that she has understood how things were, makes me feel good. The relationship that somehow exists still now is authentic and I think it will not be lost. This was probably the hardest step but there are still many left. I will look for work away from here. I know it’s not easy to find it but I have to commit myself to the maximum. If I’ll remain here I’ll never find the chance to be myself. I began to send curricula throughout Italy and even abroad, now I hope that some concrete proposal will come to me but, if it happens, the separation from my family and my friends would certainly be very hard. I want to try to take back my destiny, to make my choices and to build my life as I think I would like it. We hope well, Project! [- omissis -].

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If you like, you can join the discussion on this post on Gay Project Forum: http://gayprojectforum.altervista.org/T-gay-guys-who-understand-and-reason-without-panic

THAT THIN RUBBER WALL

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

GAY GAMES OF STRAIGHT GUYS

Hello Project, 
it’s me again, George. I know very well that I’m bothering you every day, isn’t it? I don’t know, sometimes I have doubts, you never you never get angry. Oh well, but I would like you to at least get to understand what trouble you have thrown me into! We had a fight several times now and I closed the chat in your face several times, because I thought you deserved such a treatment, but then I called you back and sometimes it costed me a lot. 
But now, let’s admit that all the things you tried to put into my head are right, all right, admitted and not granted that I’m gay, and look, admitting it to me is really a very difficult thing, because I cannot stand the gay word and then, let’s say, seeing it associated with me makes me just upset, however, ok, ok, it may be as you say, in fact maybe it’s just as you say, but because I cannot try to change direction? This is what I don’t understand, I I’ve felt I was hetero for years and this curse of being gay is a matter of only a few months. I don’t know, perhaps I got a gay intoxication, but it is something that then passes, I sleep a bit over, then I wake up and I’m straight, it is not that it should last a lifetime, now it is as you say, ok, but now, but tomorrow it’s another day. Do you understand what I mean? 
What should I do? Should I look for a guy and all the trouble that comes with it, and why? To realize in a month that gay drunkenness has passed and that in the meantime I have been thrown into a huge mess? No! I say that passes, maybe not immediately, but according to me it will pass, because I don’t feel such things so strongly every day, we have talked a lot about. I look at guys, and that’s fine, but I don’t become crazy for them, I told you about the gym, but even straight guys do those things, that is a way to joke, to play. You see serious sex everywhere, I like gay games, ok, so what? It’s nice, I have to say, yes even on a sexual level, but I think those things are nice even for straight guys, because you understand a lot of things about gays, but about straight guys you don’t really understand anything, because straight guys are much freer with gay things than you think. At least the guys I know. 
I told you about Alfred, a guy 100% heterosexual, but do you think that he don’t even have fun with gay things? In my opinion, he has fun with gay sex exactly as I do but on someone like him what doubts can you have? Is he gay? Did you understand what I mean? You schematize too much, but the boundaries in these things are vague, instead you stick labels at full blast. I’m fine with Alfred, I know he’s straight, but I’m fine with him, while I cannot stand at all pansy guys. That is, I think that a straight man (someone like me, because I still feel hetero in spite of your evidences) can also have some gay fun. Why not? I don’t know, but I think that with a man I would not feel at ease, I had the fantasy and more than once, but I know that I would not be well, that I would not be able to live with a man, but because shouldn’t I joke with friends? It’s just about making fun, even on a sexual level, but why, the straight guys don’t do these things? But they do it a lot and they are straight! 
Project, honestly I’m not too convinced that the things you say are all right, ok, most probably are, but basically, I don’t say that I don’t feel absolutely gay, maybe a little yes, let’s say 70%, now as now, however, for me, it could be quite another thing. Shame on you! I would twist your neck! You started putting a lot of doubts in my head and those doubts are working on me and just put me in crisis. But I can’t really read the things I do as strictly gay things. You can say that I don’t want to accept such an explication, but it is not true, because I gave you reason to 70%, but you have to leave a 30% for different explications. 
Then you put into my head all those stupid things about loneliness. I’m alone, ok! Yes, I don’t have a girl and I don’t care to find one but I don’t care even to find a guy. But why? A guy my age cannot just think about having fun? Do you mean I have to put myself together forcibly with someone else? But who said it! I’m fine like that, I don’t care about the dreams of others, I now want to enjoy my life! But, Project, apart from these things, the fact that straight guys make some gay fun is very true. You don’t know these things because you talk only with gay guys but talking with straight guys you could realize that certain behaviors that you consider gay, in fact, are not just gay! Straight people are much more uninhibited in gay things than you imagine. Perhaps such things are not things of love, maybe they are things of sex only, but nevertheless they do those things, and they remain 100% hetero. It is not true that the two worlds are so divided. 
