GAY LOVE AND GAY SEX

Let’s start from the first point. To the classic question: “When a guy is gay?” I always reply that “A guy is gay if he falls in love with other guys”, this definition, which seems obvious, contrasts another widespread definition, according to which “a guy is gay if he has sex with other guys “, which is the most common definition of gay. The two concepts seem similar but in reality they differ as much as love differs from sex. It is not a question of terminology and has important implications in people’s lives. 
 
It is a fact that there are many guys who have sex with other guys without falling in love with them, these are gay only according to the common definition, but according to the conventions I followed, I should simply call them guys who have sex with other guys, the market for pornography for the great majority is addressed to them. I don’t mean that guys who fall in love with other guys don’t use pornography, such a statement would be ridiculous, I mean instead that the masturbation of guys who fall in love with other guys, very often is not related to pornography but to fantasy and to the re-elaboration of experiences and desires linked to real people in which affectivity plays a substantial role.
 
It often happens that guys who have sex with other guys without falling in love are people who also have a more or less satisfying hetero sex life. It is not really a question of bisexuals, precisely because towards  guys there is  no real emotional component, which is instead turned towards women and is often strongly frustrated. For these guys who have sex with guys, sex with a guy is essentially an adventure, a diversion, an escape from the frustration of hetero affectivity. These people naturally tend to bring into a gay relationship with a guy behavior patterns typically hetero, far from the spontaneous sexuality of guys who fall in love with other guys, that is, far from the parity that is typical of gay sex. When I talk about gay sexuality, I’m not referring, of course, to pornography or to what people believe to be typically gay but to what most guys who fall in love with guys, i.e. gays in this sense, live and above all want.
 
To explain the difference between this true gay sexuality and that of guys who have sex with other guys but don’t fall in love with them, I will use a concrete example taken from the “Maurice”, a wonderful novel by Edward Morgan Forster. When I read the novel for the first time I felt the thrill of having in my hands a book that would always remain on my bedside table. The book is extraordinarily addictive.
 
Maurice and Clive, one of his college mates, start a homosexual relationship, it seems a love story destined to be lasting and deep but Clive is a young ambitious aristocrat and chooses to sacrifice love on the altar of the political career. Not marrying and being considered homosexual would marginalize him, so he comes to pretend to fall in love with a girl and marries her. Maurice and Clive will continue to meet in a formal way but the first love story of the book is over.
 
Maurice, invited by Clive to his estate, meets Clive’s wife, but above all meets another guy, a gamekeeper from Clive’s estate, named Scudder, more or less the same age as Maurice and Clive. 
 
While Clive’s aristocratic friends treat Scudder as a servant and humiliate him by giving him orders and tips in money, Maurice treats him on an equal footing from the first moment and both of them understand that something new and important is beginning for them. I would like to strongly emphasize the fact that Maurice treats Scudder at par because this is the basic condition of a true gay love. When, during a heavy rain, dripping water comes down from the ceiling of a salon, the aristocrats call Scudder to clean everything and move the furniture to prevent it from getting wet and they go to another room, but Maurice takes off his jacket and stays with Scudder to clean up the room where it had rained. This and other similar behaviors by Maurice are spontaneous and are indicative of Maurice’s respect for Scudder and of the fact that Maurice tries to do something that Scudder would like and that is an opportunity to initiate a minimum of direct dialogue, without the concern of social rituality and of caste to be respected, and above all in a more direct and private dimension of human sympathy.
 
In a dark night Scudder climbs with a ladder from the garden in Maurice’s room and the two live together their first sexual contact, the moment is exciting but in the morning Maurice is assailed by the doubt that Scudder wants to blackmail him. Maurice and Scudder will end up explaining each other and realizing that they cannot do without one another. Scudder, pushed by his family, decides anyway to leave for America as an emigrant because he thinks that what happened between him and Maurice should not affect Maurice’s life, which could have a future in politics and in high society. Maurice is assailed by despair, he would like to see Scudder, he would like to talk to him, but he cannot, he goes to the pier where the steamer is about to leave but Scudder is not there, then he remembers that they had talked about the possibility of meeting in the boathouse of the estate of Clive, he goes there and Scudder is there, he did not leave for America, that is, Scudder eventually made an act of faith in Maurice, he believed in Maurice’s love and in the fact that Maurice would not have abandoned him in the name of political career or of the social position.
 
When Maurice sees Scudder in the boathouse he is so happy he cannot even speak and the chapter ends like this: And since Maurice did not speak, indeed could not, he added, “And now we shan’t be parted no more, and that’s finished.” –
 
One last chapter concludes the novel, if you want a chapter that has the bitterness of Dante’s contrappasso [The law of “contrappasso” (retaliation), from the Latin contra and patior, “to suffer the opposite”, is a principle that regulates the punishment that strikes the offenders by the opposite of their guilt or by analogy to it. It is present in numerous historical and literary contexts of religious influence, such as the Divine Comedy.]: Clive realizes that Maurice is happy, knows that Maurice has made the right choice and that he will love, Scudder for life while, loved in turn by him, while he, aristocrat ad social climber, will have to go to bed with a beautiful girl he doesn’t love and to which he will ruin life to follow his ambitions.
 
