A GAY PROJECT FORUM ARTICLE CITED BY IRCT

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

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If you want, you can participate in the discussion on this post open on the Gay Project Forum: http://gayprojectforum.altervista.org/T-a-gay-project-forum-article-cited-by-irct

NON-POSSESSIVE GAY COUPLE

– Virgil: hello Project!
– Project: Hello !! Nice to hear you! How are you now that you’re home?
– Virgil: eh eh, the appearance is of tranquility
– Project: Wow !!! So it must be. . . But why appearance?
– Virgil: staying here makes me a rather strange effect
– Project: well, you stay at home, with your traditional friends, with people you should know better, or at least you attended for a longer time
– Virgil: yes, but the feeling is not to know them , in reality . . . it’s like a farce. . . it’s really weird
– Project: oh oh, I can understand, in fact that’s your virtual world
– Virgil: what do you mean?
– Project: that even at home and perhaps especially at home you cannot feel free as you would like, maybe you’re more free when you’re away
– Virgil: I talk about those I’ve known for a long time. . . the feeling is that of not having (almost) ever had real conversations with them
-Project: Mh …
– Virgil: yes, indeed. . . that’s what I told you the other night. . . that with the few that I knew outside I actually had conversations really more free than those I had with the guys I had considered friends from the beginning
– Project: I understand it well, I’m old but my real world is just PG
– Virgil: even if about friends of outside I’m afraid of not being able to count on them at the moment of need . . . but maybe I’m wrong
– Project: even out there are guys ok!
– Virgil: I wanted to ask you something more about the couple freedom and possessiveness, if you have 5 minutes. . . you told me that it’s not feasible to ask for 100% of a person, a couple relationship this way could not work. . . and that often relations with third parties based on exchanges of looks or even words can be deeper than those in which there is sex
– Project: they are different things, certainly if there is a TRUE sexual and also emotional involvement, we are at another level but it is not so common, often people try to live in couple just to try and or to experience
– Virgil: of course. . . I totally agree . . . what I wanted to ask you is about a possible relationship with true emotional and sexual involvement. . . premise: in the context of such a relationship, afternoons spent chatting with other people with whom another true emotional relationship has been established should be totally normal, I mean in the context of the speech about the impossibility of asking for 100% of a person. . . question: what if these relationships with other people (both true relationships, these and that with the first person) were to be configured as a betrayal according to the common conception (i.e. they entailed pampering and, in the extreme case, sex)? Do they become wrong relationships? And if so, what does the sex element entail in making a true relationship with a third person more wrong than the true relationship with the first?
– Project: everything is in people’s brains, there are guys who “if it is not really a betrayal” don’t get upset but must first understand that their relationship is not in crisis, it is not easy for them to understand it, but if there is a true emotional relationship and it is understood that the needs the other are not superficial, it is also possible that the thing is not considered a betrayal and doesn’t undermine anything. The possessiveness is dangerous but it is the common way of seeing
– Virgil: I agree with you, but if it is the common way of seeing, it doesn’t mean that it is the best one. . .
– Project: I don’t think it’s the best one, I mean that if you really love a guy and you realize, talking to him explicitly, that he loves a third guy, possibly even with sexual involvement, if you understand that this fact doesn’t destroy your relationship, in the end you don’t stay bad and accept it. This way of looking at things is not the common way of seeing but is founded on a very deep affective relationship, more important than prejudices
– Virgil: Ok, I try to go on, what do you think of the case in which the two relationships, both true and sincere, naturally evolve towards the dissolution of the former and the strengthening of that with the hypothetical third person? Should the true relationship with the third person have been avoided? Should it have to be undertaken only after interrupting the one with the first person? (all traditional conclusions that I don’t share but that put me to the test as they represent the commonly accepted view) and, to bring the discussion to its extreme, is it possible that these true relationships can coexist?
– Project: the fact that the second relationship can become more important than the first is possible but is not automatically destructive of the former, about the coexistence of the two relationships, I think they can coexist, I have seen situations like these that lasted long, but over time then social and cultural pressure easily leads to a break of balance
– Virgil: How nice to read it from you! It a little calms me. . .
– Project: why?
– Virgil: because you have my own vision and to think that I’m the only one who thinks so it makes me feel wrong, a bit as it is, and even more previously it was, thinking of being the only one who feels affection for the guys!
– Project: affectivity has no rules and is instinctive, true betrayal consists in hiding and not saying how things really are. But if a guy who loves you tells you that he loves also another guy, what do you do? Do you drive him away because you have no more the exclusive? On the contrary you make sure that he can realize his wishes at the higher level and you don’t abandon him, if you really love him, to avoid him live as a negative thing the feelings he feels for the other guy
– Virgil: since I feel a deep esteem towards you reading you somehow makes me feel in good company
– Project: slowly this way of seeing things is spreading and it will be more and more shared, especially in the gay field
– Virgil: Really! That attitude towards affection for another guy is what I feel too!
– Project: if you love a guy, you want him to feel good not only with you but that he is well according to his way of feeling
– Virgil: I would almost say Holy Words !! Or maybe not, not words of the saints of the near future. . .
– Project: the love is not a contract, there are no conditions, there are no obligations
– Virgil: why you don’t publish this chat? (changing my name obviously) I think it can be a useful food for thought! (and also for possible moral battles)
– Project: ok, and I’ll also put it in the manual
– Virgil: I would love to know how the guys take it but I think they will not take it well
– Project: it undermines the traditional ways of reasoning, those inherited from the concept of marriage. Possessiveness is a very ingrained thing, but let’s see what happens!
– Virgil: ok, Project, thanks and see you next time, I’m going to sleep that it’s very late. A hug and goodnight!
– Project: Night and see you soon!

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A NORMAL GAY

Hello Project.
 
I was intrigued by your forum that seems to play a different music from the usual music that I find in the chats and on the dating sites. I’m over 45 and I have had my experiences. Fortunately I didn’t compromise my health, but it is not a coincidence because I have been always very careful. I cannot even say whether I’m declared or not, I know a lot of people but not all of them know about me, for example at work I think that nobody knows and the same in my family, because I live on my own.
 
At my age I got tired of the gay world. A little it is for the fact that when you’re not young you realize that things are changing but not so much because the younger guys steal you the scene but because you reaches saturation. The gay world as I knew him is made of chats, clubs, evenings and you can imagine of what else. At the beginning a lot of curiosity, you meet a gay guy, get to have sex with a guy, then you realize that the guy sooner or later will go his way and that there is nothing stable, that you are alone one of a long series and you’re not the one that matters to anyone’s life.
 
Then another guy arrives and more or less the script repeats, then another and so on, these are stories that last a few months, when it’s all right, and then end and you realize that in these things at the end there is very little spontaneous behavior and that everything is in some way preordained. A friend with whom I complained about these things told me: “but it is normal that it is so”, that word “normal” applied to the life of a gay man, sounds to me very strange. I don’t want a normal life in which a routine is repeated for which it is normal to know a guy and have sex with him the same evening but it is just as normal that it ends up in a few weeks.
 
I thought that basically it is considered normal even that someone takes HIV and unfortunately I have seen them. I was really shocked but I realized that my friends assumed that these things should happen, for them it was normal. So many times I felt stupid when I wanted to try to understand something more without taking everything for granted. For me, being gay had to be transgressive, even risky, but it certainly didn’t have to involve classification into other boxes of normality. If I’m looking for a guy and I hope it’s for more than for a few weeks, I feel not normal, because it’s normal that things should not last long and it’s stupid to expect the opposite. It’s terrible to think how much gays get caught up in the usual routine, gay life becomes a play in which the roles are already written.
 