Woe to you if you tell me that this is a reasoning completely devoid of foundation, because it’s a serious reasoning and I think it deserves the utmost attention. I’m not looking for a loophole anyway, if I have to adapt to the idea of being 100% gay, well, I will adapt! But I think that my reading of things has a very serious basis. I’ll be waiting for you in the chat tonight and I want to see how you will handle it! Seriously, but is it possible that someone like me should end up 100% gay? No! In my opinion it is not like that!
G.

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If you like, you can join the discussion on this post on Gay Project Forum: http://gayprojectforum.altervista.org/T-gay-games-of-straight-guys

GET TO THE AWARENESS OF BEING A GAY IN LOVE AND REDISCOVER SEXUALITY

Hello Project, 
I am a guy 19 years old, people tell me I’m beautiful, I don’t know if it is true, but certainly the girls buzz around me a lot and court me, we can say that I have always considered myself as a hetero, a bit just to say so, in the sense that it’s the girls who run after me and not me who I run after them, however, I had never had the idea of being gay until a few months ago. All my friends see that girls come after me and that I joke a lot with them and consider myself totally straight. 
In reality, I have always been little interested in sex. I honestly don’t think I have physical problems, but for me masturbation has always been just half a thing. I’ve never used gay porn, I really didn’t even think about it, while I used straight porn a lot and looking at the girl and trying to see myself in the guy’s place, I could easily get an erection too, and I also came to ejaculation without problems, but in the end I still had a strange feeling, that is, I told myself that if sex is this, all in all, it is a very relative thing.
On the other hand, I liked very much to think of tenderness with a girl, of cuddling, but not of really sexual things, I thought that then such things would come by themselves and in the end I didn’t worry too much. With one of the girls I found myself in situations where you could get to have sex very easily because she would be there for sure but I left with an excuse and, frankly, I didn’t regret it.
This seems the story of a heterosexual disinterested in sex, speaking clearly, I had come to masturbate once a week and even less but not forcing myself, just spontaneously. Then, in January of last year, as the final exam was approaching, I began to study with a group of friends: two guys and a girl who all lived in my area. The girl had a boyfriend who had nothing to do with us and we can say that with the girl we were only fellow students, in the sense that when we didn’t see each other to study she would go with her boyfriend, we three guys usually spent together also our free time.
In practice a beautiful friendship of us three guys: I (Joseph), John and Andrew (fantasy names). John often spoke of girls, Andrew never. At the time I didn’t give any meaning to these things, for me they were just friends. We spent also three days together in the mountains and nothing happened. We studied together, we went out on Sunday and Saturday nights, but everything ended up there. One day, a girl who was not of our group had tried with me but in a way a bit strange for our standards, in practice flirting a bit, which is something that I never endured and I had left leaving her open-mouthed. This fact, but above all the idea of being, if you like, “boarded”, had upset me a bit.
In the evening I call Andrew I tell him that there is something I would like to talk about with him but there are my parents at home and the speech is only vaguely mentioned then we pass on msn and we stay chatting until very late, over two o’clock in the night. Andrew didn’t answer me in the usual banal way but tried to make me think, didn’t advise me and didn’t suggest anything but I knew he was listening to me. I was very happy and in the end I told him very clear: “Talking to you tonight made me feel good, I really needed it!” He replied: ” I was pleased too, it almost never happens to talk so!” Then we wished goodnight. I felt in a very beautiful euphoric state, I had discovered that I had a real friend with whom I could talk about everything, one willing to listen to me for hours. In short, I began to think that friendship was really an important thing to get better.
In the following days I noticed that Andrew of our conversation hadn’t said anything to anyone and I enjoyed it very much. Then we started to talk often on msn, I was waiting to see when he arrived online and if by chance someone else called me I didn’t even answer, I was very well with him.
One Sunday that my parents were not home, I ask him if he wants to speak in voice on msn, he says “Yes, of course.” I lie on the bed with the headphones on my head and we start talking and there something unexpected happens, that is, I begin to get an erection, I think it is because I have not masturbated for a long time and I don’t give weight to the thing, the conversation proceeds and I wonder what Andrew would think if he knew I’m in that state, but at that time I didn’t suspect at all that he had something to do with my getting an erection.
 A few days later we are again in a voice-chat and I get another erection even if this time I had masturbated in the usual “poor-hetero” way just the day before. I like Andrew’s voice, I like his breaks, I feel like I’m almost courted by Andrew, but very differently from how girls do, it’s all extremely slow, then I think about Andrew’s smile that is very sweet and while he talks I let myself go with the imagination, I think I would like to be in intimacy with him, who for me is becoming a very important person, I stay in erection all the time we are on msn but the thing seems natural to me, when we say goodbye it is very late and I go to bed, I masturbate thinking of Andrew leaving the fantasy completely free and there I discover a new world! I live masturbation with a total involvement, something that I never thought could happen to me and I say to myself: “So this is the true sexuality! Now it makes sense! I’m gay!”
