GAYS AND SEXUAL EDUCATION

This post will try to summarize the effects of sexual education on gay sexuality.

First of all it is necessary to define the concept of sexual education. We start from a premise: the development of studies indicates that sexuality has a genetic-epigenetic base which is substantially defined already in the uterus and at most in the perinatal period. This genetic-epigenetic imprint determines not only the sex, that is, gender belonging in anatomical and physiological terms, but also the gender identity, that is, the perception of gender and sexual orientation.

The awareness of sexuality, its models, the more or less repressed manifestations of sexuality over the years, and the consequences on an individual psychological level, are instead largely determined by that familiar and social interaction, which we can call “sexual education” and which is not limited to just a single part of life, but follows the evolution of the individual according to the progressing of age.

The fact that sexuality, understood in its most profound aspects, is closely connected with the affectivity induces to consider sex education as an integral part of affective education.

A concept, in the educational field, should never be forgotten: education acts on the basis of an individual biological genetic-epigenetic substratum but is also linked to the stages of development, to possible pathologies and many other factors. Education means to develop the potential of an individual “respecting first of all the biological identity”. A good gardener knows that by placing an apple tree in the ideal conditions for the cultivation of an apricot tree, not only we will not be able to obtain apricots from the apple tree, but it will suffer a lot and may even die. Cultivating a tree means understanding first of all what tree it is and then providing it with the appropriate care for that specific tree. This is also true for people.

Let’s start from the family dimension, i.e. from emotional-sexual education inside the family.

The family is the first environment in which a child begins to build relationships. In order to begin to feel an affective gratification, the child must perceive the sense of acceptance and affectionate care from the parents. If the child is the subject of confrontation (unwanted children, doubtful parenthood, a child that has become an object of contention between parents and grandparents or between the parents themselves), he easily becomes aware that he’s not the center of family life and begins to experience the sensation of marginality and abandonment yet in tender age.

Perceiving the disagreement between the parents is inherently traumatic and transmits automatically, by imitation, a model of behavior that is not emotional but competitive, stimulates aggressiveness in one direction and sense of frustration in the other. The child also instinctively senses the discrepancy between words and behavior. Cuddling a child for a while and then leaving him alone in the walker or in front of the television not only causes a sense of abandonment but also provides an initial model of falsehood: “I love you so much, but you must keep calm and stay aside because I have other things to do!” The speech is basically inconsistent and false because it brings together declarations of affection and behaviors that show disinterest.

Often the frustrations of parents, their claiming attitudes, their blaming of this or that, their justifying only themselves, transmit to the child the feeling of unreliability of the parent who begins to be a faltering reference point. Nothing is worse than raising your voice to impose your point of view, and I don’t even want to talk about the possible physical violence in the family, which is experienced by the child in a devastating way: a father who tugs at his mother, who slaps her, a mother who plays hysterical scenes and screams at her husband, represent models that the child will certainly internalize, or by imitation or contrast, identifying, according to the situations, as an aggressive person or as a victim, and this will move the child away from the emotional contact, which is the true purpose of emotional education.

There are several other behaviors, apparently neutral, which transmit a sense of insecurity to the child:

1) A parent who speaks in the singular setting himself against the other (“I … while your mother …”) . The use of “we/us” conveys the idea of affective family, harmony and solidarity.

2) To talk too often about money or about who brings home money, or about social hierarchies that don’t see parents at the same level.

3) To speak badly about other people the child knows.

4) To show that it is difficult or impossible to speak with the other parent, that he/she has defects, that doesn’t care for the family and, worse of the worst, doesn’t care for children.

The presence of parents in the life of young children, up to preadolescence, should be constant, affectionate, dialoguing and never abstractly normative.

A particular consideration must be given to managing family conflicts that may arise, and indeed inevitably arise in the family over the years. It can be the conflicts of the parents with other relatives, of between parents themselves and also of the conflicts between parents and children. The management of conflicts must always be discursive and shared, no form of violence, even verbal, can be admitted for no reason. Recognizing the other’s reasons and seeking conciliation doesn’t indicate weakness but the exact opposite. The child must realize that the parent can see things in another way and you can talk to find a point of equilibrium without coming to breakage.

Affective education suffers a violent trauma when the parent-child relationship is dominated by the fear of the parent’s violent reactions. Even worse is the idea that a parent invokes the presence of the other parent to induce fear in the children, such in the classic: “I’ll tell your father!”
As one grows, one element takes on particular importance: confidence, which must be accompanied by confidentiality on the part of the parent. If a parent receives a confidence by the child, he must keep it for himself, if he doesn’t, he would induce the child to immediately interrupt the relationship of confidence with the parent that will anymore be resumed. Any attitude that shows the tendency of the parent to abandon himself to gossip, devalues him in the eyes of his son and reduces the possibilities for dialogue.

