It often happens that a gay guy creates a strong emotional relationship, sometimes with sexual implications, with guys who present themselves as straight, but don’t have the typical behavior of heterosexuals, i.e. with guys who demonstrate a certain sexual disposition towards gays; I refer to the hetero-curious guys, bisexuals, latent gays and repressed gays.
The order of these four categories is not accidental: the hetero-curious guys, who are very numerous, are properly hetero, but because of strong frustrations in their straight sexuality, they go in search of exclusively sexual adventures in the gay field; the bisexuals, much less numerous than gays, have a true gay sexuality and a true gay affectivity, well integrated, but also present a true hetero sexuality and a true hetero affectivity, bisexuality can present the two components, hetero and gay, in all the possible proportions; latent gays, who are very less numerous even than bisexuals, consider themselves exclusively hetero and behave in all respects as 100% hetero guys, even in masturbation, which is always hetero oriented, their homosexual tendencies are manifested in behaviors of considerable disinhibition with other guys, and also with other gay guys, the freedom of behavior reaches the point that a latent gay, considering himself 100% hetero, doesn’t feel any discomfort in getting involved in openly sexual games with gay friends, up to be masturbated by them, and this happens because these behaviors are not seen by latent gays as gay behavior but as sexual camaraderie; the gays repressed are instead fully gay on a conscious level, with a masturbation exclusively in gay key, who have adapted to live also relationships with girls, including sex, because pressed by families and the social environment, these guys are essentially forced to play the part of the hetero.
When for a guy sexuality is split from affectivity or when sexual orientation is not univocal, signs of discomfort may appear. We must bear in mind that the union of affectivity and sexuality in a relationship in which there is emotional and sexual reciprocity between two guys leads to psycho-sexual well-being and satisfaction in sexuality. When there is no real reciprocity in a couple relationship, there is the typical sense of frustration that gay guys who fall in love with straight guys know very well. In that case the discomfort comes from an objective “couple impossibility “. When the complementarity of affectivity and sexuality is lacking in one of the two partners, the discomfort is not originally interpersonal but is created in the first instance inside the subject, a clearly unresolved subject.
There are guys who, because of the heavy influences suffered through education, which has conveyed to them profound sexual taboos, despite experiencing homosexual drives, continue to live a straight sexual life. If for these guys, homosexuality remains under the limit of conscious thought, in these cases we speak of “latent homosexuality”.
Let us dwell now in particular on guys with latent homosexuality; they generally have characteristic traits:
1) They have a frenzied hetero sexual life, they have many girls and they change them often, and this increases the fame of these guys as heterosexuals, but they have never had a steady girl for long periods (years), what is typical of the heterosexuals. In other words, they live a frenetic sexuality with the girls but without constructing truly meaningful emotional relationships. Their affectivity is addressed elsewhere. Heterosexual sexuality experienced by guys with latent homosexuality is often unsatisfactory due to erectile impotence or difficulty in achieving orgasm. It should be emphasized that guys with latent homosexuality masturbate thinking about girls, which confirms them in their presumption of heterosexuality. These guys don’t have usually, not even partially, gay masturbation fantasies, their homosexuality is totally latent. That is, it is not lived on a conscious level.
2) They have an emotional life focused on a very small number of friends, all or almost male, and often have only one long-standing friend who is their real point of reference on an emotional level. This decisive friendship has such a weight that the same sexual choices of the guy with latent homosexuality, despite being in a hetero direction, are closely linked to the dominant friendship in the sense that the guy tends to choose the girl in the group frequented by the best friend, in this way on the occasions in which he meets the girl in public he doesn’t lose contact with his friend anyway. It should be emphasized that guys who are latent homosexuals often choose girls who are very friendly to their special friend. These guys sometimes fall in love with the girlfriends or the ex-girlfriends of their special friend.
3) The friendship between a guy with latent homosexuality and his special “hetero” friend often goes far beyond the boundaries of a common friendship between two straight guys. It is an emotional or even a loving friendship whose limits are dictated essentially by the hetero guy and are easily accepted by the guy with latent homosexuality. If the limits are narrow, the relationship, even seen from the outside, has no sexual meaning, that is, homosexuality remains totally latent.
4) A friendship between a guy with latent homosexuality and his special “gay” friend instead presents a completely different dynamic and this is what I intend to deal with later.
Let’s consider now two typical non-infrequent situations.
Two friends (whose friendship dated 30 years ago) both had heterosexual intercourses, both had been considered heterosexual for years and had always lived forms of emotional complicity only in a heterosexual key. Let’s say that one of them, let’s call him Mark, arrives at the awareness of his homosexuality through the most natural way, that is, falling in love with his friend, let’s call him Andrew, who continues to show only a straight sexuality (latent homosexuality). In this case, the old relationship of friendship, on the side of the gay guy, acquires a new value and is experienced as a relationship of love and all the moments of intimacy that can occur between two straight friends, like the nudity in the showers of the gym, or sleeping in the same bed, will have for Mark a sexual value that will not have for Andrew. The dimension of intimacy can still increase at least within certain limits because Andrew’s emotional attachment to Mark will lead Andrew to accept Mark’s particularly free behavior without too many difficulties, and this is a sign of the explicit though unconscious sexual interest od Andrew towards Mark. In real situations of this type it is possible to come to true sexual games in which Andrew will accept “in the form of a game” even Mark’s openly sexual behaviors. Andrew and Mark can take a shower together even going into erection and laughing at this fact, can cuddle themselves for hours on the couch or even in bed without openly sexual gestures, can live substantially the life of a gay couple with a limitation: sexuality, that must remain latent.