The novel presents two characters, one of them who embodies the gay morality, Maurice, who is a guy who falls in love with other guys, and the other embodies the gay immorality, Clive, who is a guy who only has sex with other guys but doesn’t fall in love with them. Maurice is the honest gay who, when he falls in love, falls in love without reservation and is not willing to trade his love in exchange for anything, his love for Scudder leads him to expose himself and to risk himself by putting aside any privilege of caste. Clive is the dishonest gay man who agrees to put aside his sexuality, behind which there are evidently no strong feelings, selling it in exchange for social prestige and political career. Every dialectic is impossible between these two characters who are the embodiment of good and evil under the gay perspective.
 
As for Scudder, who is certainly not a secondary character, I would be inclined to say that he represents for Maurice the opportunity, the unique opportunity to get out of the limbo of sublimations and enter the real world of sexuality, lived with passion. Scudder takes the first steps of an explicit sexual type and in doing so he risks a lot. Even Scudder has a high morality, a vulgar man could have used the weapon of blackmail to take advantage of Maurice’s feelings but this thought doesn’t even touch him and when he realizes that this is just what Maurice is thinking of him, he gives him a lesson of morality reproaching him for having nourished even the simple suspicion of being the object of such a low action on his part. Maurice will understand.
 
Maurice and Scudder experience sexuality as an expression of their deep love, and it is precisely in this way that sexuality acquires its highest meaning, because love is total transport towards the other. The gay sexuality of Maurice and Scudder on one side and that of the aristocratic Clive on the other are apparently superimposable but for the first two, sex is really love, for the last one it is just a game that has to give way to more important interests.
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ARE MY SEXUAL FANTASIES GAY?

Hello Project, I’m a twenty-two years old gay guy in practice I have always felt gay since I was a little boy, so to say, in a conscious and fairly accepted only for a few months now. I have had (so to speak) two girls, I haven’t even tried to have sex with them, I have been with them because everyone had a girl and basically if it is about going around, cinema and pizza with friends, I don’t mind having a girl, but some guys have a very strong appeal for me, talking without hairs on the tongue, I go into erection even if they are only close to me, with the girls nothing like that has ever happened. Ok, even if I know that being gay will make scorched earth around me, both in the family and with friends, in the end I cannot renounce sex to please my parents, and then the very idea of having sex with a woman I cannot even to conceive it, for me it is completely unnatural.

I think about guys very much in terms of sex, I masturbate only thinking about them, however, and here my concerns begin, I don’t have the courage to go further and try to fall in love, if it happens. I like sex and a lot, I imagine it, I work on sex with my imagination but I’m afraid of the guys. It’s obvious that they are almost all heterosexual and this hampers me very much because being put in public would put me in difficult situations and then there are diseases, and then, basically, I only have in mind my idea of sex, which doesn’t coincide with what I think most gays go looking for.

Here, this is the problem. I’m gay but the sex I find on gay porn sites is isn’t at all like the one I want and would experience, so I tell myself that maybe I’m not really gay because gays live sex in another way. If I can be clearer, for me the maximum of the sex with a guy is being together naked, being able to touch and masturbate each other, but spontaneously I cannot think of taking anything in the mouth (you understand) I think in the end I could do it but I’ve never had a fixed idea of such things, and then anal sex I don’t conceive it at all. Nothing ideological against those who practice it but it is something that not only doesn’t attract me but I think I would never get to do, neither as active nor as passive.

I collected a lot of porn videos (i.e. I stored the links) in which sexuality was exactly that one I like, but they are few, some videos are beautiful and I would like to relive it in reality, but the vast majority of gay videos are of a very different type and don’t excite me at all but I think they excite many other gay guys. Not having concrete experiences I don’t know how I would react in reality but I think I would need a guy who also resembled me from the point of view of sexual fantasies and I think I would not be able to have a relationship in which sexuality doesn’t match my fantasies . Do my fantasies have something unusual? I mean, do you think I’m not really gay? Please tell me it very clearly. Am I the classic white fly (or the classic black sheep) among gays? Do you think I have any chance of finding a gay guy with whom to build something really important? Sometimes I really fear that it will never happen and that my fantasies will remain only fantasies. If you want, publish this email, because I would like to know what the guys think about it.

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HETERO-GAY AND GAY-GAY MODELS OF SEXUALITY

Hetero-gay relationship

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hetero-gay relationships and feminization of the gay

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

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

The seduction in the hetero-gay relationship

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

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

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

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

Evolution of hetero-gay relationships

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

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

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

1) Rob

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2) Tony

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

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

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

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

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

3) Andrew

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

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

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

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

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

Sexual behavior and perception of sexual Orientation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Birth of pornography

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gay-gay relationships

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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GAY SEXUAL EDUCATION

Acquisition of basic concepts: male, female, couple and family
 
This chapter is dedicated to sex education, with particular regard to the sexual education of gay boys. All education, and therefore also sexual education, aims to convey systems of values and to distinguish between right and wrong, moral and immoral, normal and not normal, basically, the sexual education can be taken as a guide  to distinguish what is to be accepted from what is to be rejected. Here I will use the categories of normal and non-normal.
 
Before sexual education in the strict sense, there is a phase of acquisition of concepts that will be taken as fundamental postulates, as obvious and indisputable structures of society, and in this sense will be considered normal. This phase begins very early; the contents transmitted include the difference between boy and girl, the behaviors assumed as typical of the boy and of the girl, the idea of the family, like father, mother and children, and also the idea of couple. And it is precisely through the acquisition of the concept of heterosexual couple as a normal thing that the discrimination of homosexuality begins.
 