One day, I remember it well, in a club where I used to go often I was introduced to a guy who was considered there as the best the most handsome, we talked a bit then finally he made me the usual proposal and I said no, he looked at me as if I were a moron who was throwing away a rare pearl. Project, do you imagine the stories they did when I required that they always used condoms? Well, they took me for stupid without any remedy and when someone insisted and I said no, they grimaced as to say that I was completely out of my brain. I have often felt very heavily influenced by so many rituals and clichés that I did not understand, as if the manual of young gay marmots existed. I will not tell you about the question of sexual preferences for this or that practice, all ritualized as if sexuality were that, all divided by categories: bear, sado, etc. etc. … There was some guys, we can say normal, but they didn’t last long there, in a short time they turned into standard gays of this or that category, or disappeared at all and didn’t show anymore.
 
Personally I think I have attended the most stereotypical gay environments, there were certainly different environments and, let’s say, more free, but I have seen above all conformism, or rather homologation and then fatalistic abandonment to life as it comes.
 
On your forum I see different things, I suspected that there were, but reading I could understand that they are in places where I have never gone and that I naively considered less free than those I attended. I think that today I wouldn’t be able to live a non-stereotyped life or maybe yes but I think I would limit myself to a few friendships to talk a bit. I realize that I am too old to change the road and frankly I wouldn’t even try, but I’m pleased to know that what I have tried to consider as normal gay is, in practice, a very niche reality.
 
I would like a gay life on the model of the person not on the model of the stereotype. Project, what was it for to have had so many guys if they all left? It’s not their fault, they did exactly what I did, they integrated into what they thought was the gay world and they assimilated a way of being, because being what you are it’s bloody hard.
 
Project, in the environments I attended I didn’t find bad people but only people, so many people, who desperately tried to fill the solitude with a little sex. In many of the guys I’ve had, I’ve really mirrored myself, when one doesn’t find love, when one doesn’t find respect, feels no loved by anyone, he looks for something that fills the void and begins an endless race to chase a dream of love embracing a guy he will lose after a few days.
 
I felt so many times the despair of the guys with whom I have been and sometimes I even tried to go further but I ended up not being understood anymore, they looked at me as if I wanted to invade their lives while they were there just for a moment. I felt very often the lack of communication and the desperation of many guys, who in the end were experiencing what I was experiencing. How much better would be even a simple friendship that lasts, that accompanies us for a longer stretch of road. I don’t want to be a normal gay anymore, I just want to be myself.
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SEXUAL ABUSE AND GAY SEXUALITY

Hello Project, I read your manual Being Gay, especially the chapter on sexual violence and sexual harassment. You insist a lot on the problems that the guys who have been subjected to violence or harassment can have in recognizing their sexual orientation, this is clearly very important, I don’t deny it, but you don’t deal at all with another point namely the long term effects at of violence or harassment on the sexuality of the boy who grows up and then becomes an adult. I would like to tell you about my experience, which I think could be useful to those who have lived or are living similar experiences. 
 
Currently I am 31 years old (almost), when I was a child, I was eight years old, I repeatedly suffered harassment by an uncle, a married man, with children, an quite old man, dead for several years now. Even though I’ve thought many times about those things, I can’t even tell how it started. At that time, me and my family (only my father and my mother) went on holiday in the mountains in a small village in central Italy where my mother was born and where my maternal grandparents and my uncle still lived with his family (wife and two children, my cousins, a lot older than me, at that time 16 and 18).
 
My uncle seemed to me very good-natured, quite big/fat, he had always treated me well, I played a lot with him, I climbed on his shoulders and he carried me on a horseback on his neck, I tormented him a bit, I pinched him and he laughed and let me do, he didn’t keep me at a distance. I don’t really remember how it happened, I thought about it so many times and I tried to reconstruct the scene, let’s say that the reconstruction, with all the limits it can have, is that we were alone and I touched him “there” and he let me do as he always did and then I continued and then I got the curiosity and I didn’t stop and I provoked him, he started to laugh and I teased him, then. . .
 
I don’t go into details, but we did oral sex, of course I to him, on the other hand he was not interested in me in that other sense, he just wanted me to do it to him. In the end he didn’t intimidate me to prevent me from telling other people what had happened, he knew I would never do it. The following day he avoided meeting m and I was very sad, nevertheless the following days what had happened the first time happened again and since then it happened every time we were alone together. I never said anything to anyone. At the time, perhaps I was already attracted to prohibited games or maybe I didn’t even understand what it was. I had not taken it as too important, it was a kind of game. I didn’t have a real trauma from this thing, which lasted more or less for a month.
 
I started to masturbate very early, at the beginning of the sixth grade, about 11 years old, and I had clearly gay fantasies, in my fantasies there were also, but not only, scenes similar to those that I had lived with my uncle, I made fantasies about guys well in flesh and on the kind of sexual practices I had experimented with him. Slowly I began to realize what it was what we had done, I asked myself a thousand questions, for example if I had to consider my uncle a delinquent who had taken advantage of me, or maybe I had so provoked him up to induce him to something like that, my brain often worked on these contents that always resurfaced in masturbation.
 
I’ve had several guys with whom I’ve had sex, I’ve been with men much older than me, I don’t know if this happened because I wanted to relive the situation that had lived with my uncle, but as an adult it’s completely different, even if it is with a man much older than me, there is a substantial parity, I like that they leave me free to do what I want even sexually, but we also speak, in short, it’s really another thing, we are two adults anyway.
 
I noticed that I don’t fall in love with men much older than me, I can have sex with them (a bit repeating the famous scene) but I lose my mind especially for guys more or less my age and when I lose my head I feel very bad because then maintaining a true relationship with peers is very difficult, with much older men, on the contrary it is much easier, generally (with some exceptions) they are not jealous and, contrary to what is thought, they don’t go mad for sex, they seek above all companionship and affection, but these things unfortunately cannot involve me too much.
 
I’ve never lost my mind for kids, and I’ve turned 30, I was afraid of losing my mind for some very young kids, but it never happened. The youngest boy for whom I lost the head was 18 and I was 19, but sometimes I think of watching a video that plays something similar to the famous scene with my uncle. But anyway I would not see myself in the part of the adult but in that of the boy.
 
I talked about these things with one of the adult men I have been with, but he told me that a pedophile looking for much older men is unthinkable and that all my talk on this point was nothing but the search for reassurance, that is the search for a moral approval or for some sharing or accepting and told me that fantasies are one thing and behaviors are a very different thing and that according to him, after what I had suffered as a child, the fact that I could make those fantasies was something almost inevitable.
 
It seems absurd that I am still looking for reassurance at the age of 30, but I think that’s exactly what I’m doing. I talked about these things even with young friends, about my age, but the reaction was much duller, they turned up their noses, because what they had heard didn’t fit their principles, one told me that I had to report my uncle to the police, another, after this speech, disappeared at all.
 
I notice that I tend to test the men I know by asking them what they would do if they were in a situation like that of the famous scene, on the part of the adult man, at what point they would stop, how they judge the whole thing. I always find a lot of embarrassment in these things on the part of the people I try to involve, but I need to understand how they judge those situations, namely how they judge me.
 
When my uncle died I had just turned 17, I felt a sense of terrible discomfort, not of liberation or similar things, I was just uncomfortable and for a very special reason, when my fantasy returned to what we had done I felt dirty, not for the thing in itself but for having done it with someone who was dead, a bit like putting sex and death together.
 
With regard to my uncle I always felt very ambiguous feelings, on one side, I cannot deny it, he abused me, and it was an unpardonable thing that had many consequences, but for the other, after many years, it also made me feel bad and sorry for him, because I think this thing oppressed him as a guilt till to the end.
 
I also feel a little guilty because, without giving any explanation to anyone, I avoided seeing him even when he was ill and I think if I saw him again and told him that I didn’t hate him for what he had done, he would have died more serene.
 
There is also another fact that gives me to think, sex is too important for me, at least I think it is, and it bothers me when I call one of the guys or of the older men I know to have a little sex and they are reluctant and always wait for me to make the first step, a bit like sex is less important to them.
 