A general criterion must always be kept in mind: education operates through the example, not through words: children tend to assimilate and imitate parents’ behavior, not to put into practice what parents say in words but don’t do themselves.

What has been said so far, as it is easy to understand, requires from parents a substantial affective maturity that too often is taken for granted, assuming that the parent is always substantially up to the task of education and that at most he needs a training aimed at the conscious rethinking of contents and methods of education. Sometimes however, and not very rarely, these assumptions don’t occur, in some cases because parents themselves have been in turn educated (assuming that this word can be used in these situations) with completely improper and substantially non-educational methods, and in other cases because one or both parents can be psychopathological subjects (for example paranoid or perverse narcissists). While in the first case it is possible with regard to the parent a concrete action (even if of long duration and with uncertain outcome) of reorientation or re-education of the adult, in the second case such action is essentially impossible and the parent-child educational relationship can turn into a framework of family violence and abuse, up to the most extreme consequences. It should be emphasized that violence and family abuse practiced by paranoid or perverse narcissists parents are often not visible on the outside and create very deep suffering in the children with unforeseeable consequences even in the long term.

Sex education of the child

Today, children are bombarded starting from an early age with images more or less erotic and very often begin to take an interest in sexuality in a very abstract way well before adolescence, so they assimilate, in a very tender age, banal visions of the sexuality as a “forbidden game”. Pedagogues have often been concerned with how to convey to children a more correct concept of sexuality: typical is the model of the flower, the pollination and the fruit, but in this way there is the risk, for gays far from being indifferent, to provide only the concept of sexuality aimed at reproduction, this will also convey the concept of sexual role, of the boy and girl as society conceives them, and of typically male and typically female behavior, taking for natural and obvious cultural attitudes often very questionable.

Accustom a little girl to the idea that femininity involves high heels and makeup means distort the concept from the beginning, like to think that the boy should be interested necessarily in football and in certain types of games is in itself misleading. It is very easy to see that in a school class of children who are not yet pre-adolescent, boys tend to play “boyish” games with each other, and girls tend to play “girlish” games with each other and this is the result of an education for sexual roles, how society understands them, starting from an early age.

The child before puberty sometimes shows an embryonal hetero affectivity, which involves interest in being with little girls, talking with them, playing with them, or an embryonal gay affectivity, which involves interest in being with other boys, talking to them and playing with them. These behaviors are the first manifestations of sexual orientation, they are not yet conscious, but they are elements on which we should reflect a lot and to which we should pay the utmost attention, but, I must say very clearly, never a repressive attention. I would like to point out that the transmission of role models deforms and often stifles these spontaneous tendencies altogether and tends to let the tendency towards homologation prevail, based on the fear of marginality within the peer group.

In the memory of many gays, the recollection of the first affectionate friendships with other boys and often the worried attitudes of the parents in front of such manifestations remains well imprinted. We are talking about friendships between children, not yet pre-adolescent who, if not totally conditioned by education, begin to show signs of homo-affinity or hetero-affectivity.

Parents, who often lack a broader horizon on sexuality, consider themselves as the only possible model for the sexuality of their children. The idea that children are not and cannot be a photocopy of parents is still struggling to get accepted. It is precisely for this reason that some children’s behaviors alarm parents and trigger a short communication circuit that ends up disrupting trust and establishing suspicious attitudes.
The child who plays with dolls or puts on his mother’s high heels or wig or dresses up as a woman generally raises questions in the parents, and this happens even more strongly if two children develop a very close friendship. Apart from the fact that these are completely different phenomena, because the first refers to gender identity and the second to sexual orientation, it is very probable that the child experiences in these situations the concern of the parent that manifests itself through limitations, prohibitions or simple removals.

The basic criterion of a good sex education is to promote the spontaneous development of affectivity and sexuality, avoiding a repressive sanctioning behaviors. The parent facing behaviors that are not what he would have expected believes that it is his duty to “correct”, to “guide” the child’s behavior, to “defend” him from dangerous influences, this attitude, which is perfectly understandable, is acceptable , positive and necessary, if “to correct ” means to demonstrate by example how one can have affection and respect for friends, without demanding too much and without running away from one’s duties towards those friends, if “to drive ” means to explain, to make the child understand the meaning of affective relationships even in adult life, for example by receiving friends cordially and affectionately, if “defending” from dangerous influences means to accustom children not to trivialize, not to exploit friendship, to take it seriously and to respond adequately when the need arises, but “to correct” means for many parents only to repress, “to drive” means to remove freedom and “to defend” means to segregate.

I would like to stress that the signs of homo-affectivity are generally very precocious and repressing them means inducing the guilt and submission of the child who begins to consider himself wrong. The repression of infantile homo-affectivity sometimes manifests itself explicitly, and sometimes through a systematic attempt to remove the child from contexts in which that homo-affectivity tends to manifest: if the child has developed a strong friendship towards another child or even towards a boy a little older during the summer holidays at the sea, the next year instead of going to the sea the family will go to the mountains.