Two young guys (18/20 years old), friends from childhood, one (Mark) comes to recognize himself gay, while the other (Andrew) remains in a state of latent homosexuality. Mark falls in love with Andrew, the mutual disinhibition is stronger at the level of gestures than at the level of words. Mark and Andrew never talk about sex explicitly. Mark perceives Andrew’s resistance to admit that the relationship that has established can have some homosexual meanings, on the other hand Andrew shows himself always available towards Mark, seeks him, sends him text messages, spends evenings with him in chat, tells him affectionate phrases that are formally in the limit of a tender friendship but that that Mark tends to interpret in another key. It happens in a completely unexpected way that Andrew lets himself go to a drift of situation increasingly gay, up to even accepting sexual contacts (intimate caresses) without any embarrassment, but without any attempt at reciprocity. Sexual intimacy can even become habitual and in these terms doesn’t create particular problems for Andrew who accepts it as something now normal (sexualized friendship). Andrea falls in love with girls who are Mark’s friends, tries to create a group in which Mark is always involved and combines without apparent contradiction a straight couple sexuality with the sexual friendship towards Mark. Andrew’s heterosexual sexuality is an assumption of principle and Andrew, while living daily sexual contacts with Mark, masturbates only thinking about girls.
In the case A there is no homosexual behavior of Andrew, in the case B Andrew is involved in real sexual activities with Mark but framed in the dimension of sexualized friendship and not of homosexuality. In both cases the guy conscious of his homosexuality (Mark) finds himself in situations of deep affective contact with his friend and of partial sexual contact. What pushes Mark (a gay guy) to continue his relationship with Andrew (a guy with latent homosexuality)? The possible answers are many:
1) Marco waits for Andrew to take autonomously an awareness of the situation, which in Mark’s eyes is unequivocal.
2) Marco hopes to be able to take, in small steps, Andrew towards an explicitly gay sexuality.
3) Mark is in love with Andrew and is willing to sacrifice his sexuality in order to remain close to Andrew whose emotional warmth he cannot do without. In this regard, experience teaches some things which it is always good to take into account :
a) Latent homosexuality is generally not a stage that is a prelude to conscious homosexuality. Latent homosexuality can last and often lasts a lifetime. The exit from the latency is linked in most cases to absolutely new and unexpected factors that pose a guy quickly in front of reality, it is usually a meeting with people not previously known or unexpected episodes with a homosexual background that begin to be the object of masturbatory fantasies. This is often the first spark that leads to the exit from latent homosexuality. Generally the gay guy who falls in love with a guy in a state of latent homosexuality is extremely cautious for fear of losing him and this makes it more unlikely that the other guy can get out of latency.
b) Gay guys who fall in love with guys with latent homosexuality often say they are totally satisfied with the relationship they live but, going deeper, they realize that frustrations are many in the first place because a gay guy, in this situation, is forced to curb his own sexuality and then because there is no possibility of addressing the discourse explicitly. A guy with latent homosexuality reasons in all respects as a straight guy, in other words his homosexuality is unknown even to himself and manifests itself only in the amorous friendship that he interprets exclusively as a simple and deep friendship. The frustrations of gay guys involved in relationships of this kind last for years, they are forced to sublimate sexuality and to make a constant effort of self-control.
c) Within a couple consisting of a gay guy and a guy with latent homosexuality, precisely because it is impossible to get to an explicit dialogue on the subject of sexuality, the possibilities of misunderstanding and false interpretations are enormous. Basically the two guys decode the sexual gestures and behaviors in a completely different way, but the situation is much more complicated than that which is created between a gay and a heterosexual because the guy with latent homosexuality shows a very wide emotional availability and somehow even a certain sexual availability that confuses the gay guy. These relationships, precisely because of the availability of the guy with latent homosexuality, are initially very inviting and rewarding for a gay guy who expects his friend to show a clearly gay sexuality in short terms, however very rarely the expectations of the gay guy have the evolution that the gay guy wants. For the above it is good to take into account the time factor, considering that many gay guys have waited for many years and needlessly for their friend to came out of latent homosexuality.
If you like, you can join the discussion on this post on Gay Project Forum: http://gayprojectforum.altervista.org/T-gays-and-available-guys-with-latent-homosexuality
This paragraph is the re-elaboration of a response to the message that appeared on the Gay Project guestbook and you can read here below.