Sometimes with much older men I notice a reluctance with respect to immediate sexual approaches, generally they don’t say no to me but I don’t find a real enthusiasm and then they have some attitudes as a teacher, as a father, that give me a little annoyance, I don’t speak of sermons or similar things, they don’t do such things, but attempt to always give me reason when I’m wrong, they attempt to find in me a lot of good sentiments and inclinations that there aren’t at all, as if they wanted to encourage or to console me. I do not know if all this rant has a logical thread, I send you this mail because I read what you wrote about intergenerational relationships. Those are certainly well-balanced things, but reality is often much more convoluted than theory and finding there a logic is not really possible.
 
Of my life, all in all, I feel quite happy, I don’t have a boyfriend and I miss him a lot, I only had one for a couple of years, then he became unbearable (jealous) and I didn’t bear him anymore, but I have some real friends (three) and with them there is also a bit of sex (one at a time), now I think that all three know this and it seems that it does not create problems, at least with two of them, with the third I don’t know, pity that he is the one I care more. I have long since stopped believing in the white mill gay family, there is only one value that I believe is very important in gay relationships and it is clear talking, honesty, not pretending. Until now I felt quite comfortable. Returning to the point, well the famous scene certainly produced consequences in my life but I think it went to me much better than it went to many others. Let me know.
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FATHER POLICEMAN AND GAY SON

Hello Project,

I am 56 years old, I’ve been separated from my wife for over twenty years, I have a 26 year old son, whom I’ll call Andrew here, but it’s not his name. As long as my son was 19-20 years old I had only a very conditioned relationship with him because of his mother’s presence. In practice all his choices were directed by his mother, I felt in him a hostility towards me and I could not find a credible reason for it. My son was formal with me, he kept me at a distance, he always answered me evasively and, in practice, I think he didn’t even like spending time with me even if I did everything not to condition him.

With my wife, in the first months after the separation, the relationship was more difficult, then, over time, things changed, there was Andrew between us, and neither I nor my wife tried to build us a new life. As long as Andrew was 15- 16, it often happened that my wife and I talked about him, especially because it was not good at school and we didn’t know what to do, then my wife gradually closed in a complete silence on Andrew, she gave me some news but only with the dropper and knowing something from Andrew was practically impossible because a priori he saw me as an enemy.

Things between us have changed only last summer for a reason related to my work and this fact has changed my life objectively. I work in the police, it is not the easiest and most rewarding job but it is what I had always wanted. Well, a few months ago, a very delicate investigation had brought me into contact with a group of gay guys, not people from strange circles but only gay boys. Two of these boys were suspected of a rather heavy crime and ran major criminal risks. It seemed that all the clues focused on these two guys but I had talked to them and they didn’t really have anything to make me think they could commit a crime like that, which had the typical mark of professionals.

I make the story short, to leave things vague and don’t put anyone’s privacy at risk. In practice I didn’t close the case because too much things seemed strange to me and I went deeper into the matter and an the end it turned out that those two boys had nothing to do with the crime but had been put in the middle by three real criminals. For those guys it ended well, because they hadn’t done anything bad, but it is clear that for them it was probably the worst adventure of their lives, they were adults but still very young and their parents had been involved, had come to know that the two boys were gay and had reacted in the worst way.

After the investigations were over, the real culprits were sent to court and the position of the two boys was closed because they were clearly unrelated to the facts. The two boys felt respected by me and, when things were over, they came to see me first in my office and then at home, I talked with them several times and we also went to dinner together. Well, on that occasion I understood more closely what are gays, not that before I had particular prejudices but objectively I didn’t know too much.

Well, these facts, dating back to a few months before, had reached the ear of my son who sometime after the end of the criminal misadventure of the two boys, had known them and had begun to frequent them.

Note, Project, although it seems paradoxical, that I didn’t know that my son was attending them but they knew that Andrew was my son and they didn’t tell me anything, it was my son who one day called me at office and invited me at dinner, something decidedly unusual, that had never happened, we arranged to meet at my usual pizzeria and he showed up with the two boys and sat down with them at my table.

On the first moment I was a bit perplexed and didn’t know what to say, even if getting to the conclusion was actually very easy. Andrew told me: “Dad, well, there’s no need to say anything, no need even to mention the hardest thing … isn’t it?” I replied:” Well, obviously no need . . . “.

Then Andrea told me that he had understood who I really was through those two guys, because my wife had always dissuaded him from the idea of speaking openly with me, telling him that I would never understand or accept him.

It is a year that I recovered the relationship with my son and it is a beautiful thing, we often hear each other and sometimes he comes to my house with his friends, I say my house, but in essence it is his house because he stays almost always by me.

Now I know several of his friends and they are guys like him, sometimes we all sit together in the living room and talk to each other, they are guys who fall in love with boys, I think that being gay is just that, but they fall in love really and then, even if they are boys around 25 years old (some already work) I see that they are happy to come to see me because it’s a bit like they are finding that welcoming family they’ve never had. Seeing these guys up close I just don’t understand why so many people are angry with them, they are very good guys and should be understood and respected.

Now I break a spear in favor of my wife, she didn’t try to turn away Andrew from me to keep him all for herself, but, before, she really thought I would have taken it very badly . . . this is the sign of how little communication there can be between a husband and a wife. Now my relationship with my wife has improved precisely because she understood that I wouldn’t in any way make life difficult for Andrew.

To think that my son trusts me, that he considers me a proper person with whom he can speak on equal terms, fills me with joy because I feel again that I have a role in his life. With me he doesn’t act a comedy but says what he really thinks. By now he is no longer a boy but he is an adult man and he is a man who is proper, reliable, who has dignity and would never lower himself to petty things.

Many times we even talked about sex and we talked about it in a very direct way. In those situations I tried to be as honest as possible with him, without acting the part of the father. I don’t think that for a father there is anything more beautiful than feeling appreciated by his son and that is what for some months now begins to happen to me.

Project, I sent you this email because my son made me discover Gay Project and he told me about it very well. I tried to read as much as possible and I can only confirm what my son told me. Go ahead in doing what you are doing and don’t give up for any reason because you are doing something that has a profound meaning, even if often not visible, you are sowing good wheat that will bear its fruit. Obviously I would like to see this email published and I think that reading it on your blog would also please my son! Good evening, Project, from today you have a friend more.

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HOW TO UNDERSTAND THAT YOU ARE NOT GAY

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

GAY GUYS WHO HAVE A GIRLFRIEND

Hello Project,
I feel a little embarrassed to send you an email but the doubts are so many and I have to try to find answers because I don’t know who to turn to.
 
I’m 16 and a half years old. For more than a year I started to have doubts about my sexual orientation. I’m not afraid of being gay and if I’m gay I do not think I would have big problems with my family. My parents love me, probably nothing would change.
 
I started to masturbate at 13 and discovered masturbation by myself, without anyone’s suggestions. I did very little to understand that it was sex and that I was sexually developed. Before, for me, sexuality didn’t even exist, or rather there was sympathy for other guys and girls, but I didn’t really know what genital sexuality was.
 
At first, masturbation was just a pleasant physical fact, an interesting discovery by which I felt even more adult, but there was no real bond with sexual fantasies. Just a while later, between 14 and 15, came true sexual fantasies, and were all related to a guy, my teammate with whom I was training two afternoons a week.
 
At that time I played sports, although with many limits and went to the gym with a group of other guys and a coach. We had spaces and times dedicated to us, because we were still too young and were not allowed to enter the locker rooms when the gym was crowded by adults. In the locker room however we were alone, the coach was almost never there, but things were quick and I had never had sex fantasies of any kind, but, as I said, from 14 and a half, fantasies have come and with these also embarrassment because I was always about to get a hard-on and had to make great efforts to control it.
 
The gym has become a very important thing for me, I counted down the time missing to the next training and my masturbations were all related to what I saw in the locker room.
 