A very delicate subject in this area is the prevention of sexual violence and abuse. Clearly, the child’s segregation reaches the goal but at the cost of a total repression of the individual freedom. The real problem lies in avoiding the risks (which are not only fancy) leaving the child a freedom commensurate with his age. Leaving a child (under 12-13 years ) alone for the whole day together with his playmates exposes him to objective dangers, which he may not realize. But if sexual abuses perpetrated by external pedophile subjects are generally the most feared, experience teaches that abuses are practiced only exceptionally by strangers and for the most part they rise from a family environment. Parking children by relatives or friends from morning to night means abandoning them to situations that can be objectively risky.

Before 12-13 years it is good that the child finds its spaces for the most part with the presence of the parents: the parents speak in the living room, the children play in the next room. Parents in this way give their children an example of socializing and leave them freedom spaces according to their age.

Beyond the age of 12-13, the risk of abuse doesn’t cease because abuse can also be committed toward adolescents or preadolescents both by family members and by educators, priests or teachers, especially in contexts where the minor cohabits with other peers for education or care purposes. Particular attention should be dedicated to the education of responsible use of the web for the risks of priming to which minors are exposed on the net. It is important to be vigilant in order to catch any signs of disturbance, alarm or exaltation in children, talk to them about it, if it is possible, and contact the postal department or the local Police Office to receive assistance when faced with dangerous situations. Obviously, the best prevention of priming risks on the net is realized right through risk awareness, the habit of always thinking before acting, and the habit of protecting one’s own privacy and that of others, and on these aspects education has a decisive influence.

When a child manifests the first forms of curiosity in relation to sexuality, it should be taken seriously, avoiding trivializing and manifesting evasive attitudes. It is essential that sexuality is never detached from its affective implications and is not reduced exclusively to procreative purposes. The child must become familiar with the idea of a sexuality that is not a forbidden game but a manifestation of affection for another person. Many parents never show explicit emotional behaviors in front of their children, for example, the father and mother don’t hug each other in front of children and avoid any physical act with each other, even the simple caresses, others instead let themselves go to forms of more or less sexual play in front of their children who in this way feel themselves excluded from the relationship with their parents. Of course

It’s necessary to find a balance between these opposing attitudes: the spontaneous caresses and affections between parents, the cuddles, which end up with the involvement of the children in the affection of the parents themselves are extremely positive in stabilizing the mood and in developing a harmonious character in the children. The double bed must become a non-exclusive environment, reserved for the parents only, but must be an environment in which children can also be admitted. The physical contact with parents, commensurate with the age of children, must lead to the idea of the affectionate embrace between adults, which expresses participation and sympathy.

Let’s come now to one of the key points of the speech: how to deal with the issue of homosexuality. The parent who is explicitly dealing such an argument with the child for the first time, must never forget that if one takes for granted that one’s son is hetero, in 8 cases out of 100 he is mistaken. Sending positive messages about homosexuality certainly doesn’t induce heterosexuals to become homosexuals, but can help homosexuals to grow accepting without complexes their homosexuality. Many parents believe that the specifically sexual education of children is not up to parents and should be delegated to school, church, doctors and other educational agencies, as if sexuality were an object of study or a question of faith or health protection. Obviously all these aspects are not foreign to sexuality, which, however, is a very complex reality that cannot be considered only under sectoral perspectives.

Sexuality is a component of the ordinary life of all of us and one of the essential contents of a serious educational relationship. I have been dealing with homosexuals for many years and I have often seen gay adult men, still deeply conditioned by the conflicting relationships with parents due to homosexuality. The vast majority of homosexuals not publicly declared, speak about their own homosexuality just with a few trustworthy friends, while those who talk about it openly in the family are very rare, perhaps today less than ten years ago, but it is still a narrow minority. For a gay boy, talking to his parents and finding their respect and their affection even in an atmosphere of clarity is absolutely essential and stabilizing. On the other hand, misunderstanding and rejection leave deep traces and greatly complicate the achievement of true autonomy on the part of the children.

I add a fundamental thing: a gay boy who feels accepted within the family will not need to go and look for other environments in which to find understanding and tends to develop his affective life without hiding and for this reason objectively also running much less risks. When a gay guy presents his boyfriend to his parents (what was once unthinkable and now becomes more and more possible) he realizes at 100% the dimension of the normality of his affectivity-sexuality. Surprised, reticent, perplexed or hostile attitudes of parents severely undermine their children’s self-esteem and create often irreparable fractures.

