This long post contains an exchange of emails between me and a guy, a 22 year old student, on the issues of gay sexuality. My partner has authorized me to publish the texts anonymously (Mark is a fictitious name), what I do willingly, because it is a very serious correspondence that also helped me to reflect on many aspects of gay sexuality.
By Mark to Project – Saturday, March 6, 2010 22:16:55 +0100
Hello Project, I didn’t get an email from you from about fifteen days … are you okay?
I wanted to know whether the considerations I expressed about your work were helping or not.
I saw on the website that you have responded to a guy about 20 y. o. who did not know if he was straight or gay.
I could not help but notice, again renewed in this case, your strong dedication to the consideration of the masturbatory sexual component as an essential component of the self-identification as gay guy … And, I tell you honestly … I felt bad.
I felt bad because for a moment I had the impression that you could have some hesitation in the answer (now that is quite a bit that I don’t receive your emails) just for the fact that I almost reversing your thinking, focused my attention on the emotional components rather than on the sexual ones (what seems the pivot on which you base your idea of sexual orientation) …
Please tell me that I thought wrong. I care a lot to be able to build this Project with you, and with anyone else who wants to join our strength to build a place for people to be able to call it “home.” In truth I tell you that I do this for the most part because I’m not belonging to anything in this world for me void of affection.
If you do not belong to any reality, to any person, and most do not even have a way to help others to feel part of something good (to have a “home” in which to return), you feel even more lost, weak, sad.
I do not know if you can understand what I mean. And a little I feel guilty because of all this so “noble” talking only for the salvation of my soul. But I am a human being limited as much as all the other men who tread this earth. I live for my desire to live and my happiness, even before that of others. I’m restless, I’m really afraid of what I might happen in the future.
I’m afraid of losing also that little feelings I live.
I’m afraid of not being able to financially support my family now that it’s needed. I’m afraid that I’m never going to be happy with another guy (even at the level of deep friendship). I’m afraid of tears that are streaking my face now, afraid of all the horrors and weaknesses that I hide.
Forgive me for these long complaints, but I need to vent to someone and you’re the only one with whom I can freely talk about these things. Forgive me if I use you. I did not want to write all these things, but in the end I did it to myself and to tell things clear and round.
Hello Project, please answer me. Even if you were mad at me for anything, because I appeared cold and arrogant in my technical speeches, or anything else, please answer me. Alone I cannot really take all this weight on my shoulders. Please.
By Project to Mark – Sunday, March 7, 2010 08:54:50 +0100
I’m not at all angry with you and would love to continue to work with you on the testing of the Project, it’s just that now I’m swamped with work, that I have a lot of things to do that I cannot even begin and I have deadlines coming and there is no procrastination. The email I posted on the blog is not recent, I got it when I had time to devote to these things. And I’d love to have some more. To the question about the relation between masturbation and affection, frankly, I do not see why the two should not go together. Physical sexuality and emotions are not separate things, masturbation is a way to live affective strong couple’s feelings when you cannot really live them in other ways. When a guy falls in love with another guy, he begins to masturbate thinking about that guy, and this thing has exactly the value of a deep desire for intimacy with that guy. It’s obvious that sexuality without feelings is meaningless and cannot be rewarding, a typical case is that of sex with strangers who you will never see again, but masturbation dedicated to a guy you love is a sign of deep involvement, sexual and affective together, towards that guy. I do not think at all that you’re wrong to base things on the affective dimension, I rather think that masturbation is the expression of a deep drive, emotional and sexual together, towards another guy, somehow it’s a concrete affectivity that is also expressed at genital level. Frankly I do not think that what you say is substantially different from what I say.
I am very sorry instead of reading the last part of your email, because you seem quite discouraged and I do not want that to happen at all. I’m not gone, and I’m not going to disappear but I feel crushed by the enormous amount of work that I have to do and I cannot postpone. I will try to be more present, but, I repeat, I’m not going to disappear, away.
A strong hug and be courageous! You must go on!
See you soon, Mark!
By Mark to Project – Monday, 8 March 2010 00:11:58 +0100
Hello, I’m sorry for the discouragement that I have expressed in the email. It’s just that lately there are so many bad things happening all at once and I feel that I often lack the inner strength to cope with all the chaos of my life. I’m sorry I made you truly feel the weight of my tears, but unfortunately I couldn’t stand it anymore, and I felt the need of venting with someone who could understand me. Forgive me really, I did not even look so weak in your eyes, because I would be much stronger now to face not only my problems but also those of others (or at least that’s what I want). If by chance you ever need any help from me, or just want to take something out with someone, you can easily talk to me because I am here to listen. At least this is just to make it clear that this is what I really want. It’s something that goes beyond the fact of lending you a hand just for “sense of duty”.
