Reactive anxiety

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

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

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

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

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

Anxiety and homophobia

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

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

Anxiogenous situations for a gay

Some particular situations may be particularly anxiogenous for gays:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Internalized homophobia and gay discomfort

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Interacting with an anxious subject

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

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

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

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

Gay sexuality and anxiety

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

1) Anxiety resulting from moments of uncertainty about sexual orientation

2) Anxiety from presumed inadequacy

3) Anxiety from problematisation of sexuality

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

Anxiety arising from moments of uncertainty about sexual orientation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Anxiety from presumed inadequacy

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

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

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

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

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

Friendship and sexual confidence

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

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

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

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

Anxiety and problematisation of sexuality

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

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

How to overcome the anxieties connected to sexuality

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

1) Realize to live in an anxiety-provoking situation

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

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

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

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


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Hello Project, it’s about a month that I discovered Gay Project. I come back there every day even several times. I had thought about writing to you but then I didn’t. But I read your post about unconscious conditioning and I thought about breaking the ice. I am young but not so young guy, I am 28 years old and I feel deeply conditioned, up to my soul. Let’s say I’m an ex-straight, in the sense that up to 24 years I did everything to get pleased by the girls (a psychologist had told me that it depended on I don’t know what block, but let’s forget such things), total voluntary isolation from the other guys, I avoided them in order not to think about them sexually, and experienced even attempts to excite me with straight porn. I had (so to speak) even a girl, chosen among the less aggressive ones, I tried to caress her, to hold her hand, to do a little petting, I on her, but it was completely unnatural for me. I’ve never had any straight fantasies, absolutely never. 
As to masturbation, at the beginning, 13/14 years, I lived it very well because I didn’t understand what it was and then it was essentially physical, when I realized at the age of 15 that I could actually be gay, and even masturbating thinking of guys meant exactly being gay, total repression has begun also in that field. I went to church every day to try to make me the obligation not to think about sex and here what I’m about to write may seem strange because in the end I managed it, I stopped masturbating practically up to 25 years.
I read the things you wrote about masturbation and now I begin to understand, but until three years ago I was so conditioned, or rather I was so self-conditioned that I had even gone so far as to not have a sex life, and I was proud of it, it seemed to me that I had accomplished something very important, at school I was fine and also at the university. I understand in hindsight that it was all nonsense but at that time I felt like a superman. It went on like that until 24/25 years, when I took my specialistic graduation  in a scientific subject and in a brilliant way, now I work in the university and the prospects are good, indeed very good. I don’t say this to boast but to emphasize that, let’s say, the total repression of sexuality has also brought me some advantages, but I’m beginning to pay a very high price for it. I explain to you. After graduating, the professor asked me to follow a student who was preparing his thesis on a subject very close to the one I had studied for my thesis, and that guy was expected to graduate after six months, he was 24 and I 25, do you understand where the story is about to end up?
He had to do the thesis and I followed him, in a sense I had a power over him, we spent the days together in the laboratory because of the thesis and in the end we created a strange relationship between us, played only on the unsaid. I tried to keep myself as professional as possible and he treated me with a lot of respect, then it melted a bit. Being close to this guy was hell for me. I made sure to meet him only when there were people in the institute and I tried to keep at a distance in every possible way, I felt him as a danger to my stability, he was fascinating me day after day and sometimes embarrassing situations were created, don’t believe who knows what, just we exchanged looks, eyes in the eyes or smiles that you don’t explain. It was then that I tried with the girl and the experience was depressing.
Finally he graduated and for me it was just like a liberation, but it didn’t last long. Three days after graduation he called me back and told me that he would have liked to invite me to dinner, I said yes, before, then I tried an excuse and I didn’t go and the same evening he sent me a text message: ” Come on, don’t be afraid, don’t run away. . . ” This text has put on me a terrible state of agitation, I thought that he had misunderstood (understood) those moments of embarrassment and I couldn’t stand the idea that he could understand something of my sexual sphere. I didn’t answer him and the next day he came back with another text message: “I’ll go to university tomorrow when you go out. Don’t run away!” This message unnerved me but to tell the truth also awakened in me other feelings that I had never experienced. Nobody had ever been interested in me before for things that were not of work or study, but I knew very well that he was looking for me as a person, something beautiful, yes, but also shocking for me.
In short, it’s time to meet him, he asks me for a ride to his house, it never happened, but I say yes, he gets in the car, I’m afraid he asks me embarrassing questions but he does everything by himself, basically he tells me that he’s gay and he thinks he has fallen in love with me. I react badly and I beg him to come down, to let me go and never to call me again, he doesn’t seem to believe my words but I raise my voice and make him go down, he looks at me, raises his hands and doesn’t say a word. But I was upset because I had gone into erection while I was speaking with him.
Back home I threw myself under a frozen shower, then I thought about him and I didn’t know what to do but the erection came back and for the first time I didn’t try not to think about him, actually I thought about him with tenderness and sexual tenderness. I took the phone, I wanted to text him but I called him and we talked. I apologized and tried to prolong the conversation and so we were talking for almost two hours and I was always erect. I had told him nothing about my sexuality. We said goodbye with the promise that the following week we would go to get a pizza together.
Closed the phone I masturbated thinking of him. At the moment it was beautiful, then I felt very bad because I had interrupted my way of being that had lasted for many years and I had done it thinking of a guy, but on the other hand I was also aware that now there were no more doubts, I was gay, even though I knew very well even before.
We then went to get that blessed pizza and since then we meet systematically and have lunch together twice a week, now it has become a consolidated tradition. He told me about his life as a gay guy and I felt his life dangerously similar to mine, for several months I didn’t tell him anything about me then something happened that is quite a  declaration, he took my hand and held it between his and for a long time, after this gesture there was no need for anything else, according to him. We had known each other for almost two years, it was now at least time to kiss each other. I wanted it, but I feared I could lose control and then other thoughts came to my mind that are really absurd and unworthy of a person who thinks he’s intelligent. I wondered how it would have been with him sexually, I tried to imagine how he had it and I told myself that then maybe in practice it would have been quite different from what I imagined and I thought that something like this could have put everything in crisis.
Before reading your forum I had some strange ideas about gays, I thought maybe that I would have felt compelled by him to do things that I didn’t want to do. I told him no, that is that I didn’t want to have sex with him and I asked him to do the HIV test, we did it together and it was negative and I didn’t know what else to invent and I told him everything. He hugged me and told me that he loved me and that, for him, sex is not the most important thing.
Even here I felt a moment of relief but soon after the disappointment took over because I would have wanted a sexual insistence on his part, and I told him and now we are at this point that I feel completely stuck, I masturbate every day thinking of him but I don’t think I could ever have sex with him. I told him I would not like the penetration and he told me that these are things he never thought about. We talked about our sexual fantasies and they are very similar but for him the possibility of living his fantasies in couple evidently exists, for me it’s like thinking of overcoming a mountain, I feel stuck and I don’t even know what to do. I feel gay, yes, a step forward I did, I think and I want to make love with the guy I now consider my boyfriend and I love because he is a really wonderful guy, but I still have a damn fear of sex.
Let’s say that we are making small progress and that he has infinite patience and I will probably be able to unlock myself, in fact now I think and do things that even six months ago I would never have done or thought of. But if I hadn’t found him, for me sexuality would have been an uncharted territory in a definitive way and I still feel inside me so many resistances to live sexuality as you say.
The thing that I regret most is to make my boyfriend suffer because sometimes, in my opinion, he thinks that I don’t love him enough or perhaps that he is not able to involve me adequately. But just when I see him discouraged, I can take a few steps forward with sex and are things of an incredible sweetness. Project, if I had found Gay Project five years ago I probably would have lived in another way, better or worse I don’t know, but in another way, but now I want to regain my sexuality because a world that I would have never imagined is opening up in front of me. Project, I have reread this email and it is generic enough to save privacy, so if you think it can serve something, publish it. Thank you for what you unconsciously did for me too.