Believe me, Project, a discovery like this has not in any way challenged me, I told myself that I fell in love with Andrew and that I absolutely want to be with him. The fears are coming later, but not the fear of being gay, I didn’t have it, but the fear of losing Andrew, of putting him in trouble, Project, I loved him at all levels. Since then he has become the only object of my masturbation fantasies and I have rediscovered the sense of sexuality, but there is a “but”, what should I do with Andrew? How should I behave? And now, after two months, I’m still at this point. In Andrew’s life, as far as I know, there have been no heterosexual adventures but neither anything that would ever make me think he was gay, just nothing.
We continue to hear each other very often, I almost always call him, but if I don’t call him, after two days he calls me and we are on msn for hours, often joking and talking about nothing or just exchanging smiles! Now I feel in a stalemate, now I know I’m gay and it makes me immensely pleased because I finally know that my affectivity and my sexual instincts are just those, but I want Andrew, if I had the impression that he was annoyed or maybe didn’t want to get too involved I would not insist but I don’t have this impression, in some of his hesitations I see that he also is interested and is interested a lot, I don’t know how, whether as a friend or because maybe he fell in love with me too, but I think if he had other people on his mind he would not lose his evenings talking with me. Our (also his) in a sense is the way of making of lovers. What am I doing, Project? I would be led to bypass the deadlock and tell him exactly how things are, but I have a damn fear of losing him permanently, that is, I wouldn’t want to lose him for any reason but I would also like him to be mine in every sense! I feel that there is something important between us!
If you want to publish this mail, the names have been changed, and then I think that things like those that happened to me may have happened to other guys.
Joseph
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If you like, you can join the discussion on this post on Gay Project Forum: http://gayprojectforum.altervista.org/T-get-to-the-awareness-of-being-a-gay-in-love-and-rediscover-sexuality

HOW TO UNDERSTAND THAT YOU ARE NOT GAY

Hello project,
I am a 23 year old guy who doesn’t know what to think about himself. For some time now the idea of being homosexual is wandering in my mind. I’m a bit effeminate and I must say that I cannot deny that I have some homosexual drive (and perhaps also a gay love) but the problem is that I’m not sure, if I have to mentally define the person that suits to me defining also his/her sex, I have many difficulties, I had a guy with whom there was an intense “friendship” (also resulted in sex) ended because he didn’t accept what he felt for me (while I would have done everything to be with him in an official way), I was there ready to do my coming out when, however, reasoning on (although at the moment I had no obstacle in front of me) I decided that it was not the time and that I had to keep living in uncertainty. 
But a year and a half ago, through a friend of mine of the university, I met a girl and more and more started to feel for her a new affection, an affection that grew to become love, a beautiful love, complete, sexually satisfying. But in me I felt that even though I was very well with her my past (the phantom of the story lived with the guy) could ruin everything, and furthermore I must add that when I felt anguish for that event I also experienced strong homosexual drives (I masturbated thinking alternately of my girlfriend and of that guy) I alternated moments of serenity with myself at times when I was (and am even now) restless. The restlessness became stronger and stronger when it was becoming increasingly possible that my girlfriend and I (she is still my girlfriend) went to live together in a new city, just she and I, and I had not revealed my ghost to her. 
So I started to think that it was time for me to tell her the truth and so it was also because the guilt was now wearing me down, I tell her everything in tears with the fear of losing her (even now the only idea of losing her makes me feel bad). Yet it is time for me to put a point to my life and finish my limbo, but understanding is difficult, you tell me that masturbation is the strongest element to understand my tendency, well now I cannot have sexual fantasies and, believe me, the most frustrating thing is that even if I have an erection while I masturbate I have no erotic thoughts while I do it, I also try to focus on one or the other sex but if I come it’s practically by inertia. On the contrary I must say that I still make love with my girlfriend, it is one of the things that manage to calm my anxiety and not only because I feel less gay but because I am with her, her hug, and kisses, her caresses calm me down and make me feel loved and happy. With her I have reached for a year the ataraxia of the senses, I felt complete, satisfied, happy. 
Now her presence makes me serene, quiet, I speak with her, I laugh with her, I exchange cuddles with her and make love (nice, tender) with her, and nevertheless the fact of not being able to give me a “label”, to put a point to my sexual orientation makes me restless, on the one hand I would strongly like to be gay, selfishly and paradoxically I find it easier than being in my limbo. I would also like to be heterosexual, but also here for a mental process of acceptance of my homosexual part I try to leave out the hetero side focusing on the homo one, then there is the problem of the bond with my girlfriend, I really think I love her, I miss her when she’s not there and when I’m sick she’s the person I want most next to me. 
The idea of being able to leave her hurts me and the idea of being able to share her with others hurts me even more, I love her viscerally, possessively (even if I have to say not morbidly), she knows that there is a part of me that would strongly be gay and yet at the very idea of having to lose her I could paradoxically feel more discomfort than if I discovered to be homosexual in itself, it is such a strong love for a woman, so visceral and sexual at the same time that, if I have to think about love with someone, she is certainly at the center of everything. 