As for the speech about masturbation I have to say that I agree with you that masturbation fantasizing of another guy is a sign of wanting to become more intimate with that guy, of wanting to love that guy. On the other hand, however, I perceive that something is wrong in this statement. It’s a perception that I feel, it’s not a kind of certainty that I’m convinced of, anyway I’ll try to explain. . . no doubt that a guy who likes another guy may live through the masturbation his affection for the guy he is in love with. But, besides the fact that I think that the masturbation comes from affection but affection never comes from masturbation, I want to expose my personal feeling: I could never masturbate thinking about the guy I love, because I feel that I would make him “dirty”, or at least it would seem to me that I’m diminishing the affection and the respect I have for him because I imagine him in sexually exciting situations. It’s like I’d put some partition wall to prevent sexuality to touch things I love, because I deify that things and do not want them “lose value” reduced to a sexual fantasies suitable to my simple physical satisfaction.
At the same time I see the idea of sex between people who love each other as something right and good, and I allow that starting from the affective feelings they could end up to step forward towards more explicit sexuality (but not lived to oneself through masturbation, like I said before).
I cannot describe my feelings better, but I think they are already quite understandable. What do you think? a) These ideas are just mine? b) Is there some truth in my speech? or c) I’m at some stage of rejection of sexuality or so d) Other?
Perhaps I don’t know how reality is experienced by other gay guys, or rather I am becoming more and more a aware of that. And based on what I see, I would say that there are guys who quietly masturbate thinking about guys they like, in full awareness of all the sensations you feel to masturbate thinking of the loved guy. [Is it so or not?]
For me sex is just an extension of the affection I feel for a person, it is not mandatory that there is, and it is by virtue of that that it seems to me to deflower the purity of the guy I love while I figure him in erotic situations. Such things are not necessary to convince me of the goodness of the affection I feel for that guy, but I also consider selfish in itself the idea of reducing at my mercy another guy (in the erotic fantasies of course) to reach orgasm.
I don’t know, what do you think about? Am I the only one who thinks so or there are many young people who think like me? If we were a lot of people thinking so, what element of truth to be learned may be found in our thinking? Or maybe in the end I’m just a person with a frigid sexuality? [Although I’m not so for various reasons that I don’t list here]
I await your response [maybe in a week. . . no, obviously I will not urge you to do things in a hurry. Simply I’d like to hear from you as soon as possible to be able to think about in turn and then * I think * that a week would be enough to think about what to say and find the time to tell me it] [I would also like to know what you think about what I said in my email regarding your future test on sexuality: whether you have criticisms to make, whether you share fully what I told you … always within the limits of your possibilities of time and energy that you can spend, of course]
Hello again and thank you very much for the loving care that you give me. I hope for you that the problems at work are not too heavy. I would really be friendly closer to you.
See you soon.
By Project to Mark – Tuesday, 9 March 2010 06:55:46 +0100
first of all you do not have to apologize for anything, we do not need formalities, I’m sorry to hear you a little discomforted, I wish you could feel another way. Not only you don’t create problems of any kind but in the end this exchange of emails is a bit a pause in the midst of the absurdity of social life and work, a rare moment in which I can be what I’m and I can say what I think. For me these emails have the meaning of the safety valve and are things that I live like good moments to which I’d like to spend more time.
But let’s get to the question of masturbation. It sounds crazy, but still in the twenty-first century we are on the subject of deeply rooted prejudices and conditioning. Physical sexuality today not only is lived without serenity but is loaded with many mythical meanings and is conditioned by many taboos. It is the legacy of centuries of Catholic culture, convictions and repression. There is little to do, the damage remains. Einstein said that it is easier to break an atom than a prejudice! The distinction affection/sex repeats the distinction soul/body: all that is noble comes from the soul (affectivity), all that is “dirty” comes from the body (sex). This suggests that sexuality intended not for procreative purposes is “dirty” and that a love interest ennobles the person you love, and a sexual interest degrades that person. In fact, the distinction between body and soul does not make sense, it is an indissoluble unity, and so it makes no sense the split between affectivity and sexuality. Beyond the divisions inherited from a bipolar culture (good/bad, soul/body) there is a unitary dimension to which should be given the right value. We agree about the fact that it makes no sense to think of a sexuality without affectivity, such things dig a rift between affectivity and sexuality, but in the same way does not make sense an affectivity without sexuality. When a guy falls in love with another guy, if between the two there is not and there cannot be any physical contact (typically the case of gay-straight relationships), this does not mean that the relationship is desexualized. Certainly it is not desexualized on the gay side, but, if sexuality is considered as a form of physical pleasantness rather than as a genital reaction, some sexual involvement also exists on the hetero side, this is the case of all forms of camaraderie, which are not read as something related to sex but as something related to friendship, but they probably have to do with sexuality much more than we think. So we can talk of relationships that do not have obvious sexual manifestations, but not of relationships that do not involve sexuality which is a ubiquitous reality that accompanies the life of an individual in all its manifestations.