The couples that appear in the comics of Walt Disney are always heterosexual: Donald Duck and Daisy, Mickey Mouse and Minnie, Horace and Clarabelle, etc. etc. and couples are presented by insisting on different attitudes of the male and female. Daisy is flirtatious and vain, Donald Duck is confusing and clumsy. Minnie is attentive to beauty and self-care, Mickey Mouse is concerned with investigating and solving police cases, but inevitably Donald Duck is in love with Daisy and Mickey Mouse with Minnie. The child, well before being able to understand what falling in love means, assumes that it is normal and obvious that a couple is formed of a boy and a girl. These messages, subliminal and pounding at the same time, constitute a substantial educational push not to heterosexuality in itself but to consider heterosexuality normal before knowing what it is about.
 
School books and heterosexual culture
 
The transmission of messages that underline the normality of heterosexuality continues to adulthood through many ways. Whoever has a school book in his hands that speaks of literature will notice that the point of view of the book, while having all the appearance of objectivity, is in all cases the typical hetero point of view. It is enough to say that the stories of love that we are talking about are, except for very rare exceptions, heterosexual stories and in the very rare cases in which stories with homosexual background are mentioned, which in the ancient world were not very rare and therefore cannot be omitted at 100%, the way to deal with the topic is substantially different from that used to describe heterosexual stories. Examples of couples of famous lovers, such as Paolo and Francesca, Abelard and Eloisa, Lancelot and Guinevere, and down to Renzo and Lucia and up to the contemporaries, are always made up of heterosexual couples. 
 
Sexual education through films and television
 
Even on television there are basically only stories of heterosexual love or passion. The appearance of television series centered on homosexuality, like the famous Queer as folk, is something that is spoken about a lot, almost an event, because it is absolutely exceptional, and we must keep in mind that in these series, homosexuality is presented as a social phenomenon perfectly structured in itself and substantially separate from the ordinary hetero world, the normality of gay reality is not at all emphasized, just the stereotype is stressed, that is gay reality is presented not in its complexity and its ordinariness but through a particular gay reality very ritualized, that one represented by the mass media, which is objectively only a little section of gay reality but risks to be mistaken for the real gay world.
 
Basically, given the general invisibility of the most relevant part of the gay world, i.e. of undeclared gays, the images of homosexuality that can be found in the cinema, on television or in comics (where they start timidly to appear), are only those of the gay visible world, with its collective rituals and its stereotypes, they are images that are very far from the real life of the vast majority of gays and, moreover, for show needs they are presented with particular tones and with a particular underlining.
 
Gays almost never appear on TV as ordinary people who one can meet in everyday life. Except for very few exceptions,  the idea of gay presence in society as a normal component of society itself still has no place in cinema and literature. The images used by advertising are often full of sexual allusions, even very explicit and they are almost always allusions to heterosexual sexuality. The very rare images that allude to gay couples or to contents referring to homosexuality are often the cause of scandal and are remembered above all for their exceptional nature and for the controversies they have provoked.
 
Sexual education and sport
 
Also sport helps to underline the idea of heterosexuality as normality and therefore of homosexuality as deviance. Discussions on the presence or absence of gay players in the national team or in other teams are very indicative of this trend. Coaches and players are quick to point out that there are no gays in their teams, which is like saying that there are no pathological cases and that everything is normal.
 
Religion and sexual education
 
The attitudes of total closure of the Catholic Church with respect to homosexuality are well known. The Church doesn’t limit itself to reaffirming the centrality of the heterosexual couple but states a prejudicial sentence and without appeal against  homosexuality. The official documents of the Church, beyond impromptu interviews with apparently conciliatory tones, are and remain among the manifestations of the more radical intolerance towards homosexuality.
 
It could be objected that the television series, the comics, the attitudes of the Church or those of the sports world are not true forms of sexual education, it remains the fact that all or almost all the messages to which the boys, who are growing, are exposed, are messages endowed with a communicative power far superior to that of any form of classical sexual education, and contain repeated and concordant underlining of the normality of heterosexuality and therefore of the non-normality of homosexuality.
 
Parents and sexual education
 
The condemnation of homosexuality is implicit but it is and is understood as very clear. It should be added that, in all this, the attitudes and expectations of the family have enormous weight. Parents hardly worry about the possibility that the boy can be gay and behave with him by taking absolutely for granted that they are dealing with a heterosexual boy and therefore they always believe they are legitimized to project their expectations into the boy and to direct him in the direction that, in good faith, they judge the most appropriate for the boy himself.
 
Sexual education: taboo and scandal
 
Sexuality, all sexuality, is still affected by a category of religious origin, that is, the idea of taboo, of the forbidden, and therefore of the transgressive. Of sexuality one can also speak but always in general terms, by categories, never explicitly and with reference to oneself. Sexuality, in other words, is not considered a normal topic of conversation, it is something that should be omitted, at least for good education. The idea of the taboo implies that of the scandal, the idea that one can create a scandal is very significant, because scandal means publicity and also money, so newspapers, magazines and gossip blogs put the sexuality of a person on the streets when that sexuality turns out to be not normal, especially when it comes to conjugal betrayals or homosexuality.
 
Building one’s own concept of sexuality
 
Naturally, the boys, with the maturity, gradually build their own idea of sexuality and, if they are gay, specifically of homosexuality, which progressively detaches itself from the concepts learned in a subliminal way in childhood and early adolescence. In other words, with the passing of the years boys open their eyes and realize that the reality of sexuality, in general, is very different from ideal models, that the model of marriage as a natural love union of a man and a woman if it’s considered for what it really is, shows all its fragility, so much so that in Italy the majority of marriages don’t hold up over time and that, as regards homosexuality, in particular, reality is totally different from how it is represented.
 