I would like to touch on a very delicate last subject. Sometimes the boys who grow up, whether they are heterosexual or gay, find themselves instinctively experiencing drives that alarm them, classics are examples of sexual fantasies about much older people, pedophile fantasies, sadistic or masochistic fantasies and erotic drives addressed within their own family. It is objectively very difficult that topics of this kind enter explicitly in speeches between parents and children regarding sexuality, because if the fear of negative reactions to homosexuality is already strong, the fear of negative reactions to those contents can be much more alarming. The issue of pedophilia can be responsibly tackled by highlighting the very serious objective damage that those behaviors can cause but stressing nevertheless the fact that those tendencies can exist even in very good people who would never put them into practice. If there is an attitude that a parent must show in front of such things, it can only be to clearly distinguish the fantasies that one cannot control, from the actions that can and must be taken under control. A similar argument can be used also regarding sadistic and incestuous fantasies.

With regard to intergenerational relationships it is necessary to avoid confusing them with larval forms of pedophilia, because intergenerational relationships are relationships between consenting adults even if of very different ages.

A correct attitude in the face of all these things helps people feel understood and accepted and enhances their morality and their capacity for discernment and this is the basic premise to accept themselves and to be able to self-control. It should be emphasized, however, that pedophile fantasies, of which people almost never speak in a scientifically correct way, are a reality very complex and difficult to manage. In many cases these fantasies are found in adults who have in turn been victims of violence or sexual abuse. It should be clarified that, although fantasies and actions are distinct things, it happens that fantasies are or may be prodromal to actual or possible behaviors, which, even if only considered merely as hypotheses, can cause levels of profound suffering.

Slipping from fantasies to pedophile behaviors can sometimes become easy and almost obvious. The sex tourism, for example, can lead the adult to look for more and more young partners of one or the other sex, producing a slow but effective slip towards pedophilia. The use of Internet child pornography should be considered as a sign strongly indicative of a dangerous corroboration of fantasies, prodromal to possible pedophile behaviors. According to what I learn from people who experience pedophile fantasies I’m led to believe that slipping into occasional pedophile behaviors, which can be the origin of recurring pedophile phantasies, also of obsessive types, is certainly possible even for people who have never had previously this kind of fantasies.

A person who experienced this kind of fantasies told me: “I had never had such fantasies before, then it happened to me an experience in which it would have been easy to come to the action, but it didn’t happen, but taking a step without return would have been very easy. And since then, such fantasies remained strongly stamped in my mind. I don’t like them, that somehow compromised my sexuality for years because I think that I wouldn’t even talk about such things with my partner, because he would react badly.”

I will not analyze here the possible compulsive aspects of pedophilia but because many men who have pedophilic fantasies are aware of it and are afraid of being able to practice pedophile behavior, in some countries (in Germany, in England and in the US) there are support services who deal with prevention by providing specialized psychological support to those who request it because they experience pedophile tendencies.

At the general educational level there is still an ancestral fear towards psychologists and psychiatrists that should be eliminated, leading people to understand that they are health workers who can provide psychological and even pharmacological support if necessary. Prevention education, which deserves a detailed examination, is not only carried out in providing information on sexually transmitted diseases, but also in the prevention of other risky behaviors for oneself and for others such as pedophile ones.

Certainly less sensitive are the themes related to the couple’s relationship structure: monogamy, indissolubility, socialization and formalization of the couple’s relationship, relationship between friendship and love. Insisting on the legitimacy of a single behavioral model collides with the reality of affective life which is often not monogamous, not unbreakable neither reducible to structure. The meaning of the couple relationship is usually assimilated by imitation already in childhood and, according to the general rule, is transmitted through the behavior of adults and not through their speeches. The relational aspect of sexuality should never be overlooked, according to this relational aspect the fundamental satisfaction in a sexual relationship derives from the realization that our partner is really involved and is in turn gratified by the relationship. Needless to say, these must be relationships that are actually wanted consciously and freely by both partners.

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INTERGENERATIONAL GAY RELATIONSHIPS WITHOUT SCHEMES

Hi Project,
I read the chapter on the intergenerational relationships of the manual Being Gay and I was amazed first of all because you have treated the subject, which is generally never taken seriously even by gays, and then because what I read corresponds quite well to my experience, in the sense that I saw in many documents quoted on the manual the same doubts and the same attitudes that I had myself, and then I noticed that here and there scattered in the forum, I can see traces of intergenerational relationships in some way similar to what I experienced and I’m living even now.

I am 56 years old, my name is Peter, I’m not yet old and all in all, physically, I’m still quite handsome (even if I should not be the one who says it), I’m sporty, I do sports regularly, I’m attentive to nutrition and until today I have not had serious illnesses, this pushes me to consider myself somehow still young. Of course, ten years ago I was already a mature man, but at that time I was really almost a young man, people believed that I was much younger than I really was, and at the age of 46 I met Dario (fancy name) who was 19. I, gay, or rather a gay who had put aside the idea of finding a mate, because for me being gay, at that time, it meant just finding a partner, anyway I had almost stopped looking around.