Given the above, if making a mental operation we for a moment put in brackets preconceptions about physical sexuality, there is no reason to give it a negative value as it was something that can contaminate and destroy. The physical sexuality is one of the manifestations of affectivity and should not be demonized. There is still the idea that the sacrifice is good while the pleasure is bad, but it’s nonsense. Add that sexuality is too often suppressed in all its forms, and about masturbation, it resists the idea that it is a form of sexuality not emotional and not related to the couple’s life but almost exclusively selfish and for the individual pleasure. These concepts have no basis in reality.
Through the masturbation we tend to create mentally and physically the contact which in the reality cannot be created. This is certainly an activity that involves in an essential way the image of another person, which prefigures a sexual partnership or even tends to relive it in a less abstract form that that of pure memory. No one can be dirtied by the masturbation or by the fact of being part of masturbatory fantasies of another guy. In fact masturbation is a sign of deep both sexual and emotional involvement. You cannot deny that when a guy masturbates thinking of another guy at the base there is a strong emotional relationship, that is a dream of love (and sexuality) that is not reducible to pure physical outlet.
Mark, I do not want to add more. Try to stay calm, I tell you by heart although I understand that it is difficult. A hug.
By Mark to Project – Tuesday, 9 March 2010 16:34:40 +0100
first of all, before I forget it: I noticed that you’re writing with the same character in the same size. . . it’s not necessary if you do not like. Not that I have sight problems or something it’s just that I like writing more substantial, especially if the emails I write or read are particularly articulated.
That being said I thank you for reminding me of the deep emotional need that sexuality sublime, also through masturbation thinking about the guy you love. Not having had much experience of life in general I easily forget that sexuality is above all this. As you rightly say it is not true that the sacrifice can only be a good thing and pleasure on the contrary an evil thing. But I also wanted to let you know that my difficulty in masturbating in this sense does not come from a religious background [my religion does not meddle in my sexuality], but from my view of the moral values that briefly says “I do not want mix the physical to the spiritual for the simple fact that I want to think about that guy for what I really love of him, that is his soul. His body attracts me, it is true, but I feel in love with his spirit that for me is worth a lot more and do not want to draw attention away from the soul to look at a (physical) beauty that is naturally lower than the first beauty.”
Now, I imagine that you will easily emphasize that affection without sexuality is something of a trunk … and certainly the reality is exactly as you say. But I come up with an anecdote which I consider much more convincing than my own version of the facts to clearly explain: Have you ever read (or better do you remember) the Divine Comedy? Something very strange happened in the great book of Dante Alighieri, I have never been able to explain, to give it a meaning, a dimension of justice true and irrefutable. I am referring to Dante’s journey in the group of lustful persons. . . as we all know there dwell the souls of Paolo and Francesca. . . and I never understood why. I wondered why. They loved each other with a love pure and worthy to exist… but then why? Even my teachers never gave me a good explanation about that. It’s true that they were marked by the assassination of her husband, but the man was a horrible person and their souls still had to end up among the murders, right? But according to what Dante says I’m wrong. Even now I cannot understand why, but it happened to me a few years ago to see the reading of the passage by Roberto Benigni and he taught me that you shouldn’t look at the beauty of the body, but to that of the soul, the only true and eternal. If you remain watching enraptured for too long ephemera (here the beauty of the body), you end up losing sight of the true beauty that lies within all things: to be too materialistic leads to not being able to reflect on the beauty and rarity of a rainbow (as actually happened), not to look beyond how things look; for example: if a person is physically bad for us, it doesn’t matter if has a beautiful soul. If we don’t refine our soul by looking to the true spirit of things, that person will remain for us always a bad person, although maybe it is the sweetest person in the world. . . and also in the case in which we know that that person is a sweet person, we don’t stop, however, to take into account only and exclusively the physical appearance. It may seem impossible, perhaps, but this is the reality: I personally know people who think this way. They do not have the slightest idea of what beauty is.
