GAY THEMED OCD AND NAKEDNESS AT THE GYM

The following email is a particularly important document, it is not about a gay guy, but about a straight guy with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) characterized by the obsessive fear of being gay. Guys with gay-themed OCD submit compulsively to tests of erection in environments or situations of gay interest, and/or to tests of masturbation with gay fantasies, in order to determine their sexual orientation. Obviously for these guys the climate of the locker room of a gym is generally strongly anxiety-inducing. The hetero guy who wrote the email, very well followed at a psychological level and now about to exit OCD, has begun to attend the gym and the relative locker room and has managed to have, even in that environment, an excellent control of anxiety.

“Hello everyone! I have not written for some time, lately I’m quite absent from the forum, even if I’m in chat almost every night. Many times, in recent years, I happened to feel bad and I came to the forum to open a topic and ask for help and some advice on how to get out of the black moments. This time, however, the situation is opposite, I’m writing to you because I’m finally beginning to understand and accept myself for what I’m, a straight guy, without asking myself too many questions, without making too many problems. My self-esteem has greatly increased, both thanks to psychotherapy, where I put into practice with all my will the therapeutic strategies of my psychologist (I must thank him too, because without him I would never understood the mechanisms and automatisms of thought that had almost taken control of my mind, settling themselves within me), and thanks to my openness to experiences, where I also made many mistakes, but I learned from them.

Unfortunately, today I still suffer from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and I don’t deny that when I’m anxious, negative thoughts start to burst and this sometimes makes me very nervous. But the positive thing is that I finally recognized this automatism, and when the thoughts arrive I try to accept them for what they are, that is “thoughts”, as the word just says, which are images, words that are not real in that moment. The fact is that the thoughts provoke emotions, positive, if the thought concerns a beautiful thing and obviously, they cause negative emotions if the thought is negative. I now try to tolerate them, because I’m aware that a thought is a just a thought, and cannot represent reality. I take my life as it comes, with the positive and negative sides, and I try not to make a drama if someone tells me something rude. The negative thoughts are for me (but I think for everyone) a wake-up call, for example if I’m doing something and I start to fell anxious and I negative thoughts appear it means that I don’t really want to do it. I must thank these thoughts, I must thank the anxiety, which on one hand made me suffer like a dog, but on the other made me understand that the life I did until a few months ago, didn’t belong to me, I acted a character that I was not, and I did things I didn’t really want to do.

My life is changing, and positively, of course I have my black moments (like everyone) but I’m beginning to manage them effectively, and above all I try not to emphasize certain situations, which in reality are nonsense. I‘m becoming more elastic mentally, I accept my parents for what they are, I don’t judge them, even if they have judged me in the past, but in my heart I have forgiven them.

I am beginning to listen to myself, my real needs, my body, my sexual drives, I accept all this as normal things. When I’m among the people, I feel like them, neither superior nor inferior. In the past I tended to feel inferior, I judged myself as an incapable, a clumsy. Today when I talk to a person I look at that person straight in the eyes, sure of myself, I pronounce the words well when I speak, I feel at the same level. I don’t judge myself negatively if I don’t have any real friend yet, with whom I could go out on Saturday night.

I always say to myself that everything has its own time and that I must not be in a hurry. Already the fact that I can interact with people and especially with my peers (before I was afraid of my peers), is a big step forward for me and I’m happy for it. I’m sure that if I keep going on this way, showing myself for what I am (and I’m not just talking about my sexual orientation, but I mean everything), I’ll finally be able to find people who have the same sensitivity and with whom I can share good moments. I can finally see the positive aspects of life and I dwell on them, and when I can overcome my fears, I congratulate myself.

A month ago I joined the gym to improve my body and my mood. When I’m there I feel at home, it’s a beautiful environment, there are many quiet guys (and also very nice!) And sometimes I exchange a few words with them. The first few times, I didn’t want to take a shower there, I preferred to do it at home, because I was afraid of having an erection watching other naked guys, then a few weeks ago I decided to overcome this other fear of mine. This morning after the training I took a shower there, before entering the locker room I had a little anxiety, then I took courage and I entered. I started to undress, I took the bathrobe and the bubble bath and went in the shower. After the shower I went to put the underwear clean, to dress, dry my hair etc. etc., in short, all things that normally people do after physical exercises. But all this (apart from the initial anxiety) was accompanied by a sense of absolute freedom, I saw other naked guys and I felt a bit of sexual excitement, but only psychological, in the sense that physically I didn’t have erections.