“Hi, I would like to understand more about latent homosexuality and how it can be revealed. My husband, 43, would have recently discovered his bisexuality but the constant mutability and uncertainty of his cultural and professional choices, his attachment to me (also sexual, for years, and passionate) the involuntary and occasional aesthetic interest for other women, the coincidence, moreover, of his coming out in concomitance with the obvious need to take on more mature commitments compared to a past in which only I took charge of the common life project, always involving him, his chasing me when I walked away, make me feel a lot puzzled. I would painfully respect his choice, if I could believe that it is unavoidable but I suspect a semiconscious pretext. Our environment has always been free and open, we have always frequented gay friends, our dialogue was profound and he had no reason to hide for almost twenty years. I would be very grateful for an opinion.”
I will try to answer on the basis of the experience gained in Gay Project, using an authentic documentation, consisting of pieces of e-mail that I have been authorized to publish. Let’s start with a premise: with the expression “latent homosexuality” we mean a homosexuality of which there is no awareness. It is not a matter of consciously repressed homosexuality but of a reality that operates below the levels of consciousness and manifests itself through a series of phenomena that are interpreted by those who observe them in themselves on the basis of categories totally alien to homosexuality.
Let’s move on to the examination of the first e-mail I received from a 43-year-old whom we will call Marco.
“Hello Project, I would like to ask you an opinion on some issues that gave me a lot of problems. I must make a necessary premise, I am a married man and I have a daughter almost 19 years old, I have always been heterosexual, the girls have always looked for me and I liked them very much, unfortunately sometimes I’m really stressed and maybe there is a bit of performance anxiety, so sometimes I live sexuality in a way not quite serene, but with my wife I’m fine, she cares about me very much, with her I feel at ease and then it is not something essentially sexual we really love each other. Since I started being with her I don’t feel anymore the need to masturbate because I have sex with her quite often, on the other hand masturbation has never been a fixed idea for me, I was able to do without it even before.
When I started my story with my wife I would never have believed I could live sexuality with her, that is, the thrust I felt towards her was not that, then things came slowly by themselves, I had a little fear that vanished over time and now things are going well.
As for friends, I also have gay friends and I have no preclusion of principle against them. I still do sports, not competitive, I have the opportunity to see my teammates naked a lot of times but I’m completely indifferent, I never thought I could have sex with a guy. I have a friend with whom I feel great, a straight friend, a teammate, we often talk and the dialogue between us is very nice, he tells me about his emotions and I talk to him about everything, including sexual problems, it happens that we often go out in four, I, he and our wives, I often talk to this friend but for me his presence has not and has never had any other meaning, he is a friend and that’s it. I told you at the beginning that sometimes I feel a bit tired and I think that this compromises a bit my relationship with my wife, sometimes when I’m with her I remember the problems of work and I don’t like this, because this makes me loose the best moments, but it will pass, I’m sure of it.”
Let’s move on to the analysis of the contents of this passage which is the beginning of the first e-mail I received from Mark.
Heterosexual phenomenology (weakness of hetero sexuality)
Mark has or may sometimes have problems with erection when he has sex with his wife, tends to get distracted during hetero sexual intercourse, he lives heterosexual sexuality as a response to his wife’s initiatives, he didn’t masturbate (or did not do it often) thinking of his girlfriend even when he hadn’t frequent intercourses with her, tends to spend more time with his friends or with a friend of his than with his wife. For him, heterosexual sexuality doesn’t have the value of a primary instinct but plays the role of a complement of an emotional relationship, that is, sexual interest is not the first push to create an affective contact, but, on the contrary, sexual availability derives from the primary emotional choice. Marco does not have in mind a physical type of girl who arouses immediate sexual interest in him, that is, he does not have a female sexual archetype. In adolescence he was always looked for by girls (he doesn’t say he was looking for them) with whom he had some form of sexual contact but didn’t take the initiative. Adolescent masturbation was not frequent.
Homosexual phenomenology (absence of gay sexuality)
Mark has never had sexual reactions related to the presence of another guy, he attends gyms, swimming pools or changing rooms and takes the shower together with others guys without any sexual response, he doesn’t feel any embarrassment in addressing topics that deal with homosexuality, he also has gay friends with whom he has a relationship very similar to what he has with his straight friends, he was never even remotely touched by the idea of being able to masturbate thinking of a boy.
We continue now with the text of Mark’s e-mail.
Elements of crisis of the hetero identity and acceptance of bisexuality
“Project, you will tell me, then where is the problem? And here I start not to understand well. I love my wife, I’ve shared everything with her, she’s a notable woman and did a lot for me, she even went against her family to marry me, because the family wanted her to marry another guy (whom her parents knew) but she imposed herself and we got married. I want to emphasize that it was not a choice of opportunism at all but a marriage of love, especially in the early days, I shared wonderful years with her, I needed nothing else, when we got married I was 23 and she was 21, the following year our daughter was born and I could not have been happier than so. I’ve been married for 20 years and for 19 of these 20 years I’ve had only my wife in mind, I’ve never cheated on my wife, such a thought never crossed my mind, then suddenly a situation presented itself that upset me.