Repressive sexual education
 
The weight of the internet in this path towards awareness is often decisive. It is much easier to talk seriously and without sexual taboos with a 35/40-year-old man than with an 18/20 year-old boy who is still deeply conditioned by behavioral patterns and interpretation patterns of external origin. There are still many young people in their twenties who don’t have a realistic idea of how others experience sexuality. I would add that there are twenty-year-old guys who are literally terrified by the idea that something of their sexuality can be leaked to their parents.
 
In some circles, even today, gay guys suffer real forms of violent repression that unfortunately leads them to make choices that over time will prove devastating for their emotional life and for their personal balance. I happen to talk to guys over 20 who have never before had any chance to talk seriously about their sexuality. Talking with these guys allows us to understand the depth of their discomfort and the need for them to be reassured in order to be able to look at the future with concrete hope.
 
To get out of certain environments and earn a true autonomy it takes a huge effort and guys are often completely abandoned to themselves and discouraged in their every attempt to emancipate themselves and to build a better perspective. Very often families or are totally incapable of realizing the difficulties of their sons or are inclined to consider as a priority the traditional way of life to maintain a reputation at least apparent in front of the people. In some circles, even today, a 20-year-old boy he cannot afford not to have a girlfriend if he doesn’t want to be substantially marginalized. The state of suffering caused by these situations is really heavy. Here not only is there no sexual education to freedom and responsibility but there is a real form of educational violence that doesn’t propose but imposes coercive behavior patterns through very heavy forms of masked blackmailing. This imposition attitude is opposed to that of complete indifference which is instead characteristic of environments that are considered more open and free.
 
Risks of obscurantism and prohibition
 
It should be emphasized that, for the boys, talking seriously about sexuality and clarifying their doubts in this matter is fundamental and the absence of any form of comparison ends up inducing them to seek answers away from the daily dimension, in environments that seem the most suitable to acquire concrete knowledge on the subject of sexuality and in particular of homosexuality. I speak primarily of the pornography, which presents models, apparently gratifying and simple, endowed with a force of persuasion well beyond that of words.
 
Obscurantist or prohibitionist attitudes regarding sexuality have effects that are exactly opposite to those envisaged. If the parents, the school, the Church and the sports environment consider sexuality to be a taboo, the boys will go in search of spaces where they can obtain information in a clear way and can even live their first experiences, through the internet, first of all through pornography and then through erotic chats and dating sites. The huge number of people who use these sites is largely due to the absence of any form of sexual education at the family or school level, as well as, obviously, to the repression of sexual spontaneity.
 
Pornography on the net
 
In the past years pornography on the Internet was presented with criteria of strong aggression and in very stereotypical forms, access to the sites was generally paid and the presence of dialers to charge the user very high telephone charges was a deterrent that helped to keep the vast majority of kids out of those environments. Today things have changed, the free porn sites, which are financed exclusively by theme advertising, are many and recently the blogs created by individual users to collect photos from the web and to republish them, are widely spreading. this is the phenomenon of re-blogging, which has a particular meaning when it comes to erotic sites (these sites are not are about explicit pornography but show content vaguely related to sexuality, such as nude photos or short movies taken by a candid camera, with some sexual implication). The re-blogging has led to the creation of sites that have nothing to do with the old heavy pornography, that was present on the Internet years ago, these sites are managed with good taste, sometimes they have no commercial purposes and it is not surprising that they have a public in progressive increase. Even these blogs with an erotic theme, however, inevitably present behavior patterns.
 
Pornography and today also the re-blogging of erotic content constitute for many gay guys the sexual model of reference, somehow a true sex education. It should be kept in mind that the boys’ approach to pornography starts very early and that the first contact usually takes place between 13 and 14 years, so at an extremely receptive age compared to content related to sexuality.
 
The use of pornography is closely connected with masturbation and is, above all for straight boys, a topic of discussion with peers. For them, talking about these things with their friends is still possible and not risky, for gay boys it is easy to realize from the speeches of other boys that the sexuality of those boys is another and it is easy to deduce the wrong conclusion that there is something wrong with gay sexuality.
 
For a straight boy the messages coming from pornography are filtered through the speeches made with friends and have a less important value than for a gay boy, who on those topics generally doesn’t have the possibility of interpersonal comparison. I would add that the first sexual relationships of heterosexual boys are generally considerably more anticipated than the first sexual relationships of gay boys and present themselves as a sort of license to adulthood, for gay boys instead, masturbation on the basis of pornography replaces sexuality lived with other guys for very long periods and ends up consolidating the models offered by pornography.
 
Sexual education delegated to Church and pornography
 
In social contexts, such as the Italian one, in which moralism dominates and in which sex is the most widespread and rooted educational taboo, there is no serious form of sexual education given through institutional and lay channels, that is, not affected by prejudices of religious origin, which means that the sexual education of boys is almost totally delegated to the Church and to pornography.
 
Although the conditioning weight of the education given by the Church is still significant in many cases, the element that really dominates the sexual education of boys in today’s Italy is certainly pornography via the Internet. Given that in fact a very delicate educational task is up to the pornography, let us ask ourselves if it is really able to perform such a task by showing the true gay sexuality as it is actually experienced, or if pornography shows something substantially different from reality, in particular, let us ask ourselves if and how gay pornography influences the true sexuality of gays, beyond the fact that it represents such a sexuality more or less correctly.
 