A hug. A.D.


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Hetero-gay relationship

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hetero-gay relationships and feminization of the gay

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

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

The seduction in the hetero-gay relationship

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

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

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

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

Evolution of hetero-gay relationships

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

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

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

1) Rob

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2) Tony

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

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

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

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

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

3) Andrew

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

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

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

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

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

Sexual behavior and perception of sexual Orientation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Birth of pornography

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gay-gay relationships

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


What follows is a text posted by a gay boy on the Italian Gay Project Forum, it is a very important document because it clearly summarizes all the perplexities that a relationship with a bisexual raises in a homosexual boy. This is not a strictly individual reaction. As I have seen through talks with dozens of gay guys who have had relationships with bisexual guys, the post below shows the reactions of almost all gays (especially those not openly out). 
Unfortunately, I feel compelled to face what is in my opinion one of the thorniest issues in the world of sexuality: bisexuality from a viewpoint of prejudices and marginalization. I know that now I will have the whole bisexual community against me, but I beg you to at least appreciate my good will to overcome my fears and prejudices on this issue, because, we must be sincere, unfortunately there are many people who harbor stereotypes about bisexuals, and for people I mean the vast majority of heterosexuals and even homosexuals. I beg you to identify yourself first of all in my point of view, in the way of thinking of a gay boy who, in his experience, has seen many discrepancies between words and deeds. I listen to your words, but for me the facts are fundamental, without facts and demonstrations, the words are zero for me, this in any case.
I’m here to write because I’ve had a lot of frequentations gone wrong with bisexual guys, who have deeply hurt me, and now I find it difficult to relate to other bisexual guys. Staying in couple with a bisexual for me means to be perpetually in competition with the other sex, with the awareness that, willy-nilly, a girl will always be privileged compared to me, because let’s face it, a girl is able to give a boy much more than what I can give him. With me a boy would have to contend with the judgment of the people and could not make a family, because two boys cannot procreate. Being with a girl, for equal sexual pleasure, would be much easier: acceptance, approval from parents, marriage, children, happy old age etc.. 
Anyway I find scary the number of bisexual adults who, despite being engaged / married are looking for a “sex friend” on the most popular entertainment sites without any obligation and with “the maximum discretion”. My first bisexual boyfriend had a female best friend who at the same time was his former girlfriend, and they often spent time together. This is something I didn’t bear (you’re thinking about a lack of trust, and maybe you’re right, but I need to write everything down otherwise it would not make sense to stay here writing this post taking time out of the study), and it was one of so many reasons why I decided to leave him. 
The second bisexual guy I was with gave me several stab wounds from this point of view: “Put your soul in peace, my family will never know you, or if you really want, you can introduce yourself as a friend.” These are phrases that make you feel very bad, it is humiliating that your partner is ashamed to be with you to the point of having to hide, it is humiliating to think that if in my place there had been a girl this sentence wouldn’t even have crossed the antechamber of his brain. 
It hurts when your partner tells you that if you were a girl he would have kept you by the hand quietly, and instead … Even the intimacy with a bisexual boy I didn’t live it happily: all with the fixed idea of anal intercourse already from the first meetings, as if it were something essential, absolutely not negligible that, sooner or later, absolutely must be done: “This position sooner or later we will do it.” I’m an anxious guy, I admit, but to hear these phrases in intimacy just makes me even more anxious and stressed, and of course leads also to the loss of desire on my part. Or it is I who see the anal intercourse as the antechamber of hell, sometimes I even doubt that I am gay for this reason. In any case I cannot bear that the other guy, bisexual, pours on me his straight sexual fantasies as if he were with a woman, I am not a substitute or an imitation of a girl, so I don’t want to be treated as such! In some ways it is as if I felt inferior in bed compared to a bisexual boy: if I think for example of his experience with me, and I think he could have done it with a girl, I feel somewhat less virile. I know that all these thoughts are probably only in my mind and are unfounded, but it is a torment that every time makes itself felt and I cannot get rid of it.
I think I have touched all the points roughly, I conclude by saying that I’m aware that the prejudices that gay and straight people have towards bisexuals inevitably lead them to ghettoise themselves , to create a little space located in the limbo between the two extremes and excluded from both the hemispheres, and this is what led me to write this post. I hope you don’t attack me, but I needed to tell you my experiences to make you understand, and I’m happy to hear from you if it can help me to go beyond my fears and insecurities. 
If you like, you can join the discussion on this post on Gay Project Forum:


Hello Project, it’s a bit that I don’t write to you. We exchanged some emails some time ago and the conclusion of our speeches concerned the fact that I had already made a path of awareness and acceptance of my homosexuality. Acceptance passed through ups and downs, rethinks and changes of ideas. Being single, the only possibility I have is to resort to masturbation (I cannot spend too much time on abstinence). Lately, almost for fun and curiosity I started watching straight porn videos, and I must say that I don’t dislike them. For a while, I thought maybe I could even like straight sex. Yesterday I also tried to masturbate watching a straight video, but it seemed so exaggerated and fake that I soon lost the desire. So I changed and opened a gay video and finally I saw something that really pleased me. Looking at a straight video I really thought I saw mechanical gestures, with rough and almost animalistic guys and fake girls who shouted for a fake pleasure. And then, I don’t know if you’ve noticed, never a kiss between boy and girl. Watching a gay video instead I saw two guys definitely excited and eager to please each other. Boys who almost always kiss each other. I saw sex, even if in a typical setting of a porn video, lived in a more spontaneous and passionate way. That’s why yesterday, in order to masturbate, I chose to watch a gay video. However, a hetero video is always a mechanical representation of sex. The gay video shows at least complicity and is very realistic since the boys don’t pretend orgasm, while in the straight movies the girls pretend orgasm, sometimes even absurdly and in a way so much exaggerated. Why this difference in heterosexual sex? I think because heterosexual sex essentially fulfills the purpose of procreation. Gay sex, on the other hand, being an end in itself, is much more linked to pleasure (especially physical). A relationship is based on love, otherwise it doesn’t work, but I believe that homosexual sexuality has a component both physical and of a search for physical pleasure that heterosexuality doesn’t have. I believe that, in general, a heterosexual couple has a less intense sexual life than a homosexual one, precisely for this reason.