One evening I was invited to a graduation party, I go there because I knew the guy who had graduated. While I was there Dario arrives. Saying that he was beautiful it is reductive, I had never seen a guy like him, with a smile so bright, tall, blond, with blue eyes. When I saw him I thought only one thing: “What a beautiful guy!” I didn’t even think of approaching him, it was obvious that he was very young, I was only sorry to be too old. I did everything to distract myself and think of something else. I have not danced, because I never dance, I chatted a bit with the guy who had graduated, then I sat to observe.

Dario too didn’t dance, he didn’t court girls, it was the girls who were courting him, the guys didn’t even really consider him. At one point he looks me straight in the eyes, I feel like a very strong twinge, he leaves the group of girls and comes to sit next to me and tells me: “I know you’re bored! I see it!” I just smile a bit, then we exchange a few words, he notices that I’m almost embarrassed and introduces himself, I do the same, we talk a few more minutes of this and that, then he pulls out of the pocket a piece of paper, he writes his name on it and his cell phone number and passes it to me, then asks me: “Can I have yours?” I say to him: “Of course!” but I must have said it with the light in the eyes, and he replies with a wonderful smile, then returns to the small group of girls, who complain that they have been abandoned, he says that he had to say hello to an old friend (me), and returns to his previous conversations. Shortly before midnight he sits down next to me, asks me if I have a car, I say yes and he asks if I can take him home, I say to him: “Of course!” And this time too I must have told it with a lot of enthusiasm. He answers me with his usual smile. He greets his friends who thought he would stay with them until late, then we leave.

He lives far away, but not too much, 20 minutes later we are at our destination. During the trip at the beginning we talk about banalities, then, when we are almost at the destination, out of the blue he asks me: “Are you gay?” I feel my face burn with shame and embarrassment then I answer: “Yes! … ” before I can add anything else, he says: “Me too!” But he adds that it is late and that he must go home but that he will call me soon. He greets me without even shaking hands and beckons me to leave immediately. I perform.

As I go back to my house I feel dazed, I would never (and I say never) thought that something like this could happen: a 19-year-old guy who out of the blue asks a man 46 years old if he is gay and asks him it because a few minutes of dialogue were enough for him to understand it. Of course my fantasy starts to run at high speed, but then I say to myself: “What are you thinking about! Stop there! Dario is a boy!” At home I do everything not to think about him, but I feel distraught because he is not just a guy, a lot of girls run after him and I think also guys, but he confronts me with that sharp question : “Are you gay?” … and he is gay too …. Why does he ask me it? He can have all the guys he wants … why does he tell me it? Also his friends would have given him the passage in the car but he had asked for it no one else than me.

The day after he doesn’t call me, and I feel in bad shape, I had waited for that phone call but it hadn’t arrived, I was really depressed, completely on the ground, I felt like a fool and felt deluded. After midnight he calls me and says: “I didn’t call you to see if you would have called me but you didn’t call me! You probably don’t care about me!” We talked almost until dawn, it was evident that there was a total complicity between us and not because we were two gays. He told me that when he went to visit one of his friends he was fascinated by this friend’s father and he described him to me, but in practice he didn’t describe that man, it was me the one he was describing, and added: “But he was hetero …” And after a few seconds he added: “But you are not!” Now the speech was clear. We began to see each other every day, without sex, we talked a lot, we went to go shopping, we used to eat a sandwich together, he was happy, I thought that in that way, I mean without sex, we could have gone on forever, but I was wrong. He saw farther than me and in a few months we got to have sex.

His involvement was total, my somehow reticent, I had begun to love him because between us there was not only sex, we talked very much, he was looking for a comparison but he had his ideas in mind and had a very strong personality. We told each other our lives even in the most intimate aspects, my life was basically a void, there was so much imagination but nothing real, while his was much more complicated, things that I never imagined and that have conditioned him a lot.

I felt I was not the best for him, but this seemed to him to be quite relative, he fell in love with young guys several times and I often encouraged him, but those stories didn’t last long and finally we came together apparently just for reasons of sex but actually because between us there was a form of deep symbiosis. Sometimes he called me in the middle of the night and told me to go to his house, I went there, he went down into the street and we stayed in the car, he started crying, told me about his disappointments, then we made love, but in the end he repented and felt dirty, he wasn’t angry with me but with himself, but he needed to be accepted, loved, he also told me of disturbing aspects of his personality and he did it thinking that I would go away but I not only didn’t leave but I thought he really was trusting me without reservation. Now Dario is almost 30 years old, after a course of studies initially not simple, conditioned mainly by emotionality, he is now finishing his PhD in a very particular scientific discipline and is really appreciated by his colleagues and so he also regained a lot of self-esteem, which has always been his weak point.