Hetero-gay and gay-gay models of male-male relationship
 
Let’s start from the definition of heterosexual male (hetero) as a male person who falls in love both on an emotional and sexual level with women or girls, and of homosexual male (or gay) as a person, always male, who falls in love both on the emotional and sexual level with men or guys.
 
According to the common notion, an emotional or sexual relationship “male homosexual” or, briefly, “homosexual” is a relationship “between two male persons”, but it is clear that, in fact, the situations that can occur are two and are clearly different from each other. If the relationship is created between two gays we will talk about gay-gay relationship, if it on the contrary it is created between a heterosexual and a gay we will talk about a hetero-gay relationship. It should not be surprising that hetero-gay relationships exist, because a heterosexual, who “falls in love” affectionately and sexually only with women or girls, can nevertheless, for various reasons, build also sexual relationships, generally without a true affective component, with gay guys, the phenomenon, indeed, is and overall has been quite common, as we will see in the section on gay sexuality. Historically, hetero-gay and gay-gay relationships were born in very different eras and have been structured according to very different models.
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GAY RELATIONSHIPS WITHOUT AN END

Hello Project, I am writing to you because I am in a situation that makes me feel bad like a beaten dog. I am 46 years old, two years ago a 20 year old guy fell in love with me, or at least he did everything to build an engaging relationship with me: sex, but not only that, for us it was the first time, both for him and for me, you understood, Project, I had never been with a guy. I had the distinct feeling that it wouldn’t work and I tried to do everything to stay away but he didn’t give up and we came to build a relationship that lasted more than two years, then, what I feared has realized and he told me that he had found another guy, that he was sorry that I would have taken it badly but that he needed something else. 
The speech put in these terms would still be simple and all in all clear but things were actually much more complex, because we had created a relationship that went beyond sex, I mean that we loved each other and when we broke up (and we broke up well, I mean in a sweet and affectionate way) we actually both knew that something would have remained and that we would always be there for each other and so it was, in fact we never really left each other. 
We no longer had sexual contacts as before because he had a boyfriend, but there was still reciprocal love between us. Project, tell me what is good for this guy? To dedicate himself completely to his new boyfriend, who is a very good guy, and in this case I should completely disappear or in a sense dissolve myself and no longer contact him, or perhaps it makes sense that I exist, with a role that I don’t even know define? However I feel moments of deep suffering because I miss him violently, I remember the days spent together, I dream of those moments almost every night, but I know that I have to leave him free, his happiness is another, there might even be a place for me, but I would still be a secondary character in his horizon. What does one of my age have to do when a not yet 23 years old leaves him but tells him that he still loves him?
With his boyfriend he can now have a story if not in the light of the sun, at least not to hide carefully as he did with our story. I don’t blame him for this, after all I did the same thing and then he would have been considered as a madman at his house not because he is gay but because he stays with someone who is twice his age, something that, for him personally (not at the social or family level), has never created any problem. 
Project, I read with great interest the chapter on intergenerational relationships on “Being gay” but frankly in my case there is not a real couple relationship, maybe there was, but maybe what brought him to stay with me was something else, that is was the need for affection, the need for reassurance, the need to be accepted. In fact this is not the basis of a typical couple relationship but represents the attempt to rebuild a family that no longer exists. I believe this was precisely the meaning of the bond between us. The sex lived together in a calm and without inhibitions way was just the sign of a mutual acceptance without reservation. 
Ok, all this is true, but now he is not there and I feel really empty and destroyed. I know very well that my duty is not to complicate his life but to let him go or to allow him to manage what remains of our relationship exactly as he wants, even that is a sign of acceptance without reservation. But I feel really badly about it, Project, and he doesn’t realize it, and in a sense, I did everything to make sure he didn’t. When we  talk on the phone or on Skype, I act as if nothing has happened, but when we close the phone I feel like crying because those phone calls are not stupidities or formalities, they are a way to confirm that our relationship still exists. 
Here, Project, what really destroys me: the fact that it is not a matter of a thing that is already over, it is not so for him and it is not for me. At my age, before I knew him, I had thought about definitively put aside the idea of having a boyfriend, then he arrived and he upset my plans and now he’s leaving but he doesn’t leave completely and I feel an anguish inside that I couldn’t even describe: anxiety, fear that he might find himself in some trouble, desire to see him happy at all costs and at the same time a deep sense of emptiness, as if I were falling backwards, as if my life was sliding backwards irremediably at the level of two years ago, but after one has known love or at least sex lived with participation, after one has held in his arms a guy in love, well it is scary to think that all this is about to end. 
Something remains, I know, but it’s not enough for me, I know it should be enough but it’s not enough for me. Sometimes I feel like a fool and I try to download all the faults on him but I know very well that he has no faults, that he has lived and is living his feelings with absolute simplicity. I don’t know what to wish for, maybe it would be better if he forgets me soon but I don’t think it would be easy and on the other hand he also loves his boyfriend and I don’t have the slightest doubt about. I know very well that he will never come back with me and that I have to leave him completely free, but Project it’s damned difficult. What can I do? I swear I’m completely confused.
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GAY EXPERIENCES

Hello Project, I’ve known the gay project blog for a long time and from a few days ago I started reading the forum too. I didn’t think I would have written anything, but I have to say one thing, you give a very particular view of the gay world, when I read the posts of the guys in the forum I realize that they also think essentially like you, maybe they have been lucky and have known only the positive aspects of gays but there are many other things that a gay guy should consider very carefully to avoid getting into trouble.
 