Hello Mark, if you don’t have a partner, resorting to masturbation is a necessity and you shouldn’t try to do without it because masturbation is a practice that has a value even in terms of health. It is a known fact that those who practice daily masturbation are less exposed to prostatic cancer in old age. So no limitation to masturbation, which is good for both the body and the mind. And then you say right, gay sex has no procreative concerns and therefore is totally focused on the pursuit of pleasure. Physical pleasure is an important thing that favors psycho-physical balance and should never be devalued or neglected. The talk about porn is actually very complicated. Today new types of pornography are spreading, let’s say so, softer and more specifically gay, in which for example sexual meeting doesn’t end necessarily with anal penetration and cuddling is greatly enhanced. The current porn so-called gay are built for a large mass of hetero-curious people and don’t conform to true gay sexuality that is not an imitation of heterosexual sexuality. In practice, some gay porn sites have started producing videos specifically for gays, that is, basically, for a segment of the market far less important than that of the hetero-curious people. On one thing, however, I disagree, that is, that heterosexuality is less attentive to the pursuit of pleasure. I tell you this because I receive a lot of mail even from straight guys and in many cases at least I don’t have the impression that the straight sexuality experienced by those guys is less attentive to the pursuit of pleasure, because the vast majority of heterosexual sex has not at all a procreative purpose, on the contrary, excludes it a priori, so heterosexuality assumes a dimension of research of the eros practically analogous to that typical of gay sexuality, even if the ways are different.
A hug!

Hello Project, do you know sites where you can see videos for gays and not for hetero-curious people? Can you give me some suggestions? In fact, often the videos follow the traditional scheme, which begins with short preliminaries, oral sex, anal sex, orgasm. It doesn’t seem to me that true gay sex follows this mechanical scheme. In my experience gay sex was almost always an alternation of kisses, masturbation and oral sex, with orgasm achieved with mutual masturbation. Gay sex is so and this is not often seen in gay porn videos. That’s why I would like to know if there are sites with videos of this type. On straight sex I understand what you say. Perhaps my thought is distorted by the fact that being a homosexual, I find it hard to understand how there can be genuine sexual pleasure outside of homosexuality.
Thanks and a hug. Mark
P.S. I didn’t know that masturbation prevented prostate cancer. Then masturbating at least once a day is good for health, as well as mood!

Hi Mark, I have only seen some “typically gay” videos but it must be said that they are still a rarity. Because the ratio between hetero-curious and gay users, in so-called gay sites, is estimated at least 5 or 6 hetero-curious people for every gay, because the hetero-curious finds the so-called gay site made especially for him, while gay doesn’t find exactly what he would like. Your experience of gay sex is the one most widespread and typical among gay guys but unfortunately the so-called gay porn puts the gay label on things that don’t represent gay reality at all.
A hug. Project

Hello Project, clear, but … so how can I tell if I’m gay or just hetero-curious? Let me explain: if I see a straight video I get excited, and I can masturbate and get to orgasm. But this doesn’t mean that I’m straight. In fact it happens that if I see a gay video I get excited, and I understand from the physical reaction I experience, that it excites me more than a straight video, and this, with videos of equivalent content (i.e. the usual sequence: oral sex, penetration, orgasm). So I can masturbate and get to orgasm by watching a gay video. I add, even if I see a lesbian video I can feel excitement, etc. It follows that all forms of sexuality can induce excitement and lead me to masturbate. However, if I see a gay video the level of excitement is greater (understand what I mean – I talk about the abundant pre-ejaculatory fluid in the case of gay video and almost absent in the case of hetero video) and in some cases I reach orgasm without almost touching me. Only with gay pornography I happened to masturbate several times in a row at a short distance. With hetero / lesbian videos once a day it’s enough for me. From these facts (as well as from the fact that the few gay experiences I had were sexually more satisfying than my few hetero experiences) I deduced that I’m homosexual (or at most bisexual with a prevalent homosexual tendency). Certainly pornography occupies a fundamental space in my sexual life. At the moment I have no partner and pornography and masturbation are my only outlet. Returning to the hetero-curious, I think the difference lies in the fact that for me a gay video is beautiful in its less rude parts, where you can see kisses, masturbation and oral sex. For me the beauty of the guys involved in the video is also crucial, so much so that I often see the usual videos because there are actors and scenes that I particularly like (I’m very selective!). And then I think that a hetero-curious sometimes masturbates watching gay videos, but normally masturbates watching straight videos. But I masturbate from time to time watching straight and normally watching gay videos. Perhaps it could be said that I’m gay-curious. What do you think about it?
A hug. Mark

Hello Mark, the things you say are perfectly logical if you limit yourself only to the sexual plan, but the substantial differences between a gay and a hetero-curious are not limited to those strictly sexual you have described perfectly, there are also emotional differences. A gay falls in love with guys even on an emotional level, he seeks their company, even without sexual purposes and above all doesn’t have a deeply frustrating heterosexual sexuality. A hetero-curious has a frustrated hetero affectivity and doesn’t have a gay affectivity. His dominant form of sexuality is hetero, for him, a guy is only a substitute for a girl. A gay doesn’t only like having sex with his boyfriend but loves everything about him, he falls in love with him. The gay couple is not a very common thing but it exists, in the perspective of hetero-curious people the prospect of a couple relationship with a guy is completely missing, there is no love story. From what you write more than an exclusive gay, you look like a polarized bisexual, also strongly polarized, in the gay direction. The real trouble of bisexuals not strongly polarized, that is, of the bisexuals for whom the couple’s life exclusively hetero or exclusively gay is impossible, lies in the fact that both gays and girls, look for a guy to build a stable and exclusive relationship. And a big step forward in civilization still must be done before thinking of less rigid couples in which even a bisexual is not forced to renounce the other half of the sky.
A hug. Project