Apart from the emotional component (quite confused since always) because I have always been surrounded by so many girls and a few male figures of reference (I lost my father at age 8) and because I have few male friends (not for fear of being able to fall in love but because I can’t stand the machismo of many guys), I feel my few male friends as really friends because they have a strong sensibility like me. Things are even stranger on a physical level. 
Female breasts turn me on, touching them, licking them, griping them, etc. and I like to explore with my fingers the female genitals, I really like anal and oral sex, while I practice less the vaginal one for practical reasons (and here you will blame me for sure, I don’t use condoms and I prefer to “come” inside) and also for reasons of sexual desire (I have the penis a bit small and not very big in diameter, and therefore I feel more excitement in the anal canal because it is smaller). As for the guys, instead, 
I have to say I tried to have passive anal sex (I tried only but I didn’t really) and I have to say I didn’t feel pleasure, I don’t enjoy anal self-stimulation (the feeling of pleasure is very minimal indeed is definitely less strong than the “normal” feeling), the only pleasure I felt (and that comes close to the feelings I feel when I’m with my girlfriend) is to suffer fellatio, I practiced fellatio but it didn’t excite me much, the naked body of a man doesn’t really excite me but the sex between two men excites me. In all this there is my difficulty in physically falling in love with a person or rather I am struck not by the beauty but by the sensitivity of people. 
The sexual fantasies too, let’s say that it is very conditioned not so much by morality but by the fact that I don’t have real erotic fantasies (it must be said that I generally have difficulty imagining anything), I practice sex frequently, but after I have been cuddled for a while (at least when I’m with my girlfriend), with that guy I have to say it was more an outburst in response to the frustrations of the situation (all obviously hidden) and sometimes the excitement of the forbidden. The partial (because at the time I had no qualms) repulsion, and the love I felt for that guy, led me to live the thing with increased feelings. 
I had the same sensations magnified at the same time with a girl, now with my current girlfriend, but what I miss is the sense of complicity that you have between guys and male hugs (but here I must say that I didn’t have the paternal figure for all the years of adolescence and puberty and this increases the decompensation and the lack). Sorry if I was very long and very paranoiac, I’m one of those who think a lot even when not needed but who have the habit (unfortunately) of getting tired at some point of doing things rashly (and here I’m afraid to declare myself homosexual, simply because I got tired of feeling bad).
p. s. Another important thing: my family and some friends of mine know my doubts and I had the impression that none of them accepted me, but they often tell me “I don’t care what you are, but your being well”. I conclude by thanking you.
p.s. the mail is also my msn contact in case you want to talk to me live (and I would) add me. Thanks again.
 
The following is my answer.
 
Hello, I read your email twice, but frankly I too would have doubts in considering you gay. You have built an affective relationship with your girlfriend that seems really deep and you live with her a satisfying sexuality, which would be almost impossible for a gay. You may have had gay instincts in the past, you can have them even now and you may have them in the future, but frankly assuming you are really bisexual, possible but not too likely hypothesis, the impression is that heterosexuality is still clearly prevalent. 
You say you fell in love with a guy once and you would have done everything for him but when the thing was over, you didn’t find another guy but a girl and with that girl you lived and live now a relationship of sexual tenderness, but as you describe it, it looks like a relationship that has a remarkable affective depth. I wouldn’t even worry so much about the fact that masturbation sometimes has gay orientation because it doesn’t seem related to a true emotional dimension but to other motivations. 
I have some doubts because you say that you miss male hugs, which makes me think that you are not wholly heterosexual. But, let’s be clear, a guy’s sexuality cannot be pigeonholed but it’s what it is. It is all about not considering it anxiously, living it in a true emotional dimension and, from what I read, your true emotional dimension is clearly hetero. Never create too many problems in terms of sexual practices, when you are two and you get along there are never problems. 
On one point, however, you absolutely must be careful, especially for the type of sexuality that you practice, I talk about prevention! I tell you for you and your girlfriend, doing the test is easy and then if it’s negative and if you have not had intercourses with other people in the last six months you can be 100% free and serene. If you like, we can deepen the speech on msn, I added you on msn, however this is my contact [omissis] You can call me when you like “even if you don’t see me online” because on msn, to be able to devote myself to chats with guys without receiving too many calls, I must set to “invisible” i.e. I never appear as online even if I’m online almost from three in the afternoon to two in the night and often beyond. If by any chance you don’t find me, because maybe I had to go out, don’t worry, the opportunity to meet in chat will not fail anyway. 
A hug. 
Project
 
CHAT WITH MARK
Mark writes: hello Project are you there?