I also add one thing that I really happened: there was a time when I was constantly drawn to the physicality of the guys. … and I invariably ended up not being able to see all the beautiful things that life offered me. All missed opportunities. All opportunities for growth as a person, as a human being with a valid level of humanity, relentlessly lost. Do you understand what I’m saying?
Let me be clear that I am not saying that sexuality is something “dirty” [despite the fact that I had mistakenly introduced this concept in my previous mail], but that I’m a guy who maybe also gives too much significance to affection reducing the sexual aspect.
More precisely, I masturbate easily on pornographic images I find on the net, but not thinking about the guy I’m attracted to: it is obvious that I do not feel affection towards the porn and then I have no problem to masturbate using the support they give me.
In conclusion of the speech I’m probably slightly sexually deviant (in the sense that it’s hard to restrain me to the normality and that my abnormalities arise from some difficulties between me and sex)
I close my speech leaving it open to all your considerations that will be warmly welcome.
I hope that in the future will be better also our problems for study, work and family.
Bye, see you soon.
By Project to Mark – Tuesday, 9 March 2010 18:09:14 +0100
well, I do not deny that reading your email I thought a lot about a form of sublimation of sexuality. This emphasis on the separation between the spiritual and the physical, and the idea of masturbation on pornography but not on the guys you’re attracted to, even if not immediately, come from religious education are inevitably affected by that climate of which there are still heavy traces even in places where we least expect to find them. You attenuated expressions, in the sense that you do not speak any more of “dirty” but of losing sight of the spiritual, but the substance looks the same. It makes me think that you said that when you were more attracted to corporeality of guys you missed opportunities. Frankly I do not understand why a physical attraction should end up to turn away from the spiritual-emotional contact with a guy. As you can read in many parts of the forum, there are many guys who use the word “dirty” when they masturbate thinking about a guy, and the more that guy is important for them the more they live with the guilt that they masturbate thinking of that guy. Although this thing appears to me at first sight as a consequence of a repressive form of education, I cannot deny that this mechanism is not at all uncommon. At the end pornography is something much more neutral and less addictive but I wonder if this way you do not end up removing all of the emotional dimension that masturbation should also have. I do not understand why physical sexuality cannot be a vehicle of emotions. At the end the use of pornography demeans masturbation because detaches it from real life and helps to create models of sexuality completely divorced from the experience and substantially devoid of emotions. Then when it comes to the couple’s life problems emerge connected right to the division between affectivity and sexuality. Living a couple’s life between two guys is to live in a perfectly integrated union of affectivity and sexuality. A guy needs an affective sexuality and being used to a non-emotional masturbation can create difficulties. It is clear that there may be many situations in which there can’t be any sexual outlet and in such situations perhaps the sublimation of physical sexuality and the confinement of masturbation to a purely technical activity on the basis of pornography may have very specific reasons, just because in those situations affectivity and sexuality must be distinguished.
Sexuality formed on a masturbation dependent on pornography has also another aspect that can create difficulties: it prevents the development of spontaneous sexuality, that is not conditioned by models. Because in the life of a couple the sexual satisfaction is linked precisely to the fact that we can fulfill at a greater or lesser extent fantasies already experienced during masturbation, it’s found that young people who have developed a spontaneous sexuality not affected by pornography, generally live couple’s sexuality with significantly higher levels of satisfaction, precisely because of their spontaneity. Between guys who grew up on pornography and those who never used pornography, sexual archetypes are quite different and this means that the couple’s incompatibility between a guy growing up on pornography and a gay stranger to pornography is much more pronounced. Reflecting more closely on the sublimation and the separation between affectivity and sexuality I come to the conclusion that, because it is a very real phenomenon and quite common, there must also be some very serious reasons that ultimately suggest a choice like that, at least in certain circumstances. Frankly, I’m inclined to think that it is the real impossibility of living the physical sexuality in a spontaneous way and free from taboos that leads to sublimation which essentially derives from the need not to dream of things that would not be possible to obtain. Probably things are more complex and deserve a more serious analysis from other points of view.
Mark, you never degrade. Your email has been pleasing me and I responded right away because I found the time to do it and especially because I was glad to do it. A hug.