But then doubts have begun. I saw that the other guys took things completely differently, without any embarrassment and without any real interest. I quickly understood that what happened to me meant that I was gay.
 
In the beginning, this thing disturbed me a bit, but then, in a few days, I told myself that it had nothing to do with pathology and I overcome the problem. I have to say that I’ve learned at home the idea that being gay is not a disease, I learned it from my parents who have gay friends and defend their friends from stupid gossip of various kinds. Obviously from this point of view I was lucky. In practice, I realized I was gay and it did not make me any problem.
 
In a sense, my story matches the classic proceedings of gay recognition and acceptation described in your book.
 
When I was 15 years old, however, I found myself in situations that I had never taken into account. A girl, my schoolmate, began to show interest in me and I was grateful for it, not just because having a girl put me in a more adult position with my friends, but because with that girl I was fine, it was nice to talk to her.
 
She called me on the phone and we talked for hours, we joked about everything, we often went out together in the afternoon, me and her, without other people, in short I also started to have sexual reactions. I got hard-ons when she leaned on me, when she caressed my hand, and so on, slowly, but I must say, also pleasantly, we came to kiss each other, what I never imagined before.
 
The kisses were not bad, the hugs still better, so much that I started thinking that maybe I was falling in love with that girl, but something didn’t fit: I, gay, in love with a girl? Or maybe I was not gay? Now I keep going out with that girl and she calls me on the phone every day, I keep on getting hard-ons when we kiss or there’s a little direct physical contact, which is very common now. I tried to masturbate sexually thinking about that girl but the results were disappointing and then did some other doubts start.
 
In fact, that girl doesn’t attract me sexually, sometimes I think in a few years, I might also have a sexual relationship with her, but that’s what I think in theory because I never made sexual fantasies about her. It seems a disagreeable behavior, but I see her in the early afternoon and she, or probably the situation, excites me a bit, then later in the afternoon I go to the gym and when I come back home I masturbate always and only thinking of the guys I see in the gym, however, Project, I react sexually even with the girl and this should not happen, or maybe I didn’t understand how these things work.
 
My friends don’t react at all sexually with the boys, that is, they don’t react in situations that are very exciting for me. If I understand, a gay should not react with a girl, or maybe I’m a bit bisexual? This would create some problems because I could not have a really satisfying couple life.
 
Then there are a number of questions I would like to ask you:
(1) Do you think I should try with a girl?
(2) Do you think I am at least a bit bisexual?
(3) Do you think I hurt that girl staying with her because perhaps I deceive her?
 
I look forward to your answers, I would also like to know what the boys of the forum think.
Thanks. Manuel
 _________
 
Hello Manuel, I’m not a doctor nor a psychologist but I deal with gay people for many years. You know that there are also gay guys who get married and have children, these guys have a heterosexual life with their wives that might seem normal, and often the wives are not even aware of having a gay husband. This means that a gay may well have sex with a woman and can even do it habitually. Being gay is not a question related to what is objectively done within a couple relationship, being gay is a matter of desire.
 
There are married gay men who have never had any sexual contact with a man and live a heterosexual life that has all the appearance of normality, but those married gays have a masturbation totally related to gay sexual fantasies. The object of their spontaneous sexual desire are not the wives but the guys who populate their sexual fantasies.
 
When couple sex behaviors are typically heterosexual but coexist with masturbation with exclusively gay fantasies, the true spontaneous sexual orientation is gay. Here bisexuality has nothing to do; a bisexual experiences real forms of sexual and emotional love, both for boys and girls. Keep in mind that of course a guy can really get a hard-on because he is in a situation of very strong intimacy with a girl, but when these experiences are soon forgotten and masturbation remains with gay fantasies, heterosexuality is a very unlikely hypothesis.
 
(1) Should you try with a girlfriend? So, in general, there is nothing that “must” be done and the only sensible behaviors are the spontaneous ones. If going with a girl is the fruit of a decision, that is, a way to test yourself, a test to evaluate your reactions when facing that girl, we are already out of the field of true sexuality. I would say that the very use of the verb “try” indicates that it is essentially a test that would be depressing both for you and for your girlfriend.
 
(2) I would exclude at all that you are bisexual, in your post there is nothing suggesting bisexuality.
 
(3) As to the fact that you are deluding that girl, I think it’s a fairly realistic hypothesis. There are girls who cultivate male friendships without any sexual purpose and have gay friends with whom they fully agree, but it is certainly not the general rule. And then the relationship you have with that girl does not have the typical features of a friendship. Frankly, I think she is very likely to consider you as her boyfriend and to expect you to behave sooner or later coherently with that role. I understand that the company of that girl may be pleasing, but your relationship might be based on a misunderstanding, and if so, it would be better to speak clearly, if possible, or keep away not to fuel further illusions.
Project
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If you like, you can participate in the discussion of this post on Gay Project Forum: http://gayprojectforum.altervista.org/T-gay-guys-who-have-a-girlfriend

POPE RATZINGER AND HOMOSEXUALITY

The February 11, 2013, when I heard on the radio of the waiver to the papacy by Pope Benedict XVI, I thought to write an article about it, but I prefer to refrain from making judgments of any kind. I attach below two documents signed by Cardinal Ratzinger on the topic of homosexuality:

1)      LETTER TO THE BISHOPS OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH ON THE PASTORAL CARE OF HOMOSEXUAL PERSONS – October 1, 1986

2)     CONSIDERATIONS REGARDING PROPOSALS TO GIVE LEGAL RECOGNITIONTO UNIONS BETWEEN HOMOSEXUAL PERSONS – June 3, 2003

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CONGREGATION FOR THE DOCTRINE OF THE FAITH

LETTER TO THE BISHOPS OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH
ON THE PASTORAL CARE OF HOMOSEXUAL PERSONS

1. The issue of homosexuality and the moral evaluation of homosexual acts have increasingly become a matter of public debate, even in Catholic circles. Since this debate often advances arguments and makes assertions inconsistent with the teaching of the Catholic Church, it is quite rightly a cause for concern to all engaged in the pastoral ministry, and this Congregation has judged it to be of sufficiently grave and widespread importance to address to the Bishops of the Catholic Church this Letter on the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons.

2. Naturally, an exhaustive treatment of this complex issue cannot be attempted here, but we will focus our reflection within the distinctive context of the Catholic moral perspective. It is a perspective which finds support in the more secure findings of the natural sciences, which have their own legitimate and proper methodology and field of inquiry.

However, the Catholic moral viewpoint is founded on human reason illumined by faith and is consciously motivated by the desire to do the will of God our Father. The Church is thus in a position to learn from scientific discovery but also to transcend the horizons of science and to be confident that her more global vision does greater justice to the rich reality of the human person in his spiritual and physical dimensions, created by God and heir, by grace, to eternal life.

It is within this context, then, that it can be clearly seen that the phenomenon of homosexuality, complex as it is, and with its many consequences for society and ecclesial life, is a proper focus for the Church’s pastoral care. It thus requires of her ministers attentive study, active concern and honest, theologically well-balanced counsel.

3. Explicit treatment of the problem was given in this Congregation’s “Declaration on Certain Questions Concerning Sexual Ethics” of December 29, 1975. That document stressed the duty of trying to understand the homosexual condition and noted that culpability for homosexual acts should only be judged with prudence. At the same time the Congregation took note of the distinction commonly drawn between the homosexual condition or tendency and individual homosexual actions. These were described as deprived of their essential and indispensable finality, as being “intrinsically disordered”, and able in no case to be approved of (cf. n. 8, 4).

In the discussion which followed the publication of the Declaration, however, an overly benign interpretation was given to the homosexual condition itself, some going so far as to call it neutral, or even good. Although the particular inclination of the homosexual person is not a sin, it is a more or less strong tendency ordered toward an intrinsic moral evil; and thus the inclination itself must be seen as an objective disorder.