Project writes: Hello! Nice to meet you! I read your mail
Mark writes: my pleasure, first of all thank you for answering me so quickly
Project writes: Don’t mention it! In fact I was late because today there was a chat storm
Mark writes: I guess, there are many people who have problems of this kind, sentimental I mean 
Project writes: yes, look, even working 10 hours a day I can barely keep up with everything
Mark writes: anyway your email has been very important. It made me understand things that I wouldn’t have understood by myself
Project writes: Look, in the matter concerning sexuality the fundamental thing is to never be taken by anxiety, not to test yourself just to test your own reactions, don’t think that there are a priori definitions to which we must correspond, the fundamental thing is serenity, true sexuality has only one enemy and it is anxiety
Mark writes: well then I must struggle hard because I have always been anxious especially in emotional ties, I tie myself with very few people because the biggest fear for me is that of abandonment
Project writes: not only for you, I would say that for all serious guys it is so. Mark, as I told you in the mail, what you write doesn’t have much of gay 
Mark writes: many people tell me so, in fact they say that during this period I have accentuated the gay component of my being, leaving the straight one and I admit that I did it and in my mail I concentrated all my doubts, while I didn’t talk about the certainties for example that while I was with that guy I felt the need for physical sex with a women and even when I masturbated.
Project writes: this fact only confirms that, if you are not 100% straight, the gay part is however clearly the minority share. But which gay guy who has a boyfriend would masturbate thinking of a girl?
Mark writes: or things such as the fact that I don’t live anxiously the friendship with a gay indeed I have to say that I don’t feel anxiety at all because many of the gays whom I know are serious, I really like talking to them but I don’t feel any sexual drive towards them.
Project writes: this is a further confirmation that there is very little gay
Mark writes: then add, in the relationship I had with the guy, the component of the lack of the male reference figure, at that time I had replaced it with him
Project writes: how old was the guy?
Mark writes: he was my age but was much more mature than me
Project writes: I don’t see him very much as a substitute figure anyway if he had had  10/15 years more than you, perhaps it could have been still possible.
Mark writes: the problem is that in him I saw first and foremost and strongly tried to save the friendship that bound us because we began to talk and to get closer precisely because after a friend of mine had lost his father I relived what I had passed, the trauma of abandonment for death and I looked for a masculine figure that could somehow act also as a brother (I don’t even have older brothers) 
Project writes: if this guy, being a coetaneous, had a reassuring value for you, at the limit. . . as a brother ok it’s possible.
Mark writes: I then add that I came from a period when I was feeling emotionally quite alone and that the more I talked to him the more the desire to end up together came out, while interest in him was growing up at the beginning only at emotional level and then also at sexual one, I realized that he was becoming a reference model almost absolute for me in the sense that I wanted to be like him, I almost venerated him
Project writes: but you say that for this guy you have felt the emotional and even sexual interest growing up, but how did you realize that for you he was not just a friend? Did it all come spontaneous or did you feel it strange and maybe you tried to reject it?
Mark writes: reject it no, I would say that I followed the evolution of my emotions, the desire to hug him or rather to make him embrace me, to be pampered at first a bit like a loving father do with his child, only after I unconsciously started to feel it as something sexual, when I realized that nobody mentally managed to get close to me as he did, I thought he really understood me, then even if I had strong male friendships, his friendship was linked to the fact that he accepted me as I was (only later he tried to change me)
Project writes: in what sense?
Mark writes: in the sense that I have some skeletons in the closet, one of these is that I come from a family of those that are object of suspect and this for me was always a very big shame, when I told him this thing, he accepted me, he also accepted what I called diversity, a point of distance from the affection of the other people (because since always even if my family is questionable, or rather doesn’t have a good reputation, I have always been a type who saw in the degree and in education the goal to be reached in order to wash myself the shame of being the son of questionable people. He accepted me, in fact he found me nice, interesting, sensitive and at the same time free from mental schemes, almost a progressive. I felt accepted and somehow linked to this person who had managed to go beyond what many people unfortunately couldn’t overcome. You can understand that having a person who finally made me feel good and with whom I felt myself could only please me. For a guy who has always lived his sexuality related to affectivity, it was natural that the sincere affection I felt for him could turn into love
Project writes: The thing was born in a true emotional climate
Mark writes: yes
Project writes : a question, but before this guy how did you perceive your sexuality? That is, has the gay attraction begun with him or there have been previous episodes with other guys?
Mark writes: please, define attraction for me
Project writes: did you try, before him, sexual urges and strong affective interest for other guys?
Mark writes: mmm. . . no affective interest, sexual impulses like the desire to kiss or embrace or make love with a man… yes … or better no
Project writes: I didn’t understand
Mark writes: affectively I have never felt bonded to other guys if not for normal friendship, and I not even felt sexual impulses such as wanting to hug, kiss, shake hands and so on for a guy, no… never 
Project writes: when you met that guy how old were you?
Mark writes: 22 or rather 21
Project writes: and up to 21/22 years your masturbation ad been exclusively in hetero key?