I’m 26 years old and I have always lived in Milan but I can guarantee you that I have seen very different things from those you write. I tell it not in a polemical sense, because I like a lot the things you put in the blog, but for me they represent more a single side of the coin than the general rule, more what I would like than what I see or have seen so far.
 
I read your articles on homosexual prostitution and I would like to say that even when those levels aren’t reached, often a young boy is likely to be in contact with people who have broken out, maybe not his fault, and with situations that are quite pathological also in the conception of sex. But I don’t want to make a generic speech. I’ll tell you a true story, my story, I think it can serve to reflect.
 
I’ve always known that I was gay, at the age of 16 I feel lonely, I miss a physical contact. I don’t even know what this expression means, if I miss a hug and a little pampering or I miss a real sexual contact, I probably miss both things and I feel bad, very bad, I fall in love with a heterosexual schoolmate and I spend a couple of years to run after him, of course without any result, or better with the only result of being disgraced everywhere, even at home, and being attacked with a memorable scene, even if I hadn’t done anything absurd, anything at all.
 
At 18 I fight every day with my parents who now tolerate me but have already completely downloaded me, I’m doing bad at school, in the twelfth grade I risk of being rejected because I don’t go to school, anyway my teachers close both their eyes and I arrive in the thirteenth grade.
 
I get the fixed idea of finding someone, I cannot say whether in order to be hugged or to have sex. I desperately need someone to take care of me that makes me feel that he loves me, but there is no one and then I start to follow two paths, one is that of the gym and the other is that of the combined meetings on the internet.
 
On the gym side after a week I find a guy 35-year-old who seems interested, a fine guy, a nice guy, a bit too old for me but a nice guy, courting me with looks, attentions, invitations to the bar of the gym but also a bit of compliments, he tells me that I’m a nice guy, in short, I feel encouraged. I thought he would like to look at me in the locker room or in the showers … no! It was just as if I were not there, but he continued to court me, then I take courage and I say “I’m gay” and he says: “Me too … but here I am straight …” I don’t understand the meaning of such an answer, after a few days he says to me: “Do you come to my house tonight?” I feel taken aback, what I can expect I know it very well … or better I don’t know at all … because one says: “I foresee just sex … ” Ok, but what does that mean? …
 
In short, I go there, I felt very excited, for me it was the first time. I was expecting a tender thing but it was not like that at all, I didn’t even have the courage to react and he behaved just like a beast, he wanted only one thing from me, he didn’t care about anything, for him I was more or less like an inflatable doll.
 
When he did what he wanted, it was all over and for me there was not even a caress. He looked at me satisfied, but I felt like crying, I felt like a disgust, I had given my virginity to such a beast, I felt like an unforgivable stupid. He noticed it and told me that I was a kid and that if I didn’t want to stay, I didn’t have to be of consequence to him, etc. etc. I dressed and left. Then it really came into my head that for me living would have made no sense and that gays were all a disgust, one worse than the other.
 
A few days later I found another one on the internet, James, … one with a body very muscular and well trained but with a sweet look … We meet, it’s not beautiful but it’s not too bad, he doesn’t go right to the point, in short, he talks a bit, tells me he has never had sex with a guy, with girls yes. He’s a very undecided guy who likes be courted, I’m around him 15/20 days and then finally the first intercourse with him. It starts not bad … I think this time I have found the good one. No forcing … then at the best part he kisses me and says: “Mark … I love you!” … but my name is Francis and he knows it very well … I pretend not to have understood and he calls me Mark again. I tell him my name is Francis and he tells me he wants to call me Mark. I ask him why and he tells me that he needs Mark because he is in love with Mark and not with me, that I can never give him anything because only Mark can make him feel good.
 
I ask him who Mark is and tells me the story, in practice he is madly in love with Mark, but Mark doesn’t care at all about him. Mark too is gay, but Mark is beautiful and has as many guys as he wants … in practice we spent all night talking about Mark. I was sorry for James, he demanded that I helped him to write an email to Mark, I said to him: “Don’t get angry, but, excuse me, why do you want to send it to him … if he doesn’t care at all about you? …” But he insisted: “No, come on, please, let’s write it … ” and told me all the things that I had to put in the email. In the end we finished the email … and he asked me to send it, I told him: “Read it before sending!” But he told me that he trusted me and I sent it.
 
The next day James calls me at five in the afternoon, I thought he wanted to see me, but no … he starts an endless story blaming me for a hundred things … Marco had thrown the phone in his face because an email like that just a fool like me could write it because I was too aggressive … basically if Mark had sent him to the hell, the fault was only mine … but he went further: “You took advantage of my moment of weakness to bring me to make love, but I didn’t want to … I feel like you had raped me … but you don’t even realize it … ” To which I sent him loudly to hell.
 
Ten days later, a 50-year-old man comes to the gym … and what a subject he was!  Bald, fat like a lard ball … in short, this one starts to court me and it was very distasteful … but hell, I was 18, he was 50 … I say no! … nothing, he insists! It makes me fucking embarrassed … in front of everybody … then an instructor asks me: “But you know who is that man?” I answer: “No! Who is it?” And the instructor tells me that he was a very rich builder who had enticed, so to say, all the guys in the area … I close with the gym!
 