By Mark to Project – Saturday, March 13, 2010 00:45:35 +0100
I’m sorry because I’m going to send my email just now, I hope you will not be worried about me or whatever. . . However, I thought a little about the speech on masturbation / sublimation / emotions / sexuality. Meanwhile I answer to your statement “It makes me think that you said that when you were more attracted to corporeality of guys you missed opportunities. Frankly I do not understand why a physical attraction should end up to turn away from the spiritual-emotional contact with a guy.” Maybe I was not very clear, but I did not mean by the words “lost opportunities” that I have removed some “spiritual-emotional contact with a guy”. The opportunities that I missed are those that I explain later, that I had lost the ability to value the good things we have / are-around. I was no longer able to understand their beauty because I was completely taken by something that took away the time and the desire to feel the presence of the rest of the world around me.
But beyond this I wanted to add a point to your talk about the division between sexuality and emotions. I wanted to say that as you say you should do a more thorough investigation to discover the nature of this psychic phenomenon (especially because I think that this “choice” that many guys make is not really one but there are several different choices from guy to guy). Also reflecting on the things I’ve written I feel compelled to make explicit my thoughts: in all honesty I had a bad start by introducing the concept of “sin” related to affective masturbation … because what I fill is really something larger, and I feel that a guy can get into trouble in front of this particular masturbation exactly because it “dirties” the other. In reality is that you cannot spontaneously masturbate thinking of the loved guy if the affection you feel towards the other guy has its origins in a genuine interest toward the personality of the other. In other words, “I have built a special relationship of friendship, trust and affection with the guy, and I realized to feel love for him. I want to live all the emotions I feel for him. My heart loves him desperately, I desperately want to love him and continue to love him indefinitely.” Be madly in love is an action that involves not only the continuous love, but also the desire to love above all. This love is a tyrant, in the sense that claims for itself all the emotional space in the mind of the guy, and this because feeling affection for each other takes here the connotation of maximum realization of our emotional fulfillment. So we can deduce that: feel affection = maximum happiness, so masturbation is excluded because it is not loving the guy’s spirit, but only want his body, this way we are diverting us from the aforementioned “greatest happiness”. If in such a situation of “falling in love” you should realize that your body (or rather your subconscious? / Es? / Instinct? ) Is not so much addressed to psychic satisfaction but, in turn, aims to find a vent, that’s where the needs of the person resulting from “emotional thinking” (love the soul) collide with the needs of the “physical attraction” (love the body) and it comes out quite a conflict of priorities. Could this be an explanation, despite its “sordid” aspect? Consider that my hypothesis could be corroborated from the obvious annoyance factor to a healthy emotional development represented by pornography and, more generally, by the commodification of sexual messages that is shown every day by the media and repeated by behaviors / attitudes / speeches made between the guys. This disorder can occur especially if you re-read the codes supplied to us by pornography and the media through the already secularized reading key of dualisms “good / bad” – “body / soul” – “purity – sin.” [Ergo: if you mix the message of pseudo-religious moralistic nature with that of debasement of morality provided by the “dimension of pornography” added to that of the “gospel of popular culture, according to the media” you definitely get a lot of people who find it difficult to give the due weight, natural and cultural, to their sexuality, or rather I say, to sexuality itself as definition and as fact].
There’s a sentence you wrote the meaning of which I have not understood: “It is clear that there may be many situations in which there can’t be any sexual outlet and in such situations perhaps the sublimation of physical sexuality and the confinement of masturbation to a purely technical activity on the basis of pornography may have very specific reasons, just because in those situations affectivity and sexuality must be distinguished.”
You have not explained why “… affectivity and sexuality in those situations must be distinguished.” Unless you tell me your point of view I cannot understand what you mean.
Greetings and thanks again for everything,
By Project to Mark – Sunday, March 14 2010 09:06:36 +0100
to be honest I noticed a delay in your reply and I was going to write but just opened the pc and I found your mail and then, as usual, I’m answering late.
I start from the end. There’s a thing I notice in chat with guys: the sublimation of sexuality often accompanies falling in love with a straight guy. A gay guy falls in love with his straight friend, in the end, apart from the very remote hypothesis that the friend could discover himself gay, he knows that his friend is and will be straight and that with him he is allowed to live at most a good relationship in affective key (What really happens, sometimes), but he also knows that with his friend there can be no sexual contact. In these terms, it is almost obvious that the physical sexuality is put in brackets, but I’m talking about couple’s physical sexuality. Frankly, it seems almost impossible that a gay guy in love with his straight friend sublime even the sexuality of masturbation,
I would say that in general what it is impossible to live at the level of couple can be lived through masturbation and the image of the friend will be the dominant sexual fantasy. Of course there is a dimension of frustration in all of this but it is accepted because of the fact that with his straight friend he creates a virtual physical relationship through masturbation.