Therefore special concern and pastoral attention should be directed toward those who have this condition, lest they be led to believe that the living out of this orientation in homosexual activity is a morally acceptable option. It is not.

4. An essential dimension of authentic pastoral care is the identification of causes of confusion regarding the Church’s teaching. One is a new exegesis of Sacred Scripture which claims variously that Scripture has nothing to say on the subject of homosexuality, or that it somehow tacitly approves of it, or that all of its moral injunctions are so culture-bound that they are no longer applicable to contemporary life. These views are gravely erroneous and call for particular attention here.

5. It is quite true that the Biblical literature owes to the different epochs in which it was written a good deal of its varied patterns of thought and expression (Dei Verbum 12). The Church today addresses the Gospel to a world which differs in many ways from ancient days. But the world in which the New Testament was written was already quite diverse from the situation in which the Sacred Scriptures of the Hebrew People had been written or compiled, for example.

What should be noticed is that, in the presence of such remarkable diversity, there is nevertheless a clear consistency within the Scriptures themselves on the moral issue of homosexual behaviour. The Church’s doctrine regarding this issue is thus based, not on isolated phrases for facile theological argument, but on the solid foundation of a constant Biblical testimony. The community of faith today, in unbroken continuity with the Jewish and Christian communities within which the ancient Scriptures were written, continues to be nourished by those same Scriptures and by the Spirit of Truth whose Word they are. It is likewise essential to recognize that the Scriptures are not properly understood when they are interpreted in a way which contradicts the Church’s living Tradition. To be correct, the interpretation of Scripture must be in substantial accord with that Tradition.

The Vatican Council II in Dei Verbum 10, put it this way: “It is clear, therefore, that in the supremely wise arrangement of God, sacred Tradition, sacred Scripture, and the Magisterium of the Church are so connected and associated that one of them cannot stand without the others. Working together, each in its own way under the action of the one Holy Spirit, they all contribute effectively to the salvation of souls”. In that spirit we wish to outline briefly the Biblical teaching here.

6. Providing a basic plan for understanding this entire discussion of homosexuality is the theology of creation we find in Genesis. God, in his infinite wisdom and love, brings into existence all of reality as a reflection of his goodness. He fashions mankind, male and female, in his own image and likeness. Human beings, therefore, are nothing less than the work of God himself; and in the complementarity of the sexes, they are called to reflect the inner unity of the Creator. They do this in a striking way in their cooperation with him in the transmission of life by a mutual donation of the self to the other.

In Genesis 3, we find that this truth about persons being an image of God has been obscured by original sin. There inevitably follows a loss of awareness of the covenantal character of the union these persons had with God and with each other. The human body retains its “spousal significance” but this is now clouded by sin. Thus, in Genesis 19:1-11, the deterioration due to sin continues in the story of the men of Sodom. There can be no doubt of the moral judgement made there against homosexual relations. In Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13, in the course of describing the conditions necessary for belonging to the Chosen People, the author excludes from the People of God those who behave in a homosexual fashion.

Against the background of this exposition of theocratic law, an eschatological perspective is developed by St. Paul when, in I Cor 6:9, he proposes the same doctrine and lists those who behave in a homosexual fashion among those who shall not enter the Kingdom of God.

In Romans 1:18-32, still building on the moral traditions of his forebears, but in the new context of the confrontation between Christianity and the pagan society of his day, Paul uses homosexual behaviour as an example of the blindness which has overcome humankind. Instead of the original harmony between Creator and creatures, the acute distortion of idolatry has led to all kinds of moral excess. Paul is at a loss to find a clearer example of this disharmony than homosexual relations. Finally, 1 Tim. 1, in full continuity with the Biblical position, singles out those who spread wrong doctrine and in v. 10 explicitly names as sinners those who engage in homosexual acts.

7. The Church, obedient to the Lord who founded her and gave to her the sacramental life, celebrates the divine plan of the loving and live-giving union of men and women in the sacrament of marriage. It is only in the marital relationship that the use of the sexual faculty can be morally good. A person engaging in homosexual behaviour therefore acts immorally.

To chose someone of the same sex for one’s sexual activity is to annul the rich symbolism and meaning, not to mention the goals, of the Creator’s sexual design. Homosexual activity is not a complementary union, able to transmit life; and so it thwarts the call to a life of that form of self-giving which the Gospel says is the essence of Christian living. This does not mean that homosexual persons are not often generous and giving of themselves; but when they engage in homosexual activity they confirm within themselves a disordered sexual inclination which is essentially self-indulgent.

As in every moral disorder, homosexual activity prevents one’s own fulfillment and happiness by acting contrary to the creative wisdom of God. The Church, in rejecting erroneous opinions regarding homosexuality, does not limit but rather defends personal freedom and dignity realistically and authentically understood.

8. Thus, the Church’s teaching today is in organic continuity with the Scriptural perspective and with her own constant Tradition. Though today’s world is in many ways quite new, the Christian community senses the profound and lasting bonds which join us to those generations who have gone before us, “marked with the sign of faith”.

Nevertheless, increasing numbers of people today, even within the Church, are bringing enormous pressure to bear on the Church to accept the homosexual condition as though it were not disordered and to condone homosexual activity. Those within the Church who argue in this fashion often have close ties with those with similar views outside it. These latter groups are guided by a vision opposed to the truth about the human person, which is fully disclosed in the mystery of Christ. They reflect, even if not entirely consciously, a materialistic ideology which denies the transcendent nature of the human person as well as the supernatural vocation of every individual.

The Church’s ministers must ensure that homosexual persons in their care will not be misled by this point of view, so profoundly opposed to the teaching of the Church. But the risk is great and there are many who seek to create confusion regarding the Church’s position, and then to use that confusion to their own advantage.

9. The movement within the Church, which takes the form of pressure groups of various names and sizes, attempts to give the impression that it represents all homosexual persons who are Catholics. As a matter of fact, its membership is by and large restricted to those who either ignore the teaching of the Church or seek somehow to undermine it. It brings together under the aegis of Catholicism homosexual persons who have no intention of abandoning their homosexual behaviour. One tactic used is to protest that any and all criticism of or reservations about homosexual people, their activity and lifestyle, are simply diverse forms of unjust discrimination.

There is an effort in some countries to manipulate the Church by gaining the often well-intentioned support of her pastors with a view to changing civil-statutes and laws. This is done in order to conform to these pressure groups’ concept that homosexuality is at least a completely harmless, if not an entirely good, thing. Even when the practice of homosexuality may seriously threaten the lives and well-being of a large number of people, its advocates remain undeterred and refuse to consider the magnitude of the risks involved.

The Church can never be so callous. It is true that her clear position cannot be revised by pressure from civil legislation or the trend of the moment. But she is really concerned about the many who are not represented by the pro-homosexual movement and about those who may have been tempted to believe its deceitful propaganda. She is also aware that the view that homosexual activity is equivalent to, or as acceptable as, the sexual expression of conjugal love has a direct impact on society’s understanding of the nature and rights of the family and puts them in jeopardy.

10. It is deplorable that homosexual persons have been and are the object of violent malice in speech or in action. Such treatment deserves condemnation from the Church’s pastors wherever it occurs. It reveals a kind of disregard for others which endangers the most fundamental principles of a healthy society. The intrinsic dignity of each person must always be respected in word, in action and in law.

But the proper reaction to crimes committed against homosexual persons should not be to claim that the homosexual condition is not disordered. When such a claim is made and when homosexual activity is consequently condoned, or when civil legislation is introduced to protect behavior to which no one has any conceivable right, neither the Church nor society at large should be surprised when other distorted notions and practices gain ground, and irrational and violent reactions increase.

11. It has been argued that the homosexual orientation in certain cases is not the result of deliberate choice; and so the homosexual person would then have no choice but to behave in a homosexual fashion. Lacking freedom, such a person, even if engaged in homosexual activity, would not be culpable.