I have internet … now I’m just looking for peers.
Two brothers propose me to do the third … no thanks! I finally know another guy, quite nice … the chats were very sweet … he had also spoken about sex in a rather provocative way … but with education … we chat every day, I think he’s a beautiful person, I talk to him willingly, I insist on getting to know him but he takes time, I think he is an adult man who says he is an eighteen year old and I ask him to see him on cam, we open a video call … he is very young … he is 15 years old beautiful as the sun … but is a minor, we remained friends for a few months then he found a guy of 29 years and we no longer felt.
 
Two or three months later I meet Leo, 19, we also do some sex in the chat with the video camera. I like him a lot … In the end we get to the appointment … for me it’s a fundamental thing. I wait for him … but he doesn’t come … I go back home I open the chat where we always were chatting but his contact has been deleted. His blog no longer exists. Disappeared into nothing!
 
I met a lot of strange people, especially people with the fixed idea of sex, both young and about 40/50 years and the thing that came to my head is that being gay doesn’t have to be such an easy if there is so much gay people out of mind …
 
I have to say that I also met some good guys and some nice gay couples.
 
For the past four years I’ve been with my boyfriend, whose name is Laurence. When we first met I thought he was yet another hunter of easy sex, but with him it was different … but Laurence arrived after a long series of unpleasant experiences … not unpleasant, I would better say of experiences that end with the classic sentence: “But how did I and up in love with a moron like this?”
 
I want to say that what Project says is true and that in the end there are good things in the gay world, but we must also open our eyes well and distinguish the serious people from those who at 30/50 still play pretending they are kids. Hugs to all!
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If you like, you can join the discussion on this post on Gay Project Forum: http://gayprojectforum.altervista.org/T-gay-experiences

A GAY STORY OF EMOTIONAL ADDICTION

I would like to proceed now to the exposition and analysis of a story of emotional addiction. I state that the story I’m about to tell and analyze is not a true story but an example of school to point out the concepts related to the most serious diseases of a couple relationship. Nonetheless, the elements that I will take into consideration present themselves in real stories, studying their meaning here will therefore be useful to recognize in time the elements that seriously discourage the continuation of a couple relationship or it would be better to say a presumed couple relationship. But let’s get to the story. 
 
The characters are three, the first, Luke, is a 23-year-old guy who, treated by his parents as the weak link of the family, in relation to his married 35-year-old brother now fully realized at a social and economic level, has progressively lost self-esteem and is desperately looking for a guy to solve his problems in order to finally begin to feel loved. 
 
The second character is John, a 26-year-old guy who has undergone periods of severe depression and has ended up in a relationship of substantial dependence on the third protagonist of our story, Richard, a 35year-old man with a very determined and sometimes aggressive character that manages a small autonomous economic activity.
 
John doesn’t study, doesn’t work and doesn’t look for a job because he would have great difficulty in entering a working environment. Richard is aware of all this and keeps him home at his own expense. John’s family, which has always considered John as a patient, not because of his homosexuality, which was also known to his family, but because of his depression, has favored the relationship between John and Richard, aware that this would finally have removed John from the family, a fact considered highly desirable by his parents because of the frequent depressive crises of John and the presence of two younger brothers of John, still adolescents.
 
Luke meets John on a dating site, talks a lot with him, and is informed by John of his depression but not of the fact that John has lived with Richard for years.
 
Luke identifies himself with John and conceives the idea that no one better than him can assist John and that John, if properly supported by him, will be able to get out of depression and recover completely.
 
Between Luke and John a relationship develops slowly taking on all the characteristics of the relationship of love. Luke feels in love. The relationship develops without any pathological characteristics, Luke is enthusiastic, then fully unexpected elements intervene that arouse some perplexities in Luke: during their conversations in chat, John is absent for long periods of time. One day John, speaking with Luke, attributes to Luke a sentence that Luke remembers never having said, Luke avoids emphasizing the thing, which remains only a sporadic fact.
 
Luke and John describe themselves physically to each other, John says he is slim and well proportioned, but a couple of days later he says that he eats too much and that maybe it is the drugs that make him gain weight, even this fact remains only an episode and Luke tries not to give it too much weight.
 
Another day John tells Luke not to call him the next morning because he will go to the doctor together with his parents, Luke doesn’t call him and, in the afternoon, when they newly hear each other on the phone, John asks Luke why he didn’t call him in the morning as usual . Luke avoids to remind John of the visit to the doctor and tells him that he was busy with his family, John says only “Ah, ok! The important thing is that you’re fine! ” and seems not to remember at all to have told Luke that he would go to the doctor. This fact leaves Luke rather perplexed, but despite everything Luke avoids addressing the issue directly and tries not to give weight to the episode.
 
The speeches between Luke and John, slowly, come to touch sexuality and the two decide to exchange photos. Luke passes to John his photos, but John passes to Luke the photos of Richard a few years before, when he was definitely a handsome guy, and tells him that those are his last summer’s photos. Luke likes the pictures of Richard, and obviously believes they are the photos of John and Luke feels even more in love.
 
After a few weeks, one Friday, posing as John, Richard, in a very short conversation written in chat, proposes to Luke to meet in person the following Sunday. Luke doesn’t expect such a proposal so sudden but is very happy. He tries to contact John again, but he always gets only brief, interlocutory written answers. John (actually Richard) will take a trip of a few hours to reach Luke in his city. Luke’s expectations are many, when the day of the meeting finally arrives, at the station, Luke immediately recognizes the guy of the photos, which, however, seems a little too old for 26 years, but Luke judges the question to be secondary.
 