You say that it’s impossible to masturbate thinking of a friend when the interest towards that friend is a genuine interest in his personality, well, frankly, it’s not what I see, because saying that “masturbation is excluded because it is not love the guy’s spirit, but only want his body” is a true removal / sublimation, dualism here comes again. Those conflicting priorities come just from thinking soul and body as two different things including the need to establish an order, but from what I see things generally follow other logics. Masturbate thinking about a friend and even more share with that friend a sexual intimacy is to feel a bond, a deep connection that cannot be reduced at all to the only physical involvement but also involves and very strongly the sphere of sentiments. I have seen many times gay guys deeply in love with a friend of theirs, which of course masturbated thinking about that friend or even had sex with that friend, who, when the opportunity came, have shown total dedication to that guy and there was nothing in the emotional level that was set aside or that has been lost because the friend was the subject of masturbation fantasies. I’m not inclined to think that physical sexuality may itself have a negative value but I think that I’d not say the negative value, but also the simple need to establish a hierarchy between sexuality and affection, as if they were separate things, is no more than the result of the culture of repression, which can be felt everywhere.
Think of the school, which is attended by guys aged 14 to 19 years, where teachers talk about everything from Greek tragedy to the theorems of mathematics, well in high school teachers never talk seriously about sexuality, which is a contradiction, and even less talk about masturbation, as if it was something that simply doesn’t exist, while these things are objectively fundamental for the guys are. It is clear that those who grow up with the idea that about some things it’s impossible to speak except in jokes, end up with the idea that the feelings and physical sexuality are different things but in reality it is not so, I’ll take an example, why do you think people fall in love so deep, with real forms of suffering and addiction, when they are young, 20/30 y. o. and these things do not happen when they are 50/60 y. o., or if happen, they happen so much more bland? The answer lies in the fact that the physical and hormonal substrates are different and in the fact that for a young man falling in love depends largely on his sexuality that is in his full power, sexuality and emotional entanglements follow the same curve over the years because are substantially the same thing.
Then there is the problem of religion, another powerful boost to dualism and the removal of physical sexuality, which, however, now has a weight not very high in a very significant percentage of cases.
The real core issue of sex education is that it is in practice totally entrusted to pornography, and this is clearly demonstrated by surveys of Gay Project, this fact means that the word sex will become almost synonymous with pornography. For a twenty year old guy today, think about an affective sexuality is less straightforward than in the past because for him the sex has little to do with friendship and love, and is strongly conditioned by pornography.
There are gay movies, not pornographic, with explicit sex scenes framed in a deeply emotional story truly engaging, these films are experienced by gay guys with deep emotion because guys see the emotional value of sexuality. The problem of pornography is not the fact of showing explicit sex scenes but the fact of showing “only” explicit sex scenes, as if the sexual intercourse between two people was just that. I wrote gay novels in which there are the lives of gay men, and where of course there is also room for physical sexuality among gay men because physical sexuality is a normal part of life. Well, of those novels I have published online several chapters, with cuts for reasons related to the fact that I have published them on a website without restrictions, that is open to everyone, in any case, the physical sexuality is strongly present. The guys who have read these chapters sent me emails to tell me beautiful things because they have read a love story, something they can dream about, which also involved physical sexuality, but a true love story, that has put “together” physical sexuality and feelings.
A hug Mark. See you soon.
By Mark to Project – Sunday, March 14, 2010 22:19:37 +0100
But in fact, I’m sorry if I insist, Project, what I was trying to say in the first email is just that the dualisms “soul – body”, “sex [whose idea is borrowed from pornography [and that is seen as dirty] – love [pure, so full of feeling that makes us feel good about themselves and with each other]” are concepts really very popular. The destructive power they have on the emotional lives of many guys is disarming and can easily lead people to feel uncomfortable where it should not happen.
I have set the first case of a guy who likes another guy and considers masturbating on him as something “dirty” … and I think that goes for all the guys, if you love a guy you feel a certain degree of physical attraction to him, but at the same time if you feel that masturbating thinking about him is “dirty” then you suppress this desire. . . But inevitably it happens that the part of you that gets excited thinking about him begins to act against your conscious will of repression of sexuality. And this is the “conflict of priorities” that I mentioned before: the conscious yourself (as Freud would say the EGO) and the subconscious yourself (to quote Freud, the ES) fight each other … and the EGO will come out easily defeated in this war if para-moralistic conditionings derived from SUPER-EGO (a term coined also by Freud) meddle in the Battle. And this is what I mentioned earlier.