Here, the Church’s wise moral tradition is necessary since it warns against generalizations in judging individual cases. In fact, circumstances may exist, or may have existed in the past, which would reduce or remove the culpability of the individual in a given instance; or other circumstances may increase it. What is at all costs to be avoided is the unfounded and demeaning assumption that the sexual behaviour of homosexual persons is always and totally compulsive and therefore inculpable. What is essential is that the fundamental liberty which characterizes the human person and gives him his dignity be recognized as belonging to the homosexual person as well. As in every conversion from evil, the abandonment of homosexual activity will require a profound collaboration of the individual with God’s liberating grace.

12. What, then, are homosexual persons to do who seek to follow the Lord? Fundamentally, they are called to enact the will of God in their life by joining whatever sufferings and difficulties they experience in virtue of their condition to the sacrifice of the Lord’s Cross. That Cross, for the believer, is a fruitful sacrifice since from that death come life and redemption. While any call to carry the cross or to understand a Christian’s suffering in this way will predictably be met with bitter ridicule by some, it should be remembered that this is the way to eternal life for all who follow Christ.

It is, in effect, none other than the teaching of Paul the Apostle to the Galatians when he says that the Spirit produces in the lives of the faithful “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, trustfulness, gentleness and self-control” (5:22) and further (v. 24), “You cannot belong to Christ unless you crucify all self-indulgent passions and desires.”

It is easily misunderstood, however, if it is merely seen as a pointless effort at self-denial. The Cross is a denial of self, but in service to the will of God himself who makes life come from death and empowers those who trust in him to practise virtue in place of vice.

To celebrate the Paschal Mystery, it is necessary to let that Mystery become imprinted in the fabric of daily life. To refuse to sacrifice one’s own will in obedience to the will of the Lord is effectively to prevent salvation. Just as the Cross was central to the expression of God’s redemptive love for us in Jesus, so the conformity of the self-denial of homosexual men and women with the sacrifice of the Lord will constitute for them a source of self-giving which will save them from a way of life which constantly threatens to destroy them.

Christians who are homosexual are called, as all of us are, to a chaste life. As they dedicate their lives to understanding the nature of God’s personal call to them, they will be able to celebrate the Sacrament of Penance more faithfully and receive the Lord’s grace so freely offered there in order to convert their lives more fully to his Way.

13. We recognize, of course, that in great measure the clear and successful communication of the Church’s teaching to all the faithful, and to society at large, depends on the correct instruction and fidelity of her pastoral ministers. The Bishops have the particularly grave responsibility to see to it that their assistants in the ministry, above all the priests, are rightly informed and personally disposed to bring the teaching of the Church in its integrity to everyone.

The characteristic concern and good will exhibited by many clergy and religious in their pastoral care for homosexual persons is admirable, and, we hope, will not diminish. Such devoted ministers should have the confidence that they are faithfully following the will of the Lord by encouraging the homosexual person to lead a chaste life and by affirming that person’s God-given dignity and worth.

14. With this in mind, this Congregation wishes to ask the Bishops to be especially cautious of any programmes which may seek to pressure the Church to change her teaching, even while claiming not to do so. A careful examination of their public statements and the activities they promote reveals a studied ambiguity by which they attempt to mislead the pastors and the faithful. For example, they may present the teaching of the Magisterium, but only as if it were an optional source for the formation of one’s conscience. Its specific authority is not recognized. Some of these groups will use the word “Catholic” to describe either the organization or its intended members, yet they do not defend and promote the teaching of the Magisterium; indeed, they even openly attack it. While their members may claim a desire to conform their lives to the teaching of Jesus, in fact they abandon the teaching of his Church. This contradictory action should not have the support of the Bishops in any way.

15. We encourage the Bishops, then, to provide pastoral care in full accord with the teaching of the Church for homosexual persons of their dioceses. No authentic pastoral programme will include organizations in which homosexual persons associate with each other without clearly stating that homosexual activity is immoral. A truly pastoral approach will appreciate the need for homosexual persons to avoid the near occasions of sin.

We would heartily encourage programmes where these dangers are avoided. But we wish to make it clear that departure from the Church’s teaching, or silence about it, in an effort to provide pastoral care is neither caring nor pastoral. Only what is true can ultimately be pastoral. The neglect of the Church’s position prevents homosexual men and women from receiving the care they need and deserve.

An authentic pastoral programme will assist homosexual persons at all levels of the spiritual life: through the sacraments, and in particular through the frequent and sincere use of the sacrament of Reconciliation, through prayer, witness, counsel and individual care. In such a way, the entire Christian community can come to recognize its own call to assist its brothers and sisters, without deluding them or isolating them.

16. From this multi-faceted approach there are numerous advantages to be gained, not the least of which is the realization that a homosexual person, as every human being, deeply needs to be nourished at many different levels simultaneously.

The human person, made in the image and likeness of God, can hardly be adequately described by a reductionist reference to his or her sexual orientation. Every one living on the face of the earth has personal problems and difficulties, but challenges to growth, strengths, talents and gifts as well. Today, the Church provides a badly needed context for the care of the human person when she refuses to consider the person as a “heterosexual” or a “homosexual” and insists that every person has a fundamental Identity: the creature of God, and by grace, his child and heir to eternal life.

17. In bringing this entire matter to the Bishops’ attention, this Congregation wishes to support their efforts to assure that the teaching of the Lord and his Church on this important question be communicated fully to all the faithful.

In light of the points made above, they should decide for their own dioceses the extent to which an intervention on their part is indicated. In addition, should they consider it helpful, further coordinated action at the level of their National Bishops’ Conference may be envisioned.

In a particular way, we would ask the Bishops to support, with the means at their disposal, the development of appropriate forms of pastoral care for homosexual persons. These would include the assistance of the psychological, sociological and medical sciences, in full accord with the teaching of the Church.

They are encouraged to call on the assistance of all Catholic theologians who, by teaching what the Church teaches, and by deepening their reflections on the true meaning of human sexuality and Christian marriage with the virtues it engenders, will make an important contribution in this particular area of pastoral care.

The Bishops are asked to exercise special care in the selection of pastoral ministers so that by their own high degree of spiritual and personal maturity and by their fidelity to the Magisterium, they may be of real service to homosexual persons, promoting their health and well-being in the fullest sense. Such ministers will reject theological opinions which dissent from the teaching of the Church and which, therefore, cannot be used as guidelines for pastoral care.

We encourage the Bishops to promote appropriate catechetical programmes based on the truth about human sexuality in its relationship to the family as taught by the Church. Such programmes should provide a good context within which to deal with the question of homosexuality.

This catechesis would also assist those families of homosexual persons to deal with this problem which affects them so deeply.

All support should be withdrawn from any organizations which seek to undermine the teaching of the Church, which are ambiguous about it, or which neglect it entirely. Such support, or even the semblance of such support, can be gravely misinterpreted. Special attention should be given to the practice of scheduling religious services and to the use of Church buildings by these groups, including the facilities of Catholic schools and colleges. To some, such permission to use Church property may seem only just and charitable; but in reality it is contradictory to the purpose for which these institutions were founded, it is misleading and often scandalous.

In assessing proposed legislation, the Bishops should keep as their uppermost concern the responsibility to defend and promote family life.

18. The Lord Jesus promised, “You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free” (Jn. 8:32). Scripture bids us speak the truth in love (cf. Eph. 4:15). The God who is at once truth and love calls the Church to minister to every man, woman and child with the pastoral solicitude of our compassionate Lord. It is in this spirit that we have addressed this Letter to the Bishops of the Church, with the hope that it will be of some help as they care for those whose suffering can only be intensified by error and lightened by truth.

(During an audience granted to the undersigned Prefect, His Holiness, Pope John Paul II, approved this Letter, adopted in an ordinary session of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and ordered it to be published.)