Mark writes: yes
Project writes: this is a very important thing that still confirms the idea that there is very little gay 
Mark writes: I must say I also tried to masturbate thinking of a guy then, but I didn’t get excited
Project writes: these are all elements that go in the same direction and at 22 sexuality is already well defined and was totally straight
Mark writes: but I must say that some think that I was a bit effeminate from the beginning and that’s why I felt the anxiety of being gay, anyway never repressed, sometimes I tried to force myself concentrating on guys and trying to enjoy such fantasies but the only thing that I achieved at most was that objectively the guy seemed nice to me, but as for sensations nothing at all
Project writes: very clear
Mark writes: that is, I made myself doubt because in my kind ways and in my privacy some saw the characteristics of the gays
Project writes: yes, okay but the speech doesn’t make sense
Mark writes: I know. But you know how it is, tell it today and tell it tomorrow…
Project writes: a gay is a guy who feels emotional and sexual attraction to guys and being gay has nothing to do with the fact that people expect you to be so
Mark writes: I know
Project writes: it is something that strictly affects the emotional and sexual sphere and not the social one
Mark writes: then there is the fact that if they asked me if I was gay, a bit for challenge and a little because I didn’t like to answer questions that I felt intimate, I answered “for the moment no, maybe then who knows”, but this is not the important thing, anyway I have always experienced homosexuality as something that doesn’t frighten me and prejudices frighten me even less.
Project writes: yes ok, but don’t be afraid of homosexuality, having gay friends and so on doesn’t mean to be gay
Mark writes: among other things to defuse the homosexuality I have to say that I often find a serious gay guy much more like me than a macho but I don’t want to fall into the gay-artist paradigm
Project writes: just like many gay guys get along well with their straight friends but not with some gay friends
Mark writes: there are gay guys with whom I can talk freely about my true political interests, art and history
Project writes: ok, let’s go back to the guy, so in such a serious emotional climate, you who were not afraid of homosexuality have come to a sexual contact with him, ok, and did such a contact create problems, feelings of guilt or things like that?
Mark writes: the feelings of guilt were born only because then I put myself with a girl and for more than a year I kept the thing hidden.
Project writes: feelings of guilt towards the guy or the girl?
Mark writes: towards her, the girl, the guy is a nasty born, damn him, excuse the outburst
Project writes: why did the relationship with that guy change?
Mark writes: but I gave him so much, he didn’t accept what he felt for me, but I was willing
Project writes: Do you mean he felt hetero?
Mark writes: yes and no
Project writes: I didn’t understand
Mark writes: he said he was straight, I don’t have the gayradar so I cannot tell if he was really gay I just know that he felt much more revulsion than me, rather I have to say the truth, perhaps he instilled in me the feeling of disgust at the time for what was or seemed to be really inside me, because to self-convince that he was not gay he wanted me to not to be either  
Project Writes: who of the two led the other slowly towards gay sexuality?
Mark writes: we got there together, I was the most uninhibited in the sense that I was not interested in the judgment of others nor if I could do something that I would have been blamed for, I wanted to live in serenity the affection I felt for him and that’s why I had no longer moral problems
Project writes: in essence it was a sexual drift not foreseen but accepted, at least by you and less than him, more than a real sexual interest
Mark writes: then as his frustration with what was happening had bothered me a bit and anyway I felt that in our relationship I lacked the female physicality (I told you that even if I don’t consider sex too much important, I’m not asexual and I live platonic love up to a certain point) I started to have real relationships with girls, in particular with one with whom, in addition to feeling physically attracted, I noticed a certain mental understanding, but always thinking that if he had wanted to take the big step with me I would have followed him, then it must be said that a bond as strong as that I had with him I didn’t want it to end, so, after a soft aut aut (like “if you go with that girl our relationship will inevitably change, you will neglect me and I will have to turn away from you”) I could not think of a life without his presence, I interrupted my search for “sexual” and “affective” pleasure with the girls, dedicating myself to him, accepting toads like: “Wait for me I must first try with girls” or “We must stay only friends” and then in October he started to break away from me, he said I was sticky and stressed, so we decided only to stay friends, but in December, after he deceived me (in the sense that I wanted him to be present at my confirmation, he promised it but didn’t do it), I asked him for explanations and he told me that he didn’t want to be my best friend anymore, but that if I wanted we could be just friends of a group. I had sacrificed so much for him and also inhibited my hetero drives because of him and started a psychological therapy of self-acceptance of being homosexual, nevertheless I decided to permanently break the relationship with him and now we still barely say goodbye to each other
Project writes: but also all this story seems rather an experience “to try” in a pleasant affectionate climate, at least at the beginning, of course, that then took a “very relatively” sexual meaning
Mark writes: later I started to deepen the friendship with the girl, until  this afternoon when I told her that, even in my identity crises, even as a gay, I could never live without having her close to me as my girlfriend and that to her (always in the grip of my crisis) I was giving myself completely and she had the power to determine my life. I know I have exaggerated, life is mine and I have to hold on to it, but the only idea that I can lose such a rare good (as she is) makes me live the tension of not having a future. Today I also said to myself out loud “I’m gay” just because she told me that in order to start our relationship again she wanted me to clarify what I was and because I’m too honest with her I said I was gay because I don’t want self-deceive in the sense that I don’t want to be heterosexual if I’m not but at the same time I could not tell you that I could be “gay convinced”
Project writes: I would say certainly you are not
Mark writes: believe me, sometimes these days, I wanted to be gay because, excuse frankness, but I find being gay easier than being bisexual, and it’s paradoxical, certainly this is because usually one tries to take refuge in bisexuality to hide his homosexuality, but I wanted to shelter my sexuality in homosexuality
Project writes: direct question: but now is your masturbation totally dedicated to your girlfriend?