As for my personal situation, I tell you that I could not masturbate thinking about the guy I love because I cannot give the masturbation those affective meanings you underline so strongly. The truth is that you say that masturbation “should” have an affective origin, but unfortunately it happens that is not experienced this way by people, including myself.
I masturbate in my solitude, alone, because of my personal desire for sexual satisfaction. No one is there with me when I do it, and I never developed the desire to live that moment with someone else to give each other pleasure through mutual masturbation.
The core issue is that pornography is my only strong reference model to sexuality.
But also the lack of positive experience with a guy in terms of living masturbation with him and with affection makes me feel impossible to masturbate thinking of another guy, what I consider “empty in itself”, I would almost say “dirty” (because if you empty the practice of masturbation of affective values, the only thing you do when you masturbate becomes exploit the thought you have of that guy whom you love for your pleasure only selfish).
I repeat and I remind you that I understand your logical discourse on the fact that masturbating thinking of a guy you love is a sign of affection towards him. I understand that at the level of discourse, but for the reasons mentioned above it is impossible for me to live this situation. I am not able to feel anything that can lead me to affective masturbation (because I do not have a single affective memory associated with that person at the level of intimacy), but I aim only to my sexual satisfaction (because for me masturbation has only this meaning).
In addition, there is one thing that left me badly and I do not agree: you say that love is felt most powerfully by young 20/30 y. o. than in the 50s for natural reasons due to hormonal changes … I’m sorry, but I cannot share this idea with you. I do not doubt the fact that young gay men are more active on the sentimental level because of hormonal factors, but I do not feel right to give Mother Nature all this weight on less passionate loving ability in more mature men. What is the value of the various psychological and / or social conditionings? For example the fact that men aged 50 or more may have gained a certain experience in this field than that brought them to diminish the need of “falling in love” (because they have lived longer and have done a lot of bad experiences, or even only so many experiences and so have come to “be bored of love”), and I say instead that yes maybe young adults are more passionate, but perhaps adults are more aware of the meaning of “loving and be loved”, and that depends on the person’s inner experience and how the person acts and reacts during life? [Trivial example: the fact of being forever young even at advanced ages] … You have narrowed the individual capacity of falling in love to a mere function of the greater or lesser presence of hormonal storms in the individual … Your exact words: ” sexuality and emotional entanglements follow the same curve over the years because are substantially the same thing ” … Don’t you think this statement is excessive?
Sorry if I was a bit vehement in saying things, but the ideas came to my mind like a torrent. Think well on some of these, in particular those relating to the destruction and lack of emotional values that the pornography leads to and those about the fact that avoiding strong affective experiences can trigger mechanisms for “blaming the masturbation of being mere act of self-fulfillment.” I think it is very important to analyze these points in order to try to understand the patterns of affectivity and sexuality of gays, both young and mature.
A big hug to you too,
By Mark to Project – Monday, March 15, 2010 18:49:28 +0100
And just because I wrote my ideas without putting them in order and without meditating on them step by step, reading the mail, I noticed that I wrote some things badly …
1) Where I say that EGO is easily defeated I mean that the tensions that ES and SUPER-EGO create, between each other, contrasting tensions because the “moralistic reasons” of the second attempt to repress the impulses of the first, can lead the EGO, that is the guy with his impulses, to feel pain because he is behaving “so dirty”.
In other words, being divided between the desire to love freely (which includes masturbation) and the dualistic conception of “pure – unclean” is really overwhelming. It’s a thing that at opposite ends can lead to painfully stretch the psycho-sexual balance of a guy, or can be resolved more often in denying masturbation through moralism. In any case, the two are both wrong and deeply unfair.
2) When I say “masturbation is not lived in affective sense by people” it’s obviously a very big generalization. I am convinced that many people are able to feel that little bit more in this particular type of auto-eroticism.
But this does not diminish my belief that many other gay guys like me find rather serious difficulties in this regard.
Well, I just had to send the mail with these corrections … no, mostly because rereading what I had written before I said to myself “but if someone reads these things can consider me madman!”
Is it okay to express your point of view, of course, but surely we must be moderate and thoughtful in doing so. Be fundamentalists does not lead to anything, except perhaps if you are absolutely right (but perhaps even in those rare cases where you are absolutely right it is better to be moderate, for many other reasons)
Okay, I greet you from again. [And if you find other things that you consider outside the lines, wrong, or just have criticisms of various kinds, never hesitate to let me know, please. I want to maintain a relationship as more honest and productive as possible with you]
By Project to Mark – Tuesday, 16 March 2010 09:06:36 +0100
I begin by telling you one thing. This exchange of emails is making me think about a lot of things I had not considered and about many that I had taken for granted. I must say that the level of analysis and comparison is extremely serious and eventually helps, and not a little, to understand things better. For this reason, I had thought that these e-mails, maybe suitably revised so as not to put absolutely at risk the privacy, could be published because they could really help many guys to understand more deeply the meaning and complexity of sexuality. I’d like to know what you think about. Of course, If you think for any reason it is not appropriate, of course emails will remain private.