We hosted in our house a nephew of my wife, a guy 22 years old, let’s call him Luke, a nice guy, I think my daughter fell in love with him, and so far there would be no problem. The fact is that one night when my wife was not there because she went to her mother, I did one of the rare erotic dreams (a wet dream) of my life and I dreamed of Luke, I dreamed that he wanted to be hugged by me, and we ended up to the intimate caresses and I have arrived to the orgasm. In the dream it was all very nice, but when I woke up and I remembered what I had dreamed of, the world collapsed on me, I felt dirty both because it was a homosexual dream and because Luke is 22, almost my daughter’s age. And then I was thinking of my wife, I was wondering if I should talk to her or not about such a thing and I felt really bad. Then I told myself that dreams don’t mean anything but this was not enough for me, because in the dream I had experienced violent sexual emotions that I had never felt before, as a kind of super sexuality.
In the morning I saw Luke, who called me uncle, I felt like a traitor to the trust of that guy, even a kind of pedophile, I felt very bad but I forced myself not to show anything of what I carried within. In the evening my wife returned and we made love, it was beautiful, I would say that I seemed to be back in the early days of our marriage, I felt comforted because between me and my wife nothing had changed and if it had changed had changed for the better. I felt the nightmare of being homosexual less looming. When Luke came back to his house I felt relieved, as if the danger was over. However, I didn’t say anything to my wife because I didn’t want to shake her and also because I thought it was a passing thing. For two months I returned to my usual life.
Then, during the summer, on vacation, I found myself with a guy slightly older than Luke and I realized that I was led to observe him, he seemed beautiful, smiling, with a smile that I never saw in a girl, I remembered his voice, his gestures, his big, beautiful hands, with perfect skin. This guy, whom I will call Silvio, became fond of me, he came to our house by the sea, my wife thought he was interested in our daughter but it was not like that. Silvio came to stay with me and I was fine with him, I looked for different ways to spend some time with him, for a while it was very pleasant but then I started to be afraid to push myself too far. There has never been anything between us and Silvio treated me like a father but for me things were not exactly like that. I didn’t think of him in sexual terms and this made me feel comfortable, I tried to put aside the idea of being in love with Silvio but in fact it was so, but I repeat, no sexual fantasy about him, never, I don’t know, maybe I was repressing myself, but Silvio made me feel good. Also this time I didn’t say anything to my wife and basically I had nothing to say to her, there had never been anything between me and him, not even in a dream. But with Silvio I was less afraid of being able to discover that I was bisexual, let’s say that I took it into account at least in the abstract. I don’t speak of being homosexual but bisexual because with my wife sexual intercourse were still going well or at least passably.
In the fall a new practitioner about 25 years old came to my studio. I started doing sexual thoughts on him and my terror has begun again. I ended up to ask to be transferred to another office, but then I needed to see him and I went back where he was but he never noticed anything, even with this guy there has never been anything
but he was the first guy on whom I made erotic fantasies, in one way I was scared, but for the other I said to myself: why not? After all, such a thing doesn’t destroy my marriage, these guys don’t even know anything about it, so why deprive me of something that basically doesn’t hurt anyone? I’m bisexual, ok, I take note of it. And in the end these things are all in my imagination because it doesn’t come to my mind that I could put in crisis in my marriage and the relationship with my daughter for a sexual fantasy.
Let’s say that this is the stage where I am now, my real fear is that of escalation, that these things, which didn’t exist before and that I have gradually accepted, can then evolve presenting me the bill and maybe pushing me in some adventure that could put me in great difficulty. Until here I feel like accepting what is happening to me but I’m terrified that it does not stop here. My wife does not know anything about this and among other things I don’t know how to make her understand something like that.”
Beyond the example I have reported, situations occur in which the maintenance of the balance as it was before the emergence of homosexuality is objectively impossible. The evolution in those cases doesn’t go towards a bisexuality predominantly heterosexual, in which it is possible to contain homosexuality in the limit of episodic gay masturbation, but towards forms of exclusive homosexuality that undermine marriage and inevitably lead to separation.
In the case of Mark (the one cited above) the wife is completely unaware, but in cases where latent homosexuality evolves into exclusive homosexuality the role of the wife becomes critical because in these situations the husband intends marriage as a trap and the conjugal relationship keeps only negative aspects.
In general, husbands who come out of situations of latent homosexuality speak with their wives only if they feel the impossibility of continuing the marriage bond and in these cases, even if the husbands qualify themselves as bisexuals, it is to be believed that they are instead exclusive homosexuals.
It must be said that generally the wives consider the behavior of the husband as a result of a choice, but this doesn’t correspond to truth, it is instead the emergence of a latent sexuality, which often entails, for those who live these situations, states of deep discomfort.
If you like, you can join the discussion on this post on Gay Project Forum: http://gayprojectforum.altervista.org/T-latent-homosexuality-and-marriage
Concept of feeling of guilt
This chapter is dedicated to a reflection on the relationship between homosexuality and feelings of guilt. When a person has profoundly assimilated a code of behavior and performs actions that according to that code of behavior are reprehensible, that person experiences feelings of guilt. The feelings of guilt are the sign of the irreconcilability of having to be (behavioral code) and of being (actual behavior).