Mark writes: mmm. . . yes I would say yes, when I masturbated thinking of him it was only because I wanted to recover the feelings I felt for him and if lately I tried to excite myself thinking of guys I did it only to understand what I was, but I have to say something, 70% of my masturbation I do it to download the anxiety, I find it a good anti-stress
Project writes: you said it in the mail
Mark writes: what? Ah yes I remember, yes yes, not because I don’t have a sexual desire, is that masturbation is relaxing and often has no subject, it’s just a mechanical act (degrading I know)
Project writes: can you find a motivation for your masturbation only physical and without fantasies?
Mark writes: it relaxes me, I’ve always lived it like that, you know some say an apple a day keeps the doctor away, for me masturbating every now and then is a release from stress that can be university, problems with the girl, with the family, and I come to the absurd that I can even masturbate while I study for an exam, it’s strange, I know
Project writes: well in a similar situation there are few sexual fantasies
Mark writes: in fact, 70% of my masturbation is linked to the simple opportunity to do it without even a sexual desire, simply because handling my dick makes me feel more cheerful after and relaxed. 30% is instead related to what I do with my girlfriend and if you don’t mind listening to descriptions I tell you that often when I do it thinking of her in the end the prevailing idea is that it would have been more satisfying if she had been there. That’s all. Anxiety is perhaps the element that pushes me more to think of labeling me and doesn’t allow me to live my relationship serenely. 
Project writes: I can tell you something
Mark writes: tell me
Project writes: namely that if before, only from the email, I had thought that you could be bisex with strong hetero propensity, after talking with you in chat I’m going to convince that you have nothing gay, that is to date you have a 70% neutral masturbation and totally straight for the rest, so no trace of gay fantasies, before the story with the guy you were 100% hetero and history with the guy doesn’t even seem a sexual story but only a friendly relationship, and maybe a need of affection that has sexualized, but I don’t find the typical way of reacting the gay guys, your affectivity is now totally polarized on your girl and from what you say it seems just (and I see no reason to question it) that you are satisfied even on the sexual level of the relationship, drawing conclusions, apart from the anxiety, I see nothing real that leads me to think that you are homosexual even at the minimum level
Mark writes: well, yes
Project writes: you have just the way of behaving of a typical straight guy and a straight guy not frustrated. I don’t see doubts of sexual orientation in objective terms, I don’t want to diminish things that may seem to you to be problematic but being gay with the things you live now but also with the story of the guy as you lived it, has very little to do
Mark writes: however there is another thing that I have always in mind about my sexuality since I lived the story with the guy and it is that I have gay friends, ok, but if I had to see something sexual between two guys, the memory would bring me to what I’ve done and I’d feel (now, after I engaged with my girlfriend) a bit strange, sometimes, rarely, and it depends not so much on the gesture but on the sexual tension that is felt between the two people, I can also get hard, but it also happens if I see something sexual between two normal hetero partners or two lesbians, what excites me is not what I’m seeing but the feeling of sexual tension that I perceive between the two protagonists
Project writes: did you ever use pornography to masturbate?
Mark writes: yes, but it’s not a very developed side.
Project writes: only straight porn?
Mark writes: to test what I felt with that guy I also saw some sequences of gay porn but for example the naked body of the man or the man who masturbates had no effect on me, I saw them at most (because anyway a side that distinguishes me is curiosity) because I found the whole very strange. I also saw orgies and there I sincerely closed the porn felling badly disgusted, not so much for the protagonists but because I don’t think I’m the guy for the ménage a trois or even more  
Project writes: but you know pornography with real sexuality has very little to do, anyway I’m more and more convinced that you have nothing to do with gays, in the things you say there is nothing that makes me ring the bell
Mark writes: yes, in fact, I am enough anti-pornography because the porn gives an image of sex and love pretty bad, I’m not a puritan and I think you’ve got it but I’m a bit romantic
Project writes: those gays who in practice don’t have the opportunity to find a guy use a lot of pornography, it is a heavy conditioning and not perceived as such and leads them, especially the younger guys, to an imitative sexuality and not at all emotional. There is one thing of what you say that strikes me a lot and I really appreciate it and it is the fact that in all cases for you sexuality and affection have come together, there was never dissociation, which is instead a very common feature, that is, in what you say there is a serious way of conceiving sexuality, which is the right one, that is the affective one
Mark writes: I am not puritan, I have had sex without love, but now, after my first sexual experience made without love, I link indissolubly the emotional sphere to the sexual one
Project writes: Mark, I think that you can really live your heterosexuality without any problem
Mark writes: thank you very much
Project writes: I tell you and I am convinced of it Mark writes: and thanks again for the chat
Project writes: sometimes I talk with guys who want to be told that they are straight, but in fact they are not, for you is precisely the objectivity that sets for a clear hetero orientation.