Hello Project, thanks as always for the most acute observations. A question: what do you mean when you write about a gay who doesn’t have a deeply frustrating heterosexual sexuality? in which situation is a heterosexual who has a profoundly frustrating hetero sexuality? And how does he react? Perhaps a heterosexual can find himself in a frustrating hetero sexual situation and then he takes refuge in gay sexuality as a fallback? Help me to understand.
Thanks, Mark

Hello Mark, the situation of the hetero-currious can be classified as “homosexuality of escape”. I try to clarify the concept starting from the other form of “homosexuality of escape” that typical of guys who have suffered sexual abuses. Among the forms of sexual imprinting (first sexual or para-sexual experiences) beyond the classical situations related to spying on the nudity of other people, to sexual exploring games with peers of the same or the other sex (all forms of imprinting experienced in a non-traumatic way), there is also, and it is not very rare, that linked to sexual abuse by adults. Imprinting can be either homosexual or heterosexual, and this has nothing to do with true sexuality. Imprinting is very often prepuberal and is experienced more as a game, more or less forbidden, than as a form of sexuality, because for the sexuality in the true sense of the word the assumptions are missing. Generally an imprinting that doesn’t conform to true sexual orientation (which will begin to develop with puberty) creates an obstacle to the development of true sexuality. If a guy who has had a gay imprinting then finds himself heterosexual, the question is not very traumatic because the evolution goes towards a socially accepted and encouraged dimension, if then the emerging sexuality is gay then there will be no detachment between the imprinting and puberty sexuality. In the case where, instead, the imprinting has been of hetero type (socially accepted) and the development of puberty sexuality goes in gay direction, some acceptance problems may arise, because it is a matter of overcoming the habit of considering oneself hetero and also sometimes to masturbate with heterosexual fantasies, however, the problems are overcome in the end because the boy perceives that gay sexuality has for him a considerable weight, not comparable to that of straight sexuality, and this on a physical level. The real problems, and these are things that must be taken very seriously, arise when the imprinting happened through sexual abuse and worse when it happened with violence. But let’s go into detail. If a boy has suffered sexual abuse by an adult man and then feels a heterosexual sexuality in him at the time of puberty, that sexuality for him is not only pleasant but also liberating and he will claim it as his sexuality as opposed to the sexuality of the abuser. On the other hand, when the boy who has suffered sexual abuse by an adult man feels a homosexual desire at the time of puberty, he will try to reject it with all his strength, because he will refer it to the suffered abuse, in essence he will be brought to think that his nascent gay sexuality is the result and consequence of that abuse. It is in these cases that the so-called escape heterosexuality is manifested, the boy unconsciously forces himself to heterosexuality which he considers as a rebellion against abuse. Obviously the situation is very delicate and, if not well managed, can also lead to irreparable consequences. If the situation is well managed, one gets to overcome it, even if traces remain, when the first homosexual “love story” arrives, that is, the first profound “affective” relationship with another boy. The period of “escape heterosexuality” of abused children is terrible, because they are homosexual guys who are trying to escape from their homosexuality, which they attribute to abuse. Failures with girls are the rule and so are frustrations and depression at the limits of uncontrollable. This is one of the basic reasons for which pedophilia must be fought with every means, because it is objectively devastating. Even for hetero-curious people there is a form of homosexuality of escape, clearly of escape to the gay and not to the straight field as in the case of homosexual abuse. A hetero-curious is a hetero, so for him the frustration of hetero sexuality is objectively heavy. It is that frustration that gives birth to the idea that “on a sexual level” and only on a sexual level a homosexual relationship can be gratifying and can respond appropriately to the frustration in the hetero field. The hetero-curious is not a gay man, he has not built a gay affectivity over the years, for him homosexuality is that of porn. When a hetero-curious really tries to get in touch with a gay guy he finds himself displaced, because as long as the gay boy has not realized that he is not really in front of a gay man, the gay boy will not only focus on sex but will also try to build a relationship on the emotional level. From a sexual point of view, then a gay man doesn’t take long to realize that his partner is not gay, sexual fantasies are different, sexual practices are different and it starts to become clear that creating a relationship doesn’t make sense, and here the other dogma of the hetero-curious is broken, namely that dealing with a gay boy is easier than dealing with a woman. Hetero-curious (who is a heterosexual searching for an escape sexuality) is not a married gay who is seeking a relationship out of his marriage is trying to realize his true sexuality, the hetero-curious remains such, often changing homosexual partner, until he finds a heterosexual availability, which for him is the natural way, in practice when the straight path becomes possible again the curiosity is put aside, maybe until to the subsequent hetero frustration.
A hug. Project

Hello Project, your explanation is very interesting. But I still don’t understand what makes you conclude that I’m bisexual and not hetero-curious. I try to explain myself better. Made the premise that for me (as for many) heterosexual sex is culturally acceptable while the gay sex is not, and consequently having gay sex has given me guilt while having straight sex no, my sexuality and my affection have the following characteristics:
sexuality: masturbation: mostly (at 90% or 95% I would say) gay (both with the help of porn videos and gay fantasies);
sexual contacts: I had gay and straight experiences (over time, the first gay at 14 years old, then alternate straight and gay, and still few).
Gay experiences on average more satisfying and uninhibited, with the girls some difficulties.
Physical preferences: I am not indifferent to female beauty. I recognize a beautiful girl very well, but with a girl I feel shy and inadequate. I don’t have a special preference for a particular type of girl. Boys, on the other hand, to please me sexually, must correspond to a very particular physical canon. I recognize if a guy is handsome, but that doesn’t necessarily mean I like him. To please me, in the sense of attracting me sexually, a boy must be done in a certain way, as high as I say, with the face as I say, etc. With guys I’m much, much more selective than with girls.
Sexual preferences: I prefer male to female sex. An erected penis is much more exciting for me than a vagina. When I had experiences with boys, being able to touch their penises, it was very exciting, while touching a girl’s sex was not bad, but it didn’t drive me crazy the same way. Having oral sex with a girl tells me little (I don’t like it), while I like to have oral sex with a guy. Masturbating a girl I like it, masturbating a guy I like best. I can have a complete intercourse with a girl, ok I can do it, I don’t like and don’t care to have a complete intercourse with a guy.
Affectivity: it is much easier for me to fall in love with a girl. For some guys I took a crush, but I have never fantasized about a lasting relationship and a couple life with a guy as I did with girls. This means that I was fine with the boys, I liked them, but I was especially interested in the sexual aspect. I was fine with the girls, but with them I was especially interested in the emotional aspect. Of course, as I have already told you, gay sexuality takes me much more. And if sexuality (especially the freer one of masturbation) goes in that direction, I can only say that I’m bisexual / gay. I must also say that the girls I met were not the best, sexually speaking, and this could have helped to give me a distorted view of female sexuality, leading me to prefer gay sexuality experienced as more uninhibited and immediate. This could be what made me a so-called hetero-curious. However, my strong preference for gay sex (fantasized and practiced), pleasant memories of gay experiences, almost exclusively gay masturbation, made me think (since adolescence) that I’m gay or bisexual. Only as a teenager I was convinced that I was a straight boy who let himself go to gay fantasies and practices, in the absence of just and available girls. Now, however, given that the right and available girls have never arrived (but did I ever really look for such girls?), I think I’m a gay who lets himself go to some incursion into the hetero world (only a few videos, however, no masturbatory fantasy). For this, joking, I say that maybe I’m a gay-curious.
A hug, Mark