Function of the sense of guilt
It must be emphasized that the sense of guilt has a very important function in the maintenance of individual morality because its fundamental function consists in reorienting behaviors, leading them towards the respect for the rules.
An example can help to understand the concrete meaning of these concepts.
A guy receives a secret from a friend, then, with extreme lightness, he talks with other guys violating his friend’s privacy, gossip follows. The guy realizes that he has failed in the duty of confidentiality towards a friend who trusted him, he feels guilty for this, ad also feels the need to tell his friend to have stupidly told what should not have been told. The friend, seeing the real repentance of the guy forgives him. The story seems to end here, but in reality the guy who had transgressed the rule of confidentiality has learned a lesson in morality and when he will find himself in similar situations he will behave correctly. This is concretely the “physiological” function of the sense of guilt and, as we can see, it deals with fundamental psychological mechanisms of self-correction of one own behaviors.
Codes of behavior and individual well-being
In the example we have just seen, a condition has been taken for granted, that is that the violated code of behavior is a deeply assimilated and consciously shared code of behavior on the part of the guy who violated it. It is precisely this condition that leads to “physiological” feeling of guilt, that is, functional not only to restore respect for the behavioral code but also to improve the individual well-being of those who have transgressed it.
Respect for the code of behavior and individual well-being are often things very difficult to be implemented jointly or even irreconcilable and this happens when the code of behavior is not really assimilated and shared by the one who should put it into practice.
Let’s consider another example.
A guy had been induced, not to say forced, to tell his parents what his brother is doing because his parents wanted to know with whom the brother was usually talking on the phone or chatting. That guy, the first times, had adapted to the demands of his parents but then he began not to tell anything about what his brother was doing and this way he also felt the pleasure of transgressing what had been ordered by his parents. In reality the sense of guilt, anyway very relative, consequent to the transgression, was amply compensated by the conscience of having fulfilled a duty of solidarity which was considered to be of a much higher moral level than blind obedience to the parents.
It is precisely on the basis of mechanisms of this kind that even authentic acts of heroism are justified and motivated by soldiers who disobey orders in the name of respect for fundamental moral rules.
There is therefore a hierarchy of codes of conduct for which the violation of lower-level code provisions generate feeling of guilt only if the lower-level rules are compatible with higher-level moral principles, otherwise the lower-level rules are understood as substantially immoral and therefore the transgression to those norms is lived not only without feelings of guilt but even with the gratification that results from the transgression of an unjust norm.
Moral freedom and feelings of guilt
To judge a behavioral standard assimilated from the outside it is necessary to have a criterion of judgment that resides in a moral principle of a higher level, that is, to judge a norm of behavior assimilated from outside, a true free individual moral conscience is needed.
The freedom of the individual moral conscience is conquered over time and following a sometimes tortuous and difficult path.
Let us now try to take particular account of what a lot of gay guys experience every day. From a very early age hetero-centric education presents to children a well defined code of behavior for which heterosexual sexuality is the norm and gay sexuality is a deviance, heterosexual sexuality is physiology and gay sexuality is pathology. The result of this constant and subliminal process is the assimilation by all boys of a code of sexual behavior substantially heterosexual, this code will be functional for guys who will actually develop a straight sexuality but will inevitably be dysfunctional for the guys who will develop a gay sexuality.
The code of heterosexual sexual behavior, deeply assimilated by gay boys, in a phase in which there is not yet a real moral autonomy, ends up creating feelings of guilt, since a gay boy can’t however adhere to a behavioral code that is born for other needs.
Here is shown the discrepancy between the hetero norm and the individual good of the gay boy, that is not compatible with that norm. I would add that at an age in which individual moral autonomy has not yet been consolidated the rules of the hetero code will prove to be totally incontestable for the gay boy and in substance will be the only parameter of his moral judgment. Obviously the feelings of guilt will be profound and the frustrations arising from the impossibility of conforming to a code of behavior considered indisputable will produce environmental misadaptation and anxiety.
Dysfunctional attempts to overcome feelings of guilt
The mechanism mentioned above is not an abstraction and is observed systematically in younger gay boys who grew up in very religious settings. The code of behavior that that is proposed to them is slowly perceived as incompatible with the development of individual sexuality.
This results in frustrating attempts to align oneself with a sexuality that is not one’s own and, at sometimes, in real attempts to put all sexuality aside, which in turn result in heavy feelings of guilt and discouragement. Classics are attempts by gay boys to avoid masturbation or to focus their sexual fantasies on girls.
The conquest of moral freedom
Over time, however, the individual moral conscience gradually gains strength and the guys come to question the rules received from the outside and begin to feel them in contrast with other principles and above all with the principle of freedom and with the idea that “evil” is what causes real suffering in other people and not a generic transgression to a moral code supposed indisputable.
As the individual moral sense matures, guys begin to feel no more guilt related to the transgression of norms that are not compatible with their own individual moral principles. The feelings of guilt continue to exist but only in the presence of transgressions with respect to the moral principles of the guy himself, in this way the sense of guilt return to assume its physiological function as a mechanism of self-correction of individual action, which guarantees observance of the principles of a free individual morality.