Mark writes: I needed this conversation
Project writes: so be quiet!
Mark writes: ok, I will be one of the few cases of people who want to be told that they are gay
Project writes: don’t see ghosts that are not there! . . . but you didn’t even want to hear that, if you allow me, this discourse didn’t help clarify things about sexual orientation that were already clear but to put aside anxiety and hear a voice different from yours, basically a confirmation
Mark writes: well yes, I must admit, I wanted to hear from a gay (who better than him!) what I could be and in the choice I chose one of those who seemed to say things very directly
Project writes: I thank you, I’m glad you think so! 
Mark writes: well, I must say that before I contacted you I read many of your posts and in many of them I saw that you used to speak strongly and I’ll tell you that the fact that you don’t use too much the category of bisexuality made me lean for you, just because I knew that you would have been very direct and hard if necessary, or better rather objective than hard, not politically correct.
Project writes: I tell you, the real bisexuals are not many, they are not as numerous as gays, there are bisexuals with periodic trend, i.e. people who for years have been perfect heterosexuals and who become perfect gays for years and then change again. Contemporary or intermediate bisexuality often exists at transitory level in the sense that you see it in the phases of increasing awareness of being gay, we can say even in full adult age if a guy recognizes that he is gay late, but lasts 6 months, a year at most and then sexuality polarizes. Except for very particular situations, at your age, sexuality is already polarized for a while. Of course, being bisexual is much more complicated than being gay. I have seen bisexuals with periodic trend that in hetero phase got married and had children, then passed in the gay phase, they left the family and went with a man who then they left, years later, to go with another girl, these things are really destructive, but they are quite rare and you have nothing to do with bisexuals.
Mark writes: yes, in fact, my fear was just that in being in the middle I would not have created a stability for me but above all I feared to hurt other people
Project writes: an intermediate bisexual is a perpetual dissatisfied and he would never say what you say about your girlfriend, at least not so convincingly. A bisexual with periodic trend lives very bad periods of transition and has long periods of stability lasting for years and in those periods he is or clearly straight or clearly gay. Frankly everything you say is typically hetero both at affective and sexual level, so, putting anxiety apart (anxiety leads to fear of ghosts that don’t exist), you have absolutely no reason for uncertainty
Mark writes: thank you very much, you have been very helpful and if my experience can help someone else you can post it in the forum
Project writes: tell me what I can publish and I will gladly do it
Mark writes: there are no names or places, neither in the email nor in the conversation, if you want to publish this part too, the important thing is that you change the name.
Project writes: of course!
Mark writes: after all, it is a beautiful love story with my girlfriend, and also about a betrayed friendship.
Project writes: yes and I think it can have a value for several people.
Mark writes: in the end helping someone is always a good thing
Project writes: thanks for the permission, it will take a little time to rearrange everything but I will certainly do it shortly
Mark writes: and I especially appreciate you, you’re really a great person
Project writes: this flatters me!
Mark writes: and if I knew you in person almost I would kneel in a sign of reverence
Project writes: but come on! Don’t tease me!
Mark writes: believe me I know how difficult it is for gay people to understand and accept their homosexuality I told you I have gay friends and I see them, and a person who can help to facilitate everything can only do well because the family can fail understanding, and it is quite common, I thank my family, perhaps my parents have many faults but as soon as I have confessed my doubts they have only ascertained that I was doing good for myself without mental conditionings, the only thing I heard was not to feel ashamed for what I was and for whatever I had done and I must also thank my girlfriend, she with her love waits patiently for me to escape from this impasse
Project writes: a sign that really she loves you! Mark writes: I found a jewel of rare beauty and the thing is reciprocated she is a great person that must take on these thoughts. Project, I know you have other people to help, so now I leave you Project writes: then good luck and above all I wish you to be able to live your heterosexuality with your girlfriend in the most beautiful way possible! A hug Mark, happy to meet you !!
Mark writes: thank you very much, happy to meet you !
Project writes: Thanks to you!
Mark writes: I will come every now and then to visit you on the forum
Project writes: it would be a very welcome thing! You’re always very welcome!
Mark writes: yes also because I have to see if my story will be useful to someone
Project writes: I really think so!
Mark writes: Good night Project!
Project writes: Good night Mark!
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If you like, you can join the discussion on this post on Gay Project Forum: http://gayprojectforum.altervista.org/T-how-to-understand-that-you-are-not-gay