Given at Rome, 1 October 1986.

JOSEPH CARDINAL RATZINGER 
Prefect

ALBERTO BOVONE 
Titular Archbishop of Caesarea in Numidia
Secretary

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CONGREGATION FOR THE DOCTRINE OF THE FAITH

CONSIDERATIONS REGARDING PROPOSALS TO GIVE LEGAL RECOGNITIONTO UNIONS BETWEEN HOMOSEXUAL PERSONS

INTRODUCTION

1. In recent years, various questions relating to homosexuality have been addressed with some frequency by Pope John Paul II and by the relevant Dicasteries of the Holy See.(1) Homosexuality is a troubling moral and social phenomenon, even in those countries where it does not present significant legal issues. It gives rise to greater concern in those countries that have granted or intend to grant – legal recognition to homosexual unions, which may include the possibility of adopting children. The present Considerations do not contain new doctrinal elements; they seek rather to reiterate the essential points on this question and provide arguments drawn from reason which could be used by Bishops in preparing more specific interventions, appropriate to the different situations throughout the world, aimed at protecting and promoting the dignity of marriage, the foundation of the family, and the stability of society, of which this institution is a constitutive element. The present Considerations are also intended to give direction to Catholic politicians by indicating the approaches to proposed legislation in this area which would be consistent with Christian conscience.(2) Since this question relates to the natural moral law, the arguments that follow are addressed not only to those who believe in Christ, but to all persons committed to promoting and defending the common good of society.

I. THE NATURE OF MARRIAGE AND ITS INALIENABLE CHARACTERISTICS

2. The Church’s teaching on marriage and on the complementarity of the sexes reiterates a truth that is evident to right reason and recognized as such by all the major cultures of the world. Marriage is not just any relationship between human beings. It was established by the Creator with its own nature, essential properties and purpose.(3) No ideology can erase from the human spirit the certainty that marriage exists solely between a man and a woman, who by mutual personal gift, proper and exclusive to themselves, tend toward the communion of their persons. In this way, they mutually perfect each other, in order to cooperate with God in the procreation and upbringing of new human lives.

3. The natural truth about marriage was confirmed by the Revelation contained in the biblical accounts of creation, an expression also of the original human wisdom, in which the voice of nature itself is heard. There are three fundamental elements of the Creator’s plan for marriage, as narrated in the Book of Genesis.

In the first place, man, the image of God, was created “male and female” (Gen 1:27). Men and women are equal as persons and complementary as male and female. Sexuality is something that pertains to the physical-biological realm and has also been raised to a new level – the personal level – where nature and spirit are united.

Marriage is instituted by the Creator as a form of life in which a communion of persons is realized involving the use of the sexual faculty. “That is why a man leaves his father and mother and clings to his wife and they become one flesh” (Gen 2:24).

Third, God has willed to give the union of man and woman a special participation in his work of creation. Thus, he blessed the man and the woman with the words “Be fruitful and multiply” (Gen 1:28). Therefore, in the Creator’s plan, sexual complementarity and fruitfulness belong to the very nature of marriage.

Furthermore, the marital union of man and woman has been elevated by Christ to the dignity of a sacrament. The Church teaches that Christian marriage is an efficacious sign of the covenant between Christ and the Church (cf. Eph 5:32). This Christian meaning of marriage, far from diminishing the profoundly human value of the marital union between man and woman, confirms and strengthens it (cf. Mt 19:3-12; Mk 10:6-9).

4. There are absolutely no grounds for considering homosexual unions to be in any way similar or even remotely analogous to God’s plan for marriage and family. Marriage is holy, while homosexual acts go against the natural moral law. Homosexual acts “close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved”.(4)

Sacred Scripture condemns homosexual acts “as a serious depravity… (cf. Rom 1:24-27; 1 Cor 6:10; 1 Tim 1:10). This judgment of Scripture does not of course permit us to conclude that all those who suffer from this anomaly are personally responsible for it, but it does attest to the fact that homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered”.(5) This same moral judgment is found in many Christian writers of the first centuries(6) and is unanimously accepted by Catholic Tradition.

Nonetheless, according to the teaching of the Church, men and women with homosexual tendencies “must be accepted with respect, compassion and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided”.(7) They are called, like other Christians, to live the virtue of chastity.(8) The homosexual inclination is however “objectively disordered”(9) and homosexual practices are “sins gravely contrary to chastity”.(10)

II. POSITIONS ON THE PROBLEM OF HOMOSEXUAL UNIONS

5. Faced with the fact of homosexual unions, civil authorities adopt different positions. At times they simply tolerate the phenomenon; at other times they advocate legal recognition of such unions, under the pretext of avoiding, with regard to certain rights, discrimination against persons who live with someone of the same sex. In other cases, they favour giving homosexual unions legal equivalence to marriage properly so-called, along with the legal possibility of adopting children.

Where the government’s policy is de facto tolerance and there is no explicit legal recognition of homosexual unions, it is necessary to distinguish carefully the various aspects of the problem. Moral conscience requires that, in every occasion, Christians give witness to the whole moral truth, which is contradicted both by approval of homosexual acts and unjust discrimination against homosexual persons. Therefore, discreet and prudent actions can be effective; these might involve: unmasking the way in which such tolerance might be exploited or used in the service of ideology; stating clearly the immoral nature of these unions; reminding the government of the need to contain the phenomenon within certain limits so as to safeguard public morality and, above all, to avoid exposing young people to erroneous ideas about sexuality and marriage that would deprive them of their necessary defences and contribute to the spread of the phenomenon. Those who would move from tolerance to the legitimization of specific rights for cohabiting homosexual persons need to be reminded that the approval or legalization of evil is something far different from the toleration of evil.

In those situations where homosexual unions have been legally recognized or have been given the legal status and rights belonging to marriage, clear and emphatic opposition is a duty. One must refrain from any kind of formal cooperation in the enactment or application of such gravely unjust laws and, as far as possible, from material cooperation on the level of their application. In this area, everyone can exercise the right to conscientious objection.

III. ARGUMENTS FROM REASON AGAINST LEGAL RECOGNITION OF HOMOSEXUAL UNIONS

6. To understand why it is necessary to oppose legal recognition of homosexual unions, ethical considerations of different orders need to be taken into consideration.

From the order of right reason

The scope of the civil law is certainly more limited than that of the moral law,(11) but civil law cannot contradict right reason without losing its binding force on conscience.(12) Every humanly-created law is legitimate insofar as it is consistent with the natural moral law, recognized by right reason, and insofar as it respects the inalienable rights of every person.(13) Laws in favour of homosexual unions are contrary to right reason because they confer legal guarantees, analogous to those granted to marriage, to unions between persons of the same sex. Given the values at stake in this question, the State could not grant legal standing to such unions without failing in its duty to promote and defend marriage as an institution essential to the common good.

It might be asked how a law can be contrary to the common good if it does not impose any particular kind of behaviour, but simply gives legal recognition to a de facto reality which does not seem to cause injustice to anyone. In this area, one needs first to reflect on the difference between homosexual behaviour as a private phenomenon and the same behaviour as a relationship in society, foreseen and approved by the law, to the point where it becomes one of the institutions in the legal structure. This second phenomenon is not only more serious, but also assumes a more wide-reaching and profound influence, and would result in changes to the entire organization of society, contrary to the common good. Civil laws are structuring principles of man’s life in society, for good or for ill. They “play a very important and sometimes decisive role in influencing patterns of thought and behaviour”.(14) Lifestyles and the underlying presuppositions these express not only externally shape the life of society, but also tend to modify the younger generation’s perception and evaluation of forms of behaviour. Legal recognition of homosexual unions would obscure certain basic moral values and cause a devaluation of the institution of marriage.