But if I had had an erection, of course, I would have felt embarrassed, but just because I’m accepting sexuality for what it is, I would not have made many problems. While I was taking a shower and soaping my body and hair, I felt free from all fear, I felt the warm water on my body sliding slowly, the perfume of the bubble bath, the steam that surrounded me. I really relaxed and felt so natural, I was naked along with other naked guys, doing normal things, free from any negative thinking and from any worries. I was so at ease that I was a lot of time in the locker room, I did everything calmly, because there were a few guys, sometimes with the corner of the eye I looked at some penises but I’m very prudent and no one noticed it!

Then, when I was almost completely dressed, a gentleman of about 40 (maybe even less) entered, a sculpted and attractive physique. Even before, when I was doing the exercises in the gym, he had glanced at me and I had returned the glance, then in the locker room he started chatting: “and even today we trained…” and so we talked for a couple of minutes. Then, I finished dressing, I put the jacket on, we said goodbye and went away. When I got into the car, before starting the engine, I said to myself “very good, it went very well!!” and I came back home happy! Often, many of our fears are completely unfounded. The human mind is often a double-edged sword because (as said before) we listen to our thoughts and the famous “anxiety” arrives.

For example, this morning I was very worried about the shower in the gym, I even imagined scenes in which I had an erection in the locker room and someone made fun of me. Instead I experienced the exact opposite, but then again, an erection could happen in the future, but I will not make a problem because it is not. Living well with oneself and with one’s own sexuality is a wonderful thing, feeling one’s own instincts and having one’s own erotic imagery as a sort of private garden where we can only access ourselves with our imagination (this applies to everyone, gay or not) means to know yourself and feel good about yourself. I conclude with two thoughts that I wrote these days in moments of serenity:

1) “I feel good, but not because I’m all right, but because I accept the things that don’t go well without making a drama.”

2) “The charm of life is characterized by the mystery and uncertainty of every day, which are scary to each of us, but at the same time make life more beautiful and intriguing. I am convinced that if each of us knew his own future at the start, he would not even taste every little moment of life. Doubt and uncertainty are and MUST ABSOLUTELY BE PART of life, without them we couldn’t open ourselves to experiences and we couldn’t afford to make mistakes. In my opinion, a man who is not wrong, or doesn’t admit to having made a mistake at least once in his life, cannot be called a man.”

I wish all of you a good evening and happy Christmas holidays! A hug!”

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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-themed-ocd-and-nakedness-at-the-gym

A GAY IN THE GYM

[Interview with a 24-year-old boy, registered on 4/16/2003]

Do you want to know what I go there to do? . . . Yes, yes . . . but have I to explain it to you? With this fucking microphone … I feel embarrassed, you’re there to record but it’s me the one who has to do the speech, come on, let’s go further. . . I’m ashamed . . . No, wait . . . ok ok . . . now I try. . . I go there for several reasons, the usual ones, health, sports, all these reasons. . . and come on! . . . don’t make all those grimaces! . . . good! . . . I come to the point! ok ok . . . but in fact I go there to see the naked guys. . . it’s like that, there’s nothing to do, it’s like that, because today you can find everywhere a lot of stuff not only of naked but also of porn at all levels but that is not sex, are only movies, in short are false things, apart from that there is all a false mental attitude, however, those who do those things just are actors, in those things there is very little of natural.

I have seen a lot of films of a certain kind but these things have nothing to do with being in front of real naked guys. Anyway, guys unlike the actors, don’t act, are really happy to stay with other real guys who are not actors, they are there with the utmost naturalness, they joke a little, they play, that is, they are what they really are, it’s just a wonderful climate, for them that is not a sexual climate, it’s normal, this is what strikes me the most: the absolute naturalness of these guys’ behaviors, the affectionate, casual climate despite the nudity. I, in general, when I go to the locker room, stay there a lot of time, but not just to look around, even to wait for them all to go away in order to finally get dressed, because when I’m in there I’m in erection all the time, but if I’m almost fully clothed, no one notices it.

Once, two or three weeks ago, I went there on Monday, when there are very few people, and I found a guy I met a couple of months ago, a straight guy eh. . . so certain ideas, that I have, must pass from my head. He’s called George, a guy 22 years old, but just a nice guy, but so straight that you cannot be more straight. . . that only talks to you about his girlfriend, in short you have understood the type. . . and you should hear the voice. . . a very sexy thing.

I was sitting on the bench pretending to put things right in the bag, he was coming out of the shower, practically we were just us. He puts himself in front of me, as his mother did him, and begins a conversation based entirely on girls. The show was unique, it was just beautiful. That is, now, it is obvious, for a gay guy to see a naked guy is also a sexual attraction, however, apart from this, a beautiful naked guy is just beautiful, that is a work of art. But he Has been there chatting without dressing for at least twenty minutes, I think he also had the pleasure of being seen. . . because if you’re ugly you do well if you cover yourself, but if you’re a nice guy you have nothing to cover. I was always shocked by the immediacy and the absence of inhibitions of the guys like George, for them it is obvious, for me it is absolutely unthinkable. Then he greeted me and left. . . as if nothing had happened, I had to recover from the emotion, because in the state in which I was not I was not able to go out, after a few minutes I went out, I found him at the bar and he offered me a tonic water, then he left but before leaving me we shook hands very cordially, he with his beautiful smile and a beautiful warm, strong hand. . .