We now come to consider an attitude that is not very common but neither uncommon among gay guys and that is self-degradation, the conviction of having big problems to solve and being unable to solve them, but I don’t intend here to refer to the problems arising from shyness or self-expression, I intend instead to refer to the self-degrading attitudes experienced by guys with rather free sexual behavior.
I am aware that what follows may cause perplexity and that someone will consider it an objective overturn of the most common way of thinking on the subject, but I think it is worth taking this risk.
Dangers of behavior patterns
Let’s start from a premise: we all tend to follow models of integration between affectivity and sexuality and models of couple relationships, these models can be points of reference but can also be the cause of a discomfort perceived by the guys in terms of impossibility or presumed impossibility to adapt to those models. It should be emphasized very clearly that the models of affection-sexuality integration, such as the models of couple life, represent precisely models which are often very difficult, if not impossible, to follow, i.e. models that are purely theoretical and substantially far from reality.
I try to present the concept through a concrete example. It is obvious that, at least in theory, the perfect integration of affectivity and sexuality is highly desirable, as is a couple’s life in which fidelity is absolute but, in fact, achieving full integration between affectivity and sexuality is very difficult as is maintaining an absolute couple fidelity, in particular when the couple’s life presents some tensions or when the choices at the base of the couple relationship have not been done completely freely and consciously or when the emotional exchange with one’s partner is not really deep. I mean that in order to achieve a perfect integration between affectivity and sexuality and a total mutual fidelity in a couple relationship, some preconditions must be verified, that often are not verified.
A relationship born with some original flaw will not realize the ideal models of couple life and this is not anyone’s fault but it is implicit in the premises. Often, however, gay guys are very negatively evaluated on the basis of the failure to achieve those goals and according to such evaluations they make a further logical leap, originally recognizing themselves inadequate.
Feelings of guilt induced by theoretical models
Even and especially for the most uninhibited guys, there is the idea of being somehow obsessed with sex and of being unable to live it in an affective dimension according to the commonly accepted theoretical models. Here it is necessary to define clear reference points. Sexuality is a fundamental interest for all guys, thinking about sex is a natural thing, not a pathological fixation. There are also addictions to sex but this category should be uses with great caution to avoid a too easy psychiatrization of behaviors that originally have nothing pathological but are experienced as pathological because of the fact that they are presented as such.
Homosexuality itself was considered pathological until a few decades ago and still today certain behaviors are often considered as pathological paraphilias. Exhibitionism and voyeurism have been considered pathological behaviors but, let’s understand each other well, a guy who is pleased with his own sex and shows it off online to another guy, perhaps in a sexually involving situation, has nothing to do with people who go around compulsively to show themselves in the nude to people completely unaware, and the same way a guy who spies on his friend (no matter if male or female) who takes a shower has nothing to do with pathological voyeurism.
Extrapolating these two examples, many behaviors in the field of sexuality, even if they don’t fall within the typical models of sexuality-affectivity integration and in the typical models of couple relationships, don’t however have anything pathological. I add an observation. We all grew up in a climate where the sexual dimension is clearly overestimated, both positively and negatively, there are sexual behaviors from which happiness is expected, but from which happiness doesn’t follow practically under any circumstances, and there are other behaviors to which we are brought to theoretically attribute a power destructive of the emotional life, even if such destructive power is not at all said to manifest actually.
Infidelity: the roots of betrayal
The spontaneous sexual fidelity is undoubtedly a symptom of the couple’s well-being. When a guy betrays, and even more when he repeatedly betrays, he is inclined to give about himself strongly negative judgments, to feel guilty for having gone to look for sex outside the couple. Rather than being dominated by feelings of guilt it would be useful for him to re-examine one’s couple life in search of what is wrong.
Betrayal very often does not result in a better psychological condition than the previous one, it doesn’t lead to building a new relationship but above all, if not only, manifests the intolerance towards the old one. And, I add, betrayal is not an unreasonable act or worse an act born of a pathological tendency to infidelity, but has roots, motivations in real life, which should be understood before thinking of being able to give any assessment of the betrayal in itself.
The real problem of the self-degradation of gay guys lies in hypothesizing their own original and somehow pathological inability to react according to the theoretical models commonly adopted and deemed indisputable, thus giving an ontological evaluation of themselves as incapable, unreliable, traitorous, etc. etc..
Frantic sexuality and emotional needs
Often the restless search for sexual contact has very little to do with sexuality in the technical sense and is the transposition on the sexual level of other needs of a largely affective type. The sexualization of affectivity on the part of a guy, especially in an environment where it is difficult if not impossible to find affective contacts, is a common reality and a guy who frequently seeks sexual contact is almost never dependent on sex but instead shows in that way his desire for affection and it is often a desire that has been frustrated for years.