Hello Mark, well, I try to respond articulately, but you of the hetero-curious have nothing at all. First of all, you don’t have the typical age of hetero-curious people who are generally over 40/45 and even beyond, in the second place you never had a previous hetero story important and exclusive, which is almost the rule for the hetero-curious people, in your story there was no strong hetero experience that led you to such a frustration as to induce curiosity for the other orientation. Indeed, your first gay experiences date back to 14 years. And then all your sexuality is clearly gay, but not only because it is about guys but because it is absolutely and typically gay regarding the desires: what excites you is not at all what excites the hetero-curious people, who see guys as a substitute for girls and who tend with guys to have sexual intercourses aimed at anal penetration with fixed roles. You write: “Sexual preferences: I prefer male to female sex. An erected penis is much more exciting for me than a vagina. When I had experiences with boys, being able to touch their penises, it was very exciting, while touching a girl’s sex was not bad, but it didn’t drive me crazy the same way. Having oral sex with a girl tells me little (I don’t like it), while I like to have oral sex with a guy. Masturbating a girl I like it, masturbating a guy I like best. I can have a complete intercourse with a girl, ok I can do it, I don’t like and don’t care to have a complete intercourse with a guy.” All these things for a hetero-curious are absolutely inconceivable. A hetero-curious, who deals with a guy as if he were a woman, will never touch the guy’s penis, and the idea of masturbating the guy he would not even consider it as a theoretical hypothesis, could have oral sex done by the guy but not the opposite, because this, in behavior code of a hetero-curious, would mean taking on a passive role, what for him is unthinkable. For a hetero-curious the so-called complete intercourse (active anal sex) is the purpose of sexual contact with a boy. For a gay, such an idea is inconceivable, and in the vast majority of cases anal penetration does not exist. So you certainly are not at all a hetero-curious! And you are not even a gay-curious, because I don’t think you’re frustrated with gay sexuality. And then your relationship with girls has a sexual component, which will not be dominant, but exists and is not negligible. That you tend to create an affective relationship more easily with girls seems to me something more than possible, what I hardly can understand is the fact that you cannot find a gay affective relationship coordinated with sexual interest. But the solution to this apparent strangeness, which is the only one that doesn’t fit into the dimension of true bisexuality, you give it yourself in your premise when you say that a gay intercourse provokes you to feel guilty and a heterosexual one not. If you overcame this conditioning of a social nature knowing a gay guy with whom to build a truly mutual and deep relationship, I think you would fall in love and also on an emotional level! It has not happened yet, but it will happen!
A hug. Project

Thanks Project, Your considerations are very logical. So, from what I understand, you don’t see me at all as a hetero-curious, but rather as a bisexual who is strongly oriented towards homosexuality. I add to your considerations some clarifications: I had a couple of stories with girls, between 17 and 22 years. Stories long enough (a couple of years each) and quite painful. The first because the girl lived in another city and my so called falling in love had been essentially an infatuation (sexually we didn’t go beyond the kisses); with the second one I had established a relationship based on competitiveness that did not last. The strange thing is that this girl, very pretty I have to say, had a little masculine ways (she was riding a motorcycle and practiced martial arts) and I didn’t like this because I wanted her to be much more feminine. Sexually there was enough understanding, even if we never went beyond mutual masturbation (practiced almost always in the dark or in the shade). In short, a sexually not really uninhibited relationship. We didn’t look for penetration (I didn’t ask her and she didn’t even) and we didn’t even practice oral sex. As I told you before, having oral sex with a girl has never drove me crazy (I did it in a few cases, but really it didn’t drive me crazy). During the two years of relationship with this girl I could not help but masturbate thinking … about the gay experience I had had with a classmate at 17. Here too nothing stratospheric, we masturbated each other, almost for fun, during a white week and then the year after, I had come forward and we had agreed to meet one evening at my house to repeat the experience. So we ended up seeing each other one night when my parents were outside, we completely undressed and masturbated (with the light on, I underline it). A unique episode, never repeated with this classmate, after this episode we always pretended that nothing had happened between us. And this was not the first guy I had sexual contact with. The first, as I wrote to you, was when I was 14 years old (we were both still in eighth grade). It was probably because sex with these guys was uninhibited and satisfying while sex with the girls was inhibited and unsatisfying, but from those experiences I began to think, not without anguish and confusion, that I was gay. But my thought in those years was: if I found an uninhibited girl to have satisfying sex, then everything would change. Perhaps this is a recurring thought of many gay or bisexual boys who don’t accept their homosexuality. Of course, with time, seeing that things didn’t change (my masturbation became more polarized towards homosexuality, I couldn’t find uninhibited girls – but was I looking for?) I gradually became more aware that my homosexual tendency was not a temporary thing but a constant. On affection I agree with you. As I said, for some guys (two definitely), when I was between 15 and 20 years, I took a crush (I often thought of them, I masturbated thinking of them, and I didn’t think of them only in a sexual key, I loved them for their way of being), and this simultaneously with my hetero stories (but I didn’t masturbate thinking about girls with whom I was “in love”…). Unfortunately, social, cultural and personal conditioning are still such that it is still impossible for me today to think of a couple’s life with a guy, lived in the sunlight. While with a girl I certainly don’t have problems, affectivity works very well, even if I have to sacrifice full sexual satisfaction.
A hug, Mark