Something like this is not very common, you can usually see many naked guys, all together, but the scene doesn’t imprint on your brain, while with George, a very different situation had been created. It is clear that it happens once in a while, sometimes such a thing doesn’t happen for several weeks, but when it happens, even just once, you don’t forget it anymore and, there is no need to say It, when you come home you have an erection just thinking about it, with everything that is coming after. In a way I know George intimately, even if these are frustrating things, anyway. . . a few days later I see George, he greets me, asks me if I remember him. . . damn if I remember! I remember every little detail of him, well, you understood. He smiles at me. . . if he knew that I not only remember him but that I think about him very, very intensely, every night. . . Well, I don’t know what he would do. . . I think he would choose another gym. . . or not? . . . Boh!

The story of George has been a bit exceptional, in general it is a far more trivial thing. . . but for a gay guy of my age it’s anyway a great temptation. Then there is a fact, I never go to the gym with friends, I always go there alone. I don’t know If there are any other gay guys, I’ve never notices anything that concretely credited this hypothesis. In there, it seems that I’m the only one inhibited, or other gays are perfectly integrated, I don’t know, but the feeling is as if there are no inhibited guys. That they are all true hetero it would seem strange to me, but, at least at eye and cross, it’s what seems most likely.

Ah. . . one thing, and it’s something that I’ve always noticed and has always struck me, the guys who go to the gym tend to make friends and it works well, while I feel out of the group, I feel somehow not to be part of the group and sometimes it also comes into my mind that becoming a voyeur, because I actually it’s what I’m, it is also not very respectful to these guys, I feel a bit like a thief, I would very much not steal these moments of intimacy, but you can get these thing only this way . . . and then I don’t see a real reason to be ashamed for . . . I feel like a thief, it’s true, but basically I do not steal anything from these guys, they are completely unaware, it’s true. . . but they don’t remain traumatized and then everything is so natural.

In the gym I’ve never seen bad jokes, that is sexual ones, I’ve heard of them, but I’ve never seen these things. When there is someone new, it is usually presented to the other guys by a friend who already attends the gym and I never saw situations of embarrassment. Ah, another thing, many, who don’t feel any embarrassment in being naked, are anyway not naked all the time but put a towel on their hips, but not to hide something, because then they take it off without any embarrassment. It’s all a ritual, it’s all coded, they all behave more or less the same way, it’s just a sort of masculine collective ritual.

At the my gym showers are closed by plastic blinds and there is a little privacy, in fact I almost never go there. When guys come out, they usually come out with a towel around their hips. . . but then they remove it to dry well. That of the locker room is really a special environment, there is a climate of total freedom that there is never in any other situation. When there is a new guy I’ve never seen before I try to fix things so that I enter the locker room just when he too is there, I study very well all the strategy that has to look totally random, but not only, first of all I greet him, I go by him when he does the weights or when he is at the machines, I explain how the machines work, that is, I try to create a minimum of relationship but then the brain goes always there.

I mean that I have not really known a guy until I have seen him naked, that is, I have to get there, I have to know how he’s done, it’s very important. When it happens I have a complete picture that guy, it’s not a stupid thing, it’s just like that. . . and when it happens like with George that a familiarity is formed such that the guy stops talking to you when he comes out of the shower without dressing . . . well, what can I say to you, it seems to me that a very special intimacy has been created. But now it’s enough, don’t make me talk too much, I can’t go into details. . . but if a climate like that created with George was created with a gay guy, it would be the best. . .

I know very well that a similar climate with a gay guy would never exist. . . but I understand them those who fall in love with heterosexuals, because I think of George a thousand times a day. I saw his schedules and I set mine just as his, perhaps something interesting could come out! A scene like that of three weeks ago could be repeated, but till now it didn’t happen. When he arrives he greets me and smiles as well, I always try to catch him in the locker room both before and after the shower, but I cannot insist too much. I have a dream, I would like him one day would really stop to talk with me, but not naked as it happened three weeks ago, I would like him to ask me a ride at the exit, I would accompany him home and I would like him to look into my eyes and say: “I don’t have the courage to tell you. . . but I’m gay and I’m in love with you!” . . But no! He’s just a beautiful hetero! . . . but does it seem right to you?

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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-in-the-gym