The behavior of these guys appears to themselves as completely centered on sexuality but in reality, when the conditions for creating or maintaining sexual relations are not met, the emotional relationships that these guys have built up starting from sex, continue anyway, what would not happen if sexual interest were in fact the only drive to keep the relationship going. It often happens that a guy who has lived a difficult life is judged only on the basis of his formal behavior, completely neglecting all the facts that led him to those behaviors. In this way, seeing things exclusively from the outside, one can pronounce on that guy many judgements substantially unjust using abstract and moralistic categories completely inadequate to understand the substance of the problems underlying those behaviors.
Often, for a guy, the search for sexual contact is anything but a form of superficial recreation and instead has the meaning of getting involved altogether, asking the other for a real effort of understanding and participation, that is, asking the other to get out of the abstract categories of moralism.
What may appear to be a trivial sexual approach is sometimes a request for help, for understanding, a way to ask not to be classified with formal and superficial categories. A guy who, exasperatedly and I would say very emotionally and uneasily, looks for a sexual contact, certainly doesn’t want to be misjudged, he wants us to identify ourselves with his own point of view and to get to share something deeper with him.
Often, however, these guys get reactions of refusal or, worse, contemptuous judgments on the verge of immorality or even of mental illness. The discomfort in these cases can become very profound because it is experienced as a refusal of the person as a whole, generally follows a sense of inadequacy, ineptitude, inability to respect the rules that leads to self-degradation.
Internalization of the prejudice of others
A boy who feels his sexual behavior as not in line with the models of sexuality-affection integration and with the typical models of couple life, who lives a couple life in which the so-called betrayal is frequent and unsatisfactory, tends to react by blaming himself and feeling somehow unrecoverable, but the feelings of guilt are certainly not the best way to react.
One should ask oneself what is there upstream that does not satisfy, drawing the right conclusions. If the couple relationship is really lived as a value, it is possible to exit the chain of repeated betrayals, if on the contrary the couple relationship is radically unsatisfactory it is good to avoid carrying forward situations that generate more worries than gratifications. In a completely similar way a guy who tends to sexualise affectivity can feel deeply hurt by the judgment of others and can end up applying pathological categories to himself by introjecting the judgment of others, a judgment that in reality has nothing to do with the real motivations that guided that guy’s actions.
Having betrayed your boyfriend or seeking sexual contact as a substitute for emotional contact is not considered in itself a good thing, but such facts cannot and should not be considered superficially and above all cannot and must not permanently destroy, from within, the self-esteem of the guy who has betrayed (often inappropriate word) or who tends to sexualise affectivity.
Any situation can be changed profoundly if you really want it. Often, however, one gets the impression that the easiest choice is to abandon oneself to a basically passive and fatalistic position like: “I’m like that, I’m not trustworthy, I’m not worth anything!” Having betrayed your partner, even repeatedly, or having repeatedly sought sexual contact outside the couple doesn’t necessarily mean that you don’t feel affection for that guy or that you don’t have a deep affective life, it could also be so, but it could also be exactly the opposite. One thing should never be forgotten: that for a guy, before sexuality there is the need to be loved in the family, to be respected and sought by friends and to find around him a dimension of understanding and constant attention.
Moralism and inability to understand the betrayal
People often show very biased and moralistic attitudes with regard to betrayal, but such attitudes are also very schematic and superficial and certainly don’t aim to understand what there can be behind betrayal.
These attitudes are generally deeply internalized by the guys who have betrayed the partner and thus produce self-condemnations without appeal, sometimes followed by depressive states that could be avoided by seeing betrayal as a sign of the couple’s discomfort and not as something that definitely brands the person who betrays with a kind of indelible stamp. Something very similar happens with the tendency to sexualize the affectivity that is too easily judged with completely inappropriate moralistic categories that are internalized and create profound suffering.
Self-esteem and feelings of guilt
Self-esteem is one of the pillars of individual well-being, but it is a pillar whose strength depends strongly on individual experience. One of the worst things that can be done is lower the self-esteem of a guy and paste on him a label of unreliable, sexual maniac or serial traitor. The reality is often completely different from how it is represented through these appellations.
If you like, you can join the discussion on this post on Gay Project Forum: http://gayprojectforum.altervista.org/T-homosexuality-and-feelings-of-guilt
The text that follows is devoid of connotations (masculine or feminine) that allow to understand the sex of the protagonists. This story (like others with the same characteristics) can be used as a projective test. The heterosexual reader is led to read the story in a hetero key and generally doesn’t realize that it is a not sexually connoted text, the homosexual reader instead usually realizes that the text is not sexually connoted and, precisely for this reason, is less inclined to project himself into it.
This is a passage of my diary of “that year”:
« We have been friends for long time now. It’s a good feeling to have someone to call if sadness takes over, or just to talk with. Do you remember?
It was Christmas Eve. Neither of us was busy with friends and parties, total loneliness, and I called you to wish you a merry Christmas, I did it without any purpose, just as usual, but then it was different, we have been talking for over half an hour. It was nice to hear your voice. I didn’t know what to do, I thought I was making you waste time and I said: “Well, it’s better I go, otherwise perhaps you’ll be late … I think someone is already waiting for you somewhere…” and you answered: “No problem, nobody is waiting for me.”