Luke realizes that the voice of the guy in front of him is not very similar to that of John, whom he had heard so many times via Skype, tries to resume then the classic speeches he did with John and brings up the depression but the guy answers him abruptly it is not to talk about depression that he has taken such a long journey. Luke tries to insist and explain that he understood that the guy in front of him is not the one he talked to so often in the chat. Richard attacks him almost violently, tells him that John is his boyfriend and that Luke must absolutely not even afford to mention him and concludes: “You are just a pig who is trying to put us against each other to ruin our lives because you you’re out of your mind! ” and goes away cursing. Luke is literally upset.
 
In the evening Luke calls John via the usual skype contact and doesn’t know what to expect, but John replies as if nothing had happened, he seems absolutely calm and completely unaware of the facts, Luke avoids talking about what happened.
 
Weeks pass, the things between Luke and John proceed well and Luke forgets his perplexities. After a couple of months John asks Luke to meet him in person, Luke eventually accepts. On the day of the meeting, at the station, John immediately recognizes Luke but obviously Luke doesn’t recognize John who is not the guy of the photos and Luke doesn’t like him physically.
 
John behaves with Luke in a very casual way, he knows the typical topics of the conversations with Luke and this fact reassures Luke but he doesn’t know what to do because the guy in front of him is not that of the photos, then tries to mention the fact in very vague way: “in person you don’t look much like you are in photos” but John doesn’t follow the thing, Luke insists “but are you sure you sent me your photos and not those of some other guy?” John looks at Luke as if Luke was crazy: “What are you saying? But are you out of your mind?” (The same expression used by Richard) then John continues the speech smiling and tells Luke that now they can finally realize together all the promises that they made each other for months.
 
Luke tries to mention that he doesn’t feel like having sex with John without further remarking that the guy in the picture was another. John looks at him worried as if he didn’t even realize what was happening and tells him that he doesn’t understand, that he doesn’t know why Luke is perplexed, because Luke looks different from how he had always known him, and adds that he feels him distant, strange, that he is no longer the same Luke, then begins to cry, cries and repeats that in the end no one has ever really cared about him, that no one has ever believed his feelings, that no one has ever loved him, that for him life It makes no sense and it makes no sense to even go on living and says he wants to go away immediately and goes to the station without speaking a single word, Luke pursues him and begs him to stay, is worried that John can make insane gestures, tells him that he loves him, that he is too important and that he is willing to do anything to avoid losing him and that he desperately needs his presence.
 
After a couple of hours of insistence by Luke, John appears less anxious. John and Luke go to the hotel together. John wants to be cuddled because he says he needs it, then cuddles are transformed into sex, Luke feels forced but doesn’t have the courage to say no and up to a certain point the thing goes on, but John claims performances that Luke doesn’t like at all, John feels frustrated and misunderstood again and starts crying again but Luke doesn’t give up this time.
 
John resumes his things and goes away upset with the air of being able to do terrible things. Luke is assailed by anxiety, calls him and begs him to come back but John doesn’t want to know reasons stops the conversation and doesn’t come back.
 
After a few hours Richard calls Luke and accuses him of having ruined John’s life and also his own and threatens him of serious consequences if he will contact again John, but John, secretly, contacts Luke again and begs him not to disappear and free him from Richard who keeps him succubus.
 
In short, at the end Luke wins his hesitations and takes his decision: to cut the bridges in a radical and definitive way with both, fortunately  John and Richard live in a distant city and it is not easy for them come back to Luke.
 
Luke is reassured by not having given either the home address or the home phone number.
 
Result: Luke has lived about three years of life in illusions that then turned into anxiety and violent anxiety because Luke entered into pathological mechanisms.
 
It is not even a problem of guilt, those two guys were not playing, for them what they did had a sense of reality, and this is precisely why guys must learn to open their eyes very well and to distinguish falling in love from addiction.
 
Let’s now try to analyze the story from Luke’s point of view. It can certainly happen that in the relationships between two guys there are different points of view and also profound misunderstandings but, attention, it’s really another story if one of the two has behaviors that appear to lack a simple and objective logic. I mean that even if one cannot follow the logic of the other, in any case, in the absence of real pathologies, everyone recognizes that the things said or done by the other follow their own logic, which may not be shared but is however a logic, that is, it has intrinsically a meaning.
 
When in a relationship you are faced with behaviors objectively illogical or inconsistent (example: I send you the photos of another guy stating that they are mine and then when you, seeing me in person, realize that those photos are not mine, I insist, against the evidence, in saying that they are really mine) the alarm bell must ring, the same applies when the dialogue systematically becomes a monologue, especially if it is a repetitive monologue, or when one is faced with too sudden and frequent changes of mood or subject. The excesses are always suspicious, so the stable excess of tragic tones, the perpetually distracted tone of those who never go beyond the superficial chatting and the obsessive offer or request for affective confirmations should alarm and should awaken rationality.
 
The wrong attitude of Luke, in the story I just told, and which, I repeat, is not a real story but only an example of school, consists in not wanting to understand and systematically removing all the elements of alarm, abandoning himself to exclusively emotional reactions.
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If you like, you can join the discussion on this post on Gay Project Forum: http://gayprojectforum.altervista.org/T-a-gay-story-of-emotional-addiction