Hello Mark, the most striking thing in your mail is the weight of conditioning that you suffered: “but from those experiences I began to think, not without anguish and confusion, that I was gay.” But why anguish and confusion? You didn’t do anything to go to a straight life, which I think would have been completely unsustainable, because you say that the affection with girls was fine but you should have made some sacrifices regarding sexuality. One like you, bisexual with a 90% -95% gay inclination (based on the frequency of the masturbation fantasies) is in fact “almost gay” and if you had made a choice oriented towards heterosexual marriage, given that for you a straight sexuality is possible, you would have done as many gay guys who, since they can get to have sex with a girl, they say: ok, then I’m straight and marriage for me is the ideal solution, it’s okay with my family, is what everyone expects from me,. . . I should just do some “little renunciation” on the sexual field! But married gays, as well as married bisexuals with 95% gay propensity, underestimate the extent of that renunciation. You yourself say that when you were with the girls you didn’t masturbate thinking about them but thinking about your previous gay experiences, but when the sexuality of the couple goes in a different direction from that of masturbation, the real sexuality, that is the one with which you can feel gratified both sexually and emotionally, it is not that of the couple sex, but the one free from all expectations, that is masturbation. Indeed it is typical of married gays to practice gay masturbation in an exclusive way even when they live a straight sex life with their wife (early years of marriage), and this is enough, together with social pressure to keep those guys tight to their marriage, but when heterosexuality then fades completely, because a woman feels that there is something wrong, even though she may not be able to understand what, the sexual and emotional attraction force of gay sexuality becomes more and more urgent with all its strength and the straight marriage definitely goes into crisis. A couple’s life without a strong sexual feeling, at least at the beginning, is destined to show all its limitations in the long run. In other words it is a choice that is not instinctive but mediated by reason, for reasons of utility and convenience, in the name of those reasons one accepts to make “small sacrifices” on a sexual level, but these sacrifices are not at all small and are not at all on a sexual level only and in the end make the life of this strange heterosexual couple absolutely unsatisfactory. The risk of a wrong choice such as marriage, in these conditions is high, because saying bisexual doesn’t mean at all that gay or straight it’s the same, but it means that, with rare exceptions, one of the two orientations is strongly prevalent. Between the non-rejection of a woman and the “real” desire to live sexuality with that woman there is an infinite number of possible gradations and the problem of bisexuals is linked to the fact that a couple relationship, hetero or gay, starts with the assumption of being exclusive. A bisexual with 95% gay polarization will most likely give up without too many regrets to a straight sexuality, which basically belongs to him in a marginal way, but he will never sensibly give up a gay identity that characterizes him in a strong way, driven only by reasons social type or because he was conditioned to see the homosexuality as inherently wrong. I think that beyond all theoretical reasoning, for you, despite the social pressures, the idea of marriage is now a hypothesis put aside in a definitive way and without regrets. Unfortunately for many bisexual guys strongly polarized in the gay direction, things are not like that, and marriage looks like a mirage, a lifeline, and this inevitably leads to very serious problems. I add a question that seems important to me. This exchange of mails I think could be of considerable benefit to several guys. If you agreed, these emails could be published on the forum, on blogs and could be inserted in the chapter about bisexuality of the manual “Being Gay”, preceded by an exchange of emails between me and a hetero-curious. In this way it could be possible to give our readers the right coordinates to interpret many phenomena and to avoid wrong choices. Obviously, emails can be modified by you as you deem appropriate to avoid putting your privacy at risk, but I don’t see how it could be put at risk since there are no specific references of any kind. Let me know what you think.
A hug. Project

Hello Project, thanks for your comment. Excuse me, but I think it is practically impossible for a 14-year-old boy to have a homosexual experience, even if limited to mutual masturbation, without experiencing, afterwards, anguish and confusion. Even though I had wanted that experience, I was aware that it was a homosexual experience and it was not something made for play (like: I close my eyes while you masturbate me and I think it’s a girl I like a lot who is masturbating me). No, while with my partner we touched each other, I was interested in his sex, and in him as a boy. After reaching orgasm, however, the excitement (which decreases the inhibitory brakes and the control) has disappeared and, therefore, having regained control, disturbance and anguish took over. That is: what I just did is gay sex, gay sex is considered ugly by parents, relatives and friends, what I did is ugly. Moreover, if what I have done is an indication of what I am (that is, I am a homosexual), then I am disturbed and distressed. And here’s the whole attempt to rationalize the thing like: it’s an isolated case, it happened because I didn’t have a girlfriend, if I found a girl I would not think about these things, etc. etc. If the 14-year-old boy had been really straight, problems wouldn’t have arisen, I think, because he would have thought right away that it was the girl of his dreams who was masturbating him. And the next day maybe he would masturbate thinking about the girl of his dreams and not about what he had really done with his classmate. I, 14 years old, instead, after that experience, in the following days had masturbated just thinking about that experience. But I also rationalized gay masturbation, thinking that it was due to the fact that the only sexual experience to remember was that. As a rationalization it was really weak, but as you can understand the environmental pressure of parents, relatives and friends, wasn’t week at all. Here is the reason for anxiety and disturbance. But I don’t understand one thing: why do you say that I have not done everything to go to a straight life?
A hug, Mark
P.S. If you want you can publish everything, in full.

Hello Mark! First of all, thank you for permission to publish the emails, but I have to try to do an organic job with an exchange of emails with a true hetero-curious and I must also rewrite part of the chapter of Being Gay about bisexuality and it will take a few days.
Regarding the substance of your last email I totally agree, I don’t think I could better describe the mechanisms that lead to feel gay sex as a fault and a wrong thing due to family and social pressures. But the problem lies precisely in those familiar and social pressures, sometimes so deeply internalized that they become almost components of the ego. The fact that in Italian society, as it is, a 14 year old boy can be complexed by a gay sexual experience is something evident, the fact is that the upstream conditioning is only the result of a total ignorance and a lot of prejudices, this was what I meant when I told you that I didn’t understand what you could be afraid of. Complexes towards gay sex really exist and gays too experience them at least at the beginning, but I know that the problems are above all at the beginning …
A hug. Project

Thanks Project. And what about my question about why you say I didn’t do anything to go to a straight life?

Hello Mark. I mean that you have not forced yourself to get to an exclusive heterosexuality that you did not feel really yours, which means that, at least in adulthood, family and social conditionings have clearly been overcome, there is perhaps some atmosphere of forbidden surrounding gay sex, but it is not an oppressive atmosphere that leads you to do what you don’t want or to put aside what you want. You didn’t force yourself because you had your substantial psychological independence, perhaps earned with difficulty, but now reached and consolidated. Keep in mind that even today there are gays, that is, people who have no interest at all in girls, who, because maybe even if thinking of guys they can also get to have a sexual intercourse with a girl, force themselves to “behave like heterosexuals”, in these cases the problems are big and they are not problems related to sexuality, that is to say to an uncertain sexual orientation, on the contrary here the gay orientation is very well defined, but they are problems of psychological dependence. In essence these guys cannot make themselves independent from a homophobia internalized at a very early age and now acquired. This homophobia forces them to act against their very nature and deeply affects them making them insecure. Just in these days I’m exchanging emails with a straight guy who also had some gay experiences, very minimal for the truth, in early adolescence, but who continues to give a disproportionate weight to these things as if they could put in crisis the possibility of fully experiencing sexuality with his girlfriend, which instead goes objectively well, because the girl is intelligent and she cares about him. In that boy’s childhood there was a terrible relationship with his father, including very frequent beatings and public humiliations, he felt like an unwanted child, that is probably the source of insecurity that leads that boy to think he is not trustworthy and he’s not able to guarantee his girlfriend a satisfying married life when they will be married, and in this context the overestimation of a minimum of gay exploration in early adolescence fits perfectly, especially since those gay experiences were also a way of doing something that his father thought execrable, that is, of reacting to his father’s oppressive power. Note that the episodes of gay exploration had been completely forgotten and that the masturbation of that boy had always been in a straight key, which leaves no doubt about his total heterosexuality.
A hug. Project