He recently lived a long and serious love affair with a guy he was deeply in love with, but in the end that guy dumped him and he felt very bad. During that time we saw each other a lot less, now we have started seeing each other again almost every week, on Sunday, we spend the day together, we talk a lot and we also do a bit of sex but everything is very natural, we don’t ask ourselves too many questions. With me he is really unleashed, which I don’t think he does with the guys he is in love with, it is as if with those guys he especially sought the affective side and with me the sexual one, also because those guys are looking for him especially for sex while I I’m looking for his proximity and human warmth, and even for sex, of course, but sex has never been my obsession. When I’m with him I try to limit the contacts to non-risky behaviors or to those at very low risk, he initially seemed puzzled and used to do a little scene before sex because he felt braked, but then he ended up accepting limitations rather willingly, or at least without too many problems. He doesn’t have a boyfriend but I think he has other people (few and always the same) with whom he has sex from time to time. He says he doesn’t love emotional relationships and only seeks sex from me, but in fact, after 10 years, we continue to see each other and when we are together we are really free and happy at all levels. We know each other well both sexually and in personal history. I’ve never talked about this story with people I know, never at all, I live alone, so I don’t have problems with the family, I just have to be a bit careful my gossipy neighbors, because it happens that Dario comes to my house even late at night and leaves the next morning.

Basically, about this story I cannot talk with anyone, I mean talking directly about myself, but it happened to me once, only once, to hear a talk on this subject made by guys I think were gay, and I was very embittered, they pronounced ferocious judgments, rulings without appeal without understanding absolutely nothing, they had their gay couple model in mind and everything that was not on that track they considered it pathological. With Dario I don’t live anything like the gay couple relationship they have in mind, but I live a relationship that makes sense, I don’t feel frustrated at all nor did I feel jealous when he had a boyfriend, between us there is also sex, but I think it has above all the sense of the confirmation of the fact that there is an affective relationship between us of which we never speak, but perhaps it is better, because it is not the words that count. I would not want anything different from what I receive from him.

This is the relationship between us, but it has been working for 10 years now, it is not a fairy tales story, but frankly I wouldn’t change it with anything in the world. I think of him a thousand times a day and I don’t think only of sex but I think above all of his successes, his self-esteem, his dignity, the fact that he built himself by himself, that he never enslaved himself to anyone or anything, he never felt fascinated by money, he has never hurt anyone. And then, if I think he trusts me (and on the other hand I trust him the same way) I feel proud. I think that our relationship is really a way to love each other, a way that is absolutely out of scheme but it’s a way. The thing I have always admired most in him is his clear speech, not using too many words and saying even brutally what he thinks. In practice we have never quarreled, we said goodbye dozens of times but then we forgot it because the sense of being together was strong beyond any convention.
In conclusion, Project, what do you think about?
Peter62

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A GAY GUY GOES TO THE ANDROLOGIST

Hi Project,

I am a closeted thirty-year-old gay guy who lives in a very homophobic town in the rich north-east of Italy. I would like to tell you my story and ask you what you think.

Just a nod on my life until a couple of years ago, at the beginning I used to look for a real love and I never found it, maybe because I looked for it in the wrong places and with the wrong methods, then I started to go not so much for subtlety (Quiet! I have always used all the methods of prevention.)

At the age of 27, I have to say, I was a drifter of sex, in a year I had collected almost a dozen stories, which obviously were not serious things, but in the end they were even frustrating. I would have liked a normal guy who loved me and I would have gladly put the final point to all the whirlwind of my research on the apps.

One day just through an app a guy contacts me, he says he is 26 years old, we talk a bit, he’s polite, seems one not obsessed with sex, he proposes me to meet each other, I think it’s too early and I try to postpone, I expect him to disappear but it doesn’t happen. He asks me for photos but I don’t give them to him, but we keep on talking even in the following days, we talk about everything, even about sex but without overdoing it and always in a very polite way.

After three weeks of online contacts he again asks me to meet him, this time I say yes but since I don’t want problems of any kind, we agree to meet in another city and spend Saturday and Sunday together (I don’t work on Saturday). I decide to go by train so as not to be identifiable even from the license plate of the car. Note, Project, that I had never even seen a picture of him and he had never seen one of me. We meet at the station at 9.00 in the morning. I tell my parents that I have to go on a mission for two days (things like that happened other times).

I do not know who I will meet, but I feel very excited, there is something that tells me that it will not be the usual meeting “escape and flee”. When I get on the train I realize I don’t have condoms with me, but I think I can buy them there too and that they might not be useless. In the place of the appointment he is already there waiting for me, the recognition signal works (a certain newspaper under his right arm). It seems a nice guy, indeed very nice. We leave the luggage at the station depot and we go around, it’s a beautiful sunny morning.