I was perplexed, it seemed impossible to me, and that was the moment that the a fool idea flashed in my brain. I asked you: “Would you like to came here?” Your answer seemed to me very strange: “I would but I thing I wouldn’t fell at ease among your friends, I think perhaps it’s better another time.” But I was about to spend a Christmas Eve alone and I told you that I had no friends at home, I was completely alone. Everything started this way.
No more than an hour later we were in front of each other chatting in a very embarrassed way. Everything sounded strange. We put on a CD of Christmas carols just to ease the conversation and to make the long silences shorter.
My fridge was empty because I hadn’t programmed anything for that night: no wine, no sweets, in practice nothing but canned beans and rice and a bottle of tomato juice, salt and pepper. You told me: “Let’s start, I’m a little starving and you?” In practice we have spent all the time before midnight cooking. You are very well at cooking like you were a cook very refined .
Sometimes you were singing following the King’s College choir, like you were a chorister. You remembered by heart the text of those carols.
While shepherds watch’d their flocks by night,
All seated on the ground,
The angel of the Lord came down,
And glory shone around.
“Fear not!” said he, for mighty dread
Had seized their troubled mind.
“Glad tidings of great joy I bring
To you and all mankind.
There was a magic atmosphere, you seemed really exalted by that celestial joy, and I was there looking at you, looking at your flashing smile. I was happy, friendship seemed to me something wonderful. We were no more than two friends spending together Christmas Eve but it was wonderful. Or better it was normal, we were like a couple even if such a word was very far from our dictionary at that time, we were a family, with no children but just a family and the embarrassing feeling of the beginning vanished while a calm serenity took its place, as if time had stopped for a little to let us experience something new, something special, something that had been created abruptly, unexpectedly, but was nevertheless enjoyable, pleasant, I’d say absolutely particular.
The dinner was minimal, but the atmosphere was special. You had put aside every embarrassment and I was looking at you noticing for the first time haw you are beautiful, your hands, your skin, your eyes, you hair. Not that I hadn’t noticed such things before, but in those magic moments I felt upset … but no, it isn’t the right word, I felt a certain restlessness, the need to be near you, to think less and stay close to you as much as possible.
But you kept yourself at a distance, you didn’t move away from me but you didn’t encourage me and I didn’t know what to do. I wondered many times, on that Christmas Eve, what you were thinking, how you considered our strange relationship, our sharing good feelings while we were together. I expected a gesture from you that could take away all my doubts, but that gesture didn’t come. Nevertheless you were extremely happy, you were playing, you were joking, but that gesture didn’t come, and a certain discouragement began to make its way inside me.
Then the time has passed and even midnight has passed with all his emotions and best wishes and you asked me if you could stay and sleep at my house. I liked it, but at the same time I would have liked better a different epilogue. We didn’t even talk about sleeping together, I made you a bed in the room where I usually work, and you went to sleep after hugging me. It was not a formal hug, no, it was a different thing, you hugged me tightly, in a way that is certainly not that of friends but it resembles the way of lovers. It’s nice to hold the person you love in your arms, that’s undeniable, but I wondered obsessively what that embrace meant to you.
The next morning you came out of the bathroom with your hair in the wind, a very beautiful image, and with your usual smile you said: “I really enjoyed everything, I don’t think I could have spent better Christmas Eve.”
I feel really comfortable when I’m with you, it’s like I’ve always known you, it’s really a very beautiful thing. When you greeted me I wanted to hold you back, but I knew I didn’t have to do it. You hugged me again and for a few seconds more, that gesture contained a strong and clear message that didn’t need words.
You left smiling and waving your hand as if to say hello, even if we didn’t give ourselves an appointment. After five minutes I got a text message: “I love you!” »
Do you remember the first non-work mail you sent me? I kept it because I was really moved, here it is:
« How beautiful Christmas night was! The pleasure of being with a person who takes care of you, who transmits you serenity, calm, peacefulness, you feel happy, you feel you are the object of special attention, of affection, I would say almost love. When I decided to come to your house I didn’t know what to expect, in a sense I accepted the risk. My dreams could have shattered, but I also had to understand something more. I had to understand what I could be for you, what it means to you to love a person.
You have not reduced anything shattered, you have been there, I saw that you were fine but you never crossed the limit, you’ve never been intrusive, and I began to love you for this very reason. I am a person with many problems and I cannot promise you things that I could not keep, but I would like you to know that on Christmas night I was really free, in practice I felt happy and this almost never happens to me. I don’t know if we will ever be a couple in the classic sense of the term, but I believe that there is already some form of love between us, I don’t think this word is exaggerated.
You will have to be patient, I must learn what it means to feel loved, because I don’t think it has ever happened to me, but this time things could really be different. In short, if you think it is appropriate to start believing in something better, well, then I too think that we can try.»
Now I greet you, I needed to feel you somehow present, and write this mail made me relive some very nice things!
I’m waiting for you as soon as possible! When you’re not here I miss you very much!
If you like, you can join the discussion on this post on Gay Project Forum: http://gayprojectforum.altervista.org/T-christmas-eve-a-text-not-sexually-connoted