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


Hi Project,

I had big fears before talking to you last night, then those fears have dissipated and I can only say that talking to you was really useful to put aside many unnecessary complexes. I had a very Catholic education, which I don’t consider totally negative, but which also created a lot of complexes about sexuality in me, and the fact that I’m gay has certainly not facilitated things. However, yesterday evening I had no problems, it’s true, but I still limited myself to very general speeches.

Today I would like to go into more specific issues on which I have no chance to compare myself with other guys and then, where I live, it would be not only difficult but also risky because homophobia is quite common here.

I can tell that I’m rather lucky because I attend university in a big city and I have my autonomy, at 22, almost 23, I have done my sexual experiences even if with very variable results. There are things that I don’t like at all, first of all the fact that dating a guy should only serve to have sex with him and then: goodbye, see you next time! It’s absurd to think of being with a guy just to have sex with him. I cannot stand the indecision, the fact that one depends on the decision of the other whether to have sex or not and the other pretends nothing, such an attitude seems hateful to me, sex should not be asked as a grace, but should come spontaneously, otherwise the relationship is not equal. But let’s go into the specific. I like guys who don’t make their partners pray them, who make the first step, who don’t play only in response, the ones who let understand that they are really involved.

Allow me to express myself freely, I don’t like guys who when they are getting ready to have sex (lowering their underpants) are not even in erection, if you don’t have it hard it means that you are not really sexually involved, if it is not my presence itself to make you get hard, what sense does it have to go on? Probably there are other people with whom you would react with a very quick and decisive hard-on, I say this because, if I’m really involved, I react immediately. I don’t like guys who are ashamed to be excited, guys who cover it with their hands, who want to turn off the light, who want to stay under the sheets. But what’s the point of having sex with a guy if I cannot even see him naked and excited? One told me that I’m a voyeur, but if I have sex with you and it’s okay with you, I don’t really understand what you have to be ashamed of.

Then there is the whole unmentionable series of complexes on the size of the penis, on the shape, on the length, on the thickness, on maintaining the erection, etc. etc., here maybe I can understand more the fears of so many guys and what you say, Project, it seems a bit simplistic. At least for me the fact that my partner is well endowed is not indifferent. I take my penis as a model, which is nothing special, but it suits me because I’m used to it. I like guys with a penis similar to mine, so to speak, normal size and straight.

I’ve never met guys with the penis curved in an accentuated way, but I found one with a narrow phimosis and he was a bit complexed by this thing, but I must say that, except for a little initial perplexity it did not create any problem, it reacted very well and in many ways (size and shape) was also well above normal standards and above mine in particular. With that guy I didn’t have any sexual problems of any kind, but the story is over because he went to live in Australia and I was very disappointed, because he was a very good and very intelligent guy. But let’s go on, I don’t like ritual, repetitive sex, sex made with a hard face, without smiling and without joking about what is being done.

Then there is a fundamental thing, even if I managed to achieve it only once, the sex must be safe, the risk must be reduced to zero, you do the test together before having sex, you wait the window period and repeat the test, if it came negative both times, then you can be much calmer and you can have sex without being devoured by doubts and concerns. If one does not want to do the double test, sex must be done only with condoms and there can be no discussion, certainly it is much less involving, but if you want to do it in a more involving way then you must adapt to the idea of the double test. But let’s go on.

During sex you have to talk at least a little, and avoid being always silent, A guy told me that before he met me he had been with another guy who told him that he had a ugly penis, here, I consider a thing of this kind hateful. Don’t you want to be with that guy? Okay, you can go somewhere else, but if you stay there you cannot despise the person you’re with. Among other things, the guy who was offended had a very normal and very reactive penis, when I told him it, he felt very gratified, because he didn’t expect it at all. I think that telling a guy that he has a nice penis is a compliment certainly very welcome, telling him that his penis is ugly is really offensive. There is a psychological attitude that I hate, and it is, after having sex with a guy, to say that you did it only for him but that you didn’t really care. So what have you been doing? A charity action? This is a reasoning of an unacceptable hypocrisy.

Another thing I don’t like at all is the lack of reciprocity, that is, the fact that when you did what you wanted to do, everything is over and goodbye, and your partner at most can masturbate on his own. Such a thing is terrible, I heard it but it never happened to me, I think I would have reacted badly. Another hateful thing is using for a guy a female term of endearment. If you want to be with a girl, go there, there are so many girls, there’s no reason to run after a gay guy. Another hateful question: to tell a guy how another guy has sex, especially if the two guys know each other. There is nothing more odious. Sex is done in two and is not told to others. Here I am talking about sex with Project who doesn’t know who I’m and certainly in telling some things I don’t write the name and surname of the people I’m talking about. Another thing that I cannot stand: attitudes of superiority, doing the part of the master of sex, of the guy who has understood everything and can teach others how to do it. People who take themselves too seriously only show off their stupidity. Another important thing: finished the sex, you don’t have immediately to say goodbye, you can have a coffee, a chocolate, go back to a dimension of ordinary life and then you say goodbye.

The spontaneous opportunities to have a little sex can be many, I think for example to take a shower together, which also has a playful meaning (and it happened to me), I think of laughing together. Project, one thing you said about sexual game impressed me: the game is a way to a less inhibited sexuality, it is true and I have experienced it directly.

And here there is the big chapter of sexual practices to be opened. Some may consider it strange but I love cuddles, and especially sexual cuddles, exchanging caresses even the intimate ones but without any specific sexual purpose, beyond sharing one’s intimacy, even physical, just like an exchange of emotional warmth. I really like the idea of falling asleep in the arms of my partner, I would say that this is one of the nicest things of gay sex, then there is mutual masturbation that I think everyone likes without exception and about oral sex the speech is more less the same, even if here there are problems related to the use of condoms, because here there is a risk and condoms should be used, even though many may consider them a completely unnatural and unpleasant thing, however, with the only guy who agreed to do the double test, we did it without a condom and it was very intimate and I would say very pleasant.