It’s all radically different from my previous encounters, we don’t talk about sex, rather we feel a certain embarrassment, we have breakfast together, we often exchange smiles, he’s a very sweet guy, I would like to know something more about him but asking questions seems inappropriate. He knows the city, even if it is not his city and has already prepared a whole project of things to do and places to go.

I perceived his presence, there were many silences, then I asked him if he felt embarrassed and he replied: “Before seeing you, while I was waiting for you! but not now! Not at all now! And you?” “I … well I’m just fine, no problem.” Then we began to joke, to tell each other jokes. He doesn’t tell sexual jokes and uses a very clean language. We go to lunch together in a restaurant, the climate is very relaxed, peaceful, pleasant.

We walk until evening, we have dinner together, then it’s time to go to the hotel, he says: “Do you mind if we take two single rooms?” I say no, but that request cools my enthusiasm a lot. He is glad that I didn’t insist on taking a double room. We go to the hotel but there are no single rooms, he looks at me and tells me: “What can we do? Is it okay for a double room?” I spread my arms and make a sign that it’s okay too, since there’s no other way.

We enter the room, he is very embarrassed and tells me: “Now what do we do?” I tell him that I would like to have a bit of sex, I would really like it but I don’t have condoms with me and ask him if he has any, he tells me: no, but he adds that there are also the non-dangerous ways of having sex and that he especially likes them. The room is very well heated. Project, I spare you the details and I just tell you that I had never had sex like that with a guy, just mutual masturbation and a lot of physical intimacy, but it was something unique because I saw him involved in such a total way that I wouldn’t have imagined that it could even exist. It was just an exciting thing at levels I had never tried. At the end we fell asleep in each other’s arms.

In the morning we didn’t have time to repeat the experience because we had to leave the room before 10.00 o’clock. We spent the Sunday morning joking and playing with each other, then we went for lunch together and I started asking him when we could meet again. He looked at me a little embarrassed and then he told me: “There’s one thing I didn’t tell you, I’m engaged!” I felt very uncomfortable and I told him: “But how is it? You have a boyfriend and you don’t tell me?” He replied: “You didn’t understand, I have a girlfriend …”

I told him that there was something strange according to me because he didn’t seem to me a straight guy looking for distraction, he told me: “I know I’m gay, I was fine with you and I would always stay with you but I cannot, because I have a girlfriend for years and now she is part of my family and I think that in a year at most we will get married” I looked at him with a perplexed air and I asked how the sex went with the girl and he replied: “Well, somehow it works, she never noticed anything but when I do it I think about something else, I’m not straight, there’s nothing to do, if it were for me I would never have sex with a woman, when I’m there, anyway, it works all the same but it is something that I do because I must do it, and then with her I could never speak clearly because she would feel betrayed, now we are in front of everyone a very solid couple and she believes it too, I don’t think I could avoid marrying her, by now I’m too far ahead with that story, she’s a good girl but I’m not interested in girls.”

I spent the rest of the afternoon trying to get him to think, but he felt trapped and had threw in the towel, he felt resigned to being a good husband at home and a good gay, maybe with me, some Saturday nights at the hotel. He told me that he had to break away from me, that I put him in crisis, I put him in front of the responsibility of his choices but that now the choices were made and there would be no chance to go back. We took the train and we went back home.

He disappeared for two weeks, he didn’t answer to the emails or the phone, then he contacted me again, we met one afternoon and he seemed really shattered. This is what he told me:

“Here they are just caging me, I cannot stay out of it, it’s all a trap, I had to go with her for eight days in a resort abroad, all paid for by my parents! And it was a shocking thing, she was happy, I could not stand her anymore but she was the victim and I had to console her, I was forced to make love with her because otherwise she ended up in depression. She really didn’t understand anything. I thought to speak clearly but I didn’t dare to imagine her reaction and then I pretended to be worried about work reasons. I thought that in the resort we would be alone and instead her parents made us the nice surprise that they were there also them! I cannot stand it anymore! I have to go out of the cage but I don’t know how. If I said I’m gay, nobody would believe it …

“What could be done to resolve the situation? In the end we thought something that could work, he would go a couple of times to an andrologist, perhaps the first time accompanied by the girl, accusing pain in the testicles and then after the second examination it should have said that he had to do the seminogram and a few days after that the result was that he could not have children, anyway, as a gay, he would certainly not have had children from another woman.

He didn’t want to accept the whole script, it seemed to him a real hoax, but then he was aware that the alternative would be the wedding therefore he came to a milder attitude. He didn’t know whether to speak clearly with his parents, but when your parents don’t even realize that you are not well with your girlfriend and force you to go on holiday with her … to speak clearly would mean just throwing open a pot without knowing what’s inside.