From the biological and anthropological order

7. Homosexual unions are totally lacking in the biological and anthropological elements of marriage and family which would be the basis, on the level of reason, for granting them legal recognition. Such unions are not able to contribute in a proper way to the procreation and survival of the human race. The possibility of using recently discovered methods of artificial reproduction, beyond involv- ing a grave lack of respect for human dignity,(15) does nothing to alter this inadequacy.

Homosexual unions are also totally lacking in the conjugal dimension, which represents the human and ordered form of sexuality. Sexual relations are human when and insofar as they express and promote the mutual assistance of the sexes in marriage and are open to the transmission of new life.

As experience has shown, the absence of sexual complementarity in these unions creates obstacles in the normal development of children who would be placed in the care of such persons. They would be deprived of the experience of either fatherhood or motherhood. Allowing children to be adopted by persons living in such unions would actually mean doing violence to these children, in the sense that their condition of dependency would be used to place them in an environment that is not conducive to their full human development. This is gravely immoral and in open contradiction to the principle, recognized also in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, that the best interests of the child, as the weaker and more vulnerable party, are to be the paramount consideration in every case.

From the social order

8. Society owes its continued survival to the family, founded on marriage. The inevitable consequence of legal recognition of homosexual unions would be the redefinition of marriage, which would become, in its legal status, an institution devoid of essential reference to factors linked to heterosexuality; for example, procreation and raising children. If, from the legal standpoint, marriage between a man and a woman were to be considered just one possible form of marriage, the concept of marriage would undergo a radical transformation, with grave detriment to the common good. By putting homosexual unions on a legal plane analogous to that of marriage and the family, the State acts arbitrarily and in contradiction with its duties.

The principles of respect and non-discrimination cannot be invoked to support legal recognition of homosexual unions. Differentiating between persons or refusing social recognition or benefits is unacceptable only when it is contrary to justice.(16) The denial of the social and legal status of marriage to forms of cohabitation that are not and cannot be marital is not opposed to justice; on the contrary, justice requires it.

Nor can the principle of the proper autonomy of the individual be reasonably invoked. It is one thing to maintain that individual citizens may freely engage in those activities that interest them and that this falls within the common civil right to freedom; it is something quite different to hold that activities which do not represent a significant or positive contribution to the development of the human person in society can receive specific and categorical legal recognition by the State. Not even in a remote analogous sense do homosexual unions fulfil the purpose for which marriage and family deserve specific categorical recognition. On the contrary, there are good reasons for holding that such unions are harmful to the proper development of human society, especially if their impact on society were to increase.

From the legal order

9. Because married couples ensure the succession of generations and are therefore eminently within the public interest, civil law grants them institutional recognition. Homosexual unions, on the other hand, do not need specific attention from the legal standpoint since they do not exercise this function for the common good.

Nor is the argument valid according to which legal recognition of homosexual unions is necessary to avoid situations in which cohabiting homosexual persons, simply because they live together, might be deprived of real recognition of their rights as persons and citizens. In reality, they can always make use of the provisions of law – like all citizens from the standpoint of their private autonomy – to protect their rights in matters of common interest. It would be gravely unjust to sacrifice the common good and just laws on the family in order to protect personal goods that can and must be guaranteed in ways that do not harm the body of society.(17)

IV. POSITIONS OF CATHOLIC POLITICIANS  WITH REGARD TO LEGISLATION IN FAVOUR OF HOMOSEXUAL UNIONS

10. If it is true that all Catholics are obliged to oppose the legal recognition of homosexual unions, Catholic politicians are obliged to do so in a particular way, in keeping with their responsibility as politicians. Faced with legislative proposals in favour of homosexual unions, Catholic politicians are to take account of the following ethical indications.

When legislation in favour of the recognition of homosexual unions is proposed for the first time in a legislative assembly, the Catholic law-maker has a moral duty to express his opposition clearly and publicly and to vote against it. To vote in favour of a law so harmful to the common good is gravely immoral.

When legislation in favour of the recognition of homosexual unions is already in force, the Catholic politician must oppose it in the ways that are possible for him and make his opposition known; it is his duty to witness to the truth. If it is not possible to repeal such a law completely, the Catholic politician, recalling the indications contained in the Encyclical Letter Evangelium vitae, “could licitly support proposals aimed at limiting the harm done by such a law and at lessening its negative consequences at the level of general opinion and public morality”, on condition that his “absolute personal opposition” to such laws was clear and well known and that the danger of scandal was avoided.(18) This does not mean that a more restrictive law in this area could be considered just or even acceptable; rather, it is a question of the legitimate and dutiful attempt to obtain at least the partial repeal of an unjust law when its total abrogation is not possible at the moment.

CONCLUSION

11. The Church teaches that respect for homosexual persons cannot lead in any way to approval of homosexual behaviour or to legal recognition of homosexual unions. The common good requires that laws recognize, promote and protect marriage as the basis of the family, the primary unit of society. Legal recognition of homosexual unions or placing them on the same level as marriage would mean not only the approval of deviant behaviour, with the consequence of making it a model in present-day society, but would also obscure basic values which belong to the common inheritance of humanity. The Church cannot fail to defend these values, for the good of men and women and for the good of society itself.

The Sovereign Pontiff John Paul II, in the Audience of March 28, 2003, approved the present Considerations, adopted in the Ordinary Session of this Congregation, and ordered their publication.

Rome, from the Offices of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, June 3, 2003, Memorial of Saint Charles Lwanga and his Companions, Martyrs.

Joseph Card. Ratzinger
Prefect

Angelo Amato, S.D.B.
Titular Archbishop of Sila
Secretary

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NOTES

(1) Cf. John Paul II, Angelus Messages of February 20, 1994, and of June 19, 1994; Address to the Plenary Meeting of the Pontifical Council for the Family (March 24, 1999); Catechism of the Catholic Church, Nos. 2357-2359, 2396; Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Declaration Persona humana (December 29, 1975), 8; Letter on the pastoral care of homosexual persons (October 1, 1986); Some considerations concerning the response to legislative proposals on the non-discrimination of homosexual persons (July 24, 1992); Pontifical Council for the Family, Letter to the Presidents of the Bishops’ Conferences of Europe on the resolution of the European Parliament regarding homosexual couples (March 25, 1994); Family, marriage and “de facto” unions (July 26, 2000), 23.

(2) Cf. Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Doctrinal Note on some questions regarding the participation of Catholics in political life (November 24, 2002), 4.

(3) Cf. Second Vatican Council, Pastoral Constitution Gaudium et spes, 48.

(4) Catechism of the Catholic Church, No. 2357.

(5) Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Declaration Persona humana (December 29, 1975), 8.

(6) Cf., for example, St. Polycarp, Letter to the Philippians, V, 3; St. Justin Martyr, First Apology, 27, 1-4; Athenagoras, Supplication for the Christians, 34.

(7) Catechism of the Catholic Church, No. 2358; cf. Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Letter on the pastoral care of homosexual persons (October 1, 1986), 10.

(8) Cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, No. 2359; cf. Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Letter on the pastoral care of homosexual persons (October 1, 1986), 12.

(9) Catechism of the Catholic Church, No. 2358.

(10) Ibid., No. 2396.

(11) Cf. John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Evangelium vitae (March 25, 1995), 71.

(12) Cf. ibid., 72.

(13) Cf. St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologiae, I-II, q. 95, a. 2.

(14) John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Evangelium vitae (March 25, 1995), 90.

(15) Cf. Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Instruction Donum vitae (February 22, 1987), II. A. 1-3.

(16) Cf. St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologiae, II-II, q. 63, a.1, c.

(17) It should not be forgotten that there is always “a danger that legislation which would make homosexuality a basis for entitlements could actually encourage a person with a homosexual orientation to declare his homosexuality or even to seek a partner in order to exploit the provisions of the law” (Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Some considerations concerning the response to legislative proposals on the non-discrimination of homosexual persons [July 24, 1992], 14).

(18) John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Evangelium vitae (March 25, 1995), 73.

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