As to your last email, I start from the end. Through Gay Project I happened to speak with many people of many different ages, but the vast majority were between 18/20 and 30 y. o.. If you look at the people who fill out and submit the form of the online interview on gay sexuality you can see that the average age is 24.76 years. People over 35 are few, the over forties are rare and I knew only three people over the age of fifty, in over three years of operation of “Gay Project”. Explain these data with the fact that more mature people are not used to using the internet is misleading. Basically the interest in sexuality and also in the affective dimension decreases with age. I could say that the more time passes the more decreases the interest in building an emotional and sexual life with another person. A gay man aged 40-45 years has lost in large part his enthusiasm and begins to grow in him the belief that in the end the loneliness, but we should say being single, it’s not something so tremendous, and that building stories solely to overcome loneliness is something to avoid. Of course on the evolution of emotional and sexual history of people weigh very much personal experiences and also the idea that in the end undermine the individual traditional way of life to try to build a little forcedly a story that may in fact appear like another complication, maybe not worth it. The question is similar to the problem of the classic ” You need to find settlement” that mothers say to straight guys who are not really inclined to marriage. At a certain age, the building of a relationship no longer has a really deep emotional and sexual motivation but is designed to meet abstract and rational and much less instinctual motivations, both emotionally and physically. Beyond a certain age, couples are essentially forms of mutual assistance, that have a dignity, all right, but with sexuality and sexual emotions have little to do. Not that I want to belittle the affective dimension that can be experienced when you are aged 50 years or more but it’s objectively different from that of a guy aged twenty. A twenty-something living in love feels deep feelings of enthusiasm and even shocking deprivations, for him sexual dimension is really fundamental to the point that imagine to deprive a guy aged twenty of a sexual dimension, even livable individually through the masturbation, would mean impose on him a heavy sacrifice. For a man over fifties it’s certainly not the same thing, sexuality gradually loses weight with the passing of years to the point that chastity is not even a sacrifice, given that in fact the drives to hold are very milder. A love story between two men fifty y. o. has little to do with an apparently similar story between two guys in their twenties. There is not only a different physical sexuality, but as a result of a different way of living physical sexuality, much more sporadic and far less compelling, even affection somehow degrades and is replaced by other values, most worthy, however, such as fidelity and mutual respect in a dimension of conservative rather than creative affectivity. A twenty y. o. who falls in love creates, begins an affair, experiments, compares, experiences, grows, a 50 y. o. must first put aside the habits, needs to adapt to upset at least a little daily rhythms of his life and it is not absolutely easy, the weight of established ways of life remains as a substrate beyond the emotional story that is built.
I began to write this e-mail before receiving your clarification in the night of 15, and even before receiving it the things you’ve written about masturbation seemed to me not only acceptable but definitely realistic. In fact, the emotional masturbation is a corollary of falling in love and its meaning is understandable only if you have experienced it directly. The absence of deep emotional experiences related to masturbation and the conditioning coming from pornography clearly removes from the masturbation its affective value as an experience that even if physically individual is at least mentally affective and related to the couples’ life. Gay couples, when they are forced to a temporary separation continue the couple’s relationship living it through masturbation that is useful to strengthen and not to weaken the sexual relationship of the couple. In a gay couple mutual masturbation is a normal part of sexual contact and also in this way strengthens the sense of masturbation as a couple’s experience, this time related to the couple’s relationship also physically. In these situations it is not the climax that matters but sharing a profound intimacy even sexually, having no more secrets for each other also physically. It is clear that so masturbation makes a sense eminently affective and this is what allows guys to live it as a real sexual experience, both physical and emotional.
According to the statistics, the correlation between emotional satisfaction and sexual satisfaction in masturbation is largely evident. The more intense is the level of emotional involvement in masturbation the greater is the satisfaction drawn from it at sexual level. In the absence of a genuine affective participation masturbation is not focused on a real guy, with his physique but also with his emotions, but on pornography. It is basically just the spread of pornographic model, which replaces the spontaneous and emotional masturbatory fantasies, which reduces the effect of masturbation to pure physical individual outlet.
A hug and see you soon.