As for anal sex, I immediately say I’ve never done it but not only because it’s the most risky sexual practice, but because I’ve never had sexual fantasies of this kind. I thought I was a bit out of the norm for this, but I changed my mind. Out of the five guys I’ve been with, only one proposed to have anal sex and was disappointed when I told him no. With the others the topic was not even touched in the least, even when we had sex almost every day. Of course, common sense would like a couple to find its balance even in terms of sexual practices avoiding any attempt in this field to impose anything on those who don’t like it.

From everything I have written you can think that now I have no doubts and that I know how to behave on every occasion but it is not so. There is a guy I fell in love with and with whom I have never had the slightest contact I don’t say sexual but not even vaguely physical, I will call him Paul, well, I swear, Project, I have never felt so embarrassed as with him, I also desire him sexually, I would like everything of him, because I think he is a very good guy and I would like to spend all my life with him, if you didn’t understand, I am in love with him, like I have never been in love with anyone else, that’s why I never know what to do. I’ve come to a decision, next time I’ll tell him that I love him and when I hear him on the phone I feel happy, but I will not tell him that I also get a hard-on, because I’m afraid he might be scared, it seems stupid but it could also happen and I wouldn’t want to miss him for anything in the world.

I feel very shy, as if I was 14 years old and I was in my first story, but I’m probably in my most important story. My friends tell me that Paul is not beautiful and there is someone better and I should look around, but I spoke several times with Paul and I thought he was a great person, that one you can trust, the one that talks just a little (maybe I talk too much) but he does what he says. In short, Paul is not the beautiful doll to show to friends but he could be the real life partner. Tomorrow I will see him, Project, and I will make him my first declaration of love, I am very hesitant, but something tells me that everything will be fine. I will let you know.

B. G.


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Dear Project,

reading here and there on the Gay Project sites I felt comfortable and I did not feel the same way reading other sites that talk about gay sexuality. I often felt embarrassed in talking with guys about sex and came to think that there was something wrong with me, something that did not work as it should have been.

I’m 26 and I have never had sex with anyone. Sometimes, but in practice only a couple of times, I thought that with the guys I met in chat we could even get to have sex, but the impression was quickly denied when I heard what they meant for gay sexuality. Maybe I dream too much, maybe I’m infantile in my way of conceiving sexuality, but I have the impression that with a guy, let’s say better, with the majority of the guys I would feel uncomfortable. I’m not sex phobic, I do not have nudity-related psychological complexes, I’ve been a team-mate for years, and I’ve never had problems with changing rooms and showers, I do not have religious complexes, I masturbate as all the guys do and I don’t have complexes even on this. Physically I think I’m a guy I do not say handsome but at least normal, but from a sexual point of view I feel a little disadvantaged.

I try to explain to you how I mean gay sex, or rather I try to explain how I would have sex with a guy.

First of all, I dream of love and not of sex, and it is not a matter of words, I dream of loving and being loved, I dream a true, deep, mutual love. I know that so many people would say that these are just fantasies and that reality is very different but with a guy who does not really love me and I really do not love him, I would feel absolutely uncomfortable, it would be a mutual instrumentalization. My purpose is not to have sex with a guy but to create a love relationship that can last in time, which can make us feel like a couple to help us in the real difficulties of life and then that is stable and faithful. I want a guy I can trust not one who speaks in one way and acts in another, he must be my boyfriend and I his, that is, our love must be exclusive, otherwise it is better to be alone. With my guy there should be a perfect consonance, a total complicity to understand each other without saying even a word.

But I come to sexual fantasies: first I dream about pampering, because I see it as a sign of tenderness, affection, physical proximity, sharing without reservations even physicality. I dream of sleeping together naked, feeling the warmth of my partner, I dream of being able to join him with my whole body, I dream of caressing him and of course I dream that he also does the same with me. I never, absolutely never, thought of sexual roles, my relationship with a guy must be absolutely equal, in the utmost spontaneity and in total agreement. Never and ever impositions, not even veiled, nor even repeated requests. Relationship must proceed in a totally spontaneous way. It is of particular importance to be embraced for a few minutes, to exchange heat, then, of course, kisses, caresses, hands moving into the hair and hugging tight, naked body with naked body.

Then I think also of something more strictly sexual and here I feel very strongly my distance from the mentality of so many guys. You may think it’s incredible, but I have never had sexual fantasies about anal penetration and, I would say, not even about oral sex. Pornography is full of these things but I cannot understand such things because they have never been part of my fantasies. Instead, I think of a sexual intimacy based on intimate genital caresses, to understand the physical sexual reactions of the partner, always under conditions of total reciprocity. I dream of having a partner with a dick very similar to mine, because I would somehow know it already and would know how it reacts. Then I think we would easily get to masturbation, but always having a long time, with long pauses, that is, without considering sex something separate from the rest of life, but on the contrary integrating it with everything else in a totally spontaneous way. And then the relationship would not end with ejaculation, but it would go on afterwards, staying close, hugging, cuddling even afterwards.

I would like to add something that might sound stupid but I think it is very important. I have often thought that my way of seeing gay sex would radically reduce the risk of sexually transmitted diseases and, in my opinion at least, would not reduce the pleasure of having sex with a guy.

You can imagine the reactions when I talked about such things chatting with guys. Being considered a Martian was the least, many guys often considered me an unrecoverable psychopath, then when I came to Gay Project, I found your article on anal sex and I was shocked. I was not a pathologic case! But not only, there are so many guys who think more or less like me though unfortunately it is not easy to find them.
Project, I quote below the mail I received from a guy after we had talked a bit on chat. I think it may be indicative.

“But are you kidding me? Cuddles? How old are you? You have to start getting some real experience, you have to wake up! If you like, [Sorry, Project, I apologize for the vulgar expression] I’m available to fuck you and I think you’ll like it. So many guys act like fussy persons, but then, when they understand what sex really is, they don’t stop anymore.”

Perhaps another guy’s mail is even more interesting.

“Alt! Stop! If you’re out of your head I’ll leave you right away. I have enough psychopaths, I’m just looking for sex, I told you so clearly and I do not have time to lose, so bye and I block you right away.”

I also received a serious email and I have to say the truth, I thought he was the right person. I thought a lot about what I should have answered and in the end I sent my long and meditated email. Obviously I didn’t get any answer and that user disappeared from the chat. I think that falling in love and feeling the love of the partner it’s really beautiful, but to me it never happened. I do not know if it will ever happen, but I still do not give up on my dreams to find answers, which would not be what I’m going to look for. At least on Gay Project I feel I’m not alone.

If you want to post this mail do it, maybe my letter can help somebody else not to feel alone.



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