In the end we have agreed all the details and all the preparatory speeches. I realize that, seen from the outside, all this seems like an expedient of the lowest alloy to avoid the coming out, but a coming out in a situation like that would have been ruinous. To realize the whole project, a low level staging, it is true, but perhaps the least traumatic solution, it took more than a month.

When he went to the girl and told her that he could not have children, the girl expected it and the recitation of the great pain had been well prepared by her family and ended with the promise to remain friends, but he wanted to return all gifts and said he preferred to permanently close an experience that had ended up being traumatic.

I summarized the whole story in a few lines but it was very demanding, stressful and even risky because, if our trick had been detected, for him it would have been a disaster, but it went well! From the following Saturday we started our meetings in the hotel in the nearby city and I think our story will continue. We’re all right together and we’re planning to change both our jobs and to move both of us to that city, away from prying eyes, he too thinks that coming out, even just in the family, is certainly inopportune. Among other things, his parents know nothing about the andrologist’s story and think that their son, the poor guy, will never marry because he cannot have children and it is good that they continue to think so.

Project, don’t look bad at me, the coming out in certain situations is not really thinkable. So we rest assured and the girl can make her life with someone who really wants her and his parents have put their soul in peace and at least there is no gossip about homosexuality because the story is all straight! Could I send him to the marriage slaughter? No! Should he expose himself to a destructive coming out? No! At least, so they are all happy and we first of all.

Let me have your news soon.
David

___________

If you like, you can join the discussion on this post on Gay Project Forum: http://gayprojectforum.altervista.org/T-a-gay-guy-goes-to-the-andrologist

GAYS AND PREVENTION THROUGH TREE DOCUMENTS

It has been rightly pointed out that sex education cannot be reduced to alerting young people to the risks associated with sexuality (unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases) but must take the fundamental task of contributing to individual well-being through enhancement of sexual pleasure as a means of improving the quality of life. I think I cannot disagree with this statement, but it remains, however, that in particular about gay sexual education, the prevention of sexually transmitted diseases plays an absolutely fundamental role. Let’s try to understand why.

We start from data updated to 2012, which come from the Italian “Istituto Superiore di Sanità”. In Italy in 2011, there are 94,146 cases of HIV infections treated (HIV-positive and AIDS), adding the estimated share of unaware HIV-positive people, the number rises to 156.910. The causes of transmission of the virus are divided as follows: 37.2% heterosexual relationships, 28.5% injective drug users, 27.7% homosexual relationships between males

At first sight it seems that heterosexual intercourses are now even more dangerous than homosexual ones but it should be kept in mind that heterosexuals are about 92% of the population, while male homosexuals are about 4%, so 92% of the population, composed of heterosexuals, contributes 37.2% to the total number of infections, while 4% of the population, composed of homosexual males, contributes with 27.7%. As a result, male homosexuals have a statistical probability of becoming infected with HIV, which is 17.3 times higher than that of heterosexuals. The number 17,13 represents the risk ratio “gay on hetero” for male subjects in Italy, but if we look at Europe, the risk ratio goes well beyond this number. In essence, statistically the risk of contracting HIV for gay males is much higher than for heterosexual males. This is why, for gays, education for the prevention of sexually transmitted diseases is absolutely essential.

Obviously it is the doctors’ competence to explain in detail the techniques of disease prevention and therefore it is right to refer to the site of the Ministry of Health which contains updated information, shared by the scientific community. The Internet addresses of the site of the Ministry of Health and of the most accredited associations that deal with the prevention and treatment of sexually transmitted diseases can be very easily found on the web.

I would like to proceed now, on the basis of the experience gained in Gay Project, to analyze three different documents pertaining to the issue of prevention related to different age groups and different personal situations. The first document, very brief regards the younger boys and their approach to sexuality and prevention, the second is a testimony of how one can move from a substantially dissipated life, spent in the search for false satisfactions, to a life lived with a very solid moral commitment. The third document concerns the fear of being HIV-positive that hangs over a guy 19 years old but also witnesses a beautiful friendship born between two gay guys with no other purpose than that to do together a stretch of their own road with the certainty of not being alone.

So let’s start from the approach to sexuality of a very young guys. It happens to me, even if not frequently, to chat with very young guys who are becoming aware of their being gay. The contents of these chats are often very different from the typical chat content with older guys. With the younger guys I often find myself faced with the need to make them understand that:

1) being gay has nothing to do with “doing this or that” in terms of sexual practices, but it means in the first place to love another guy,
2) that the exasperated research of sexuality in too early age is not a sign of affective maturity but exactly the opposite,
3) that sexuality is not a game,
4) that the couple sexuality is substantially different from masturbation because it is not essentially related to personal fantasies but to a real guy and with his psychological reality, and aims at creating serious emotional relationships,
5) that the feelings need time to grow and that people, just known in chat, who say they have fallen in love with you, don’t are really looking for you but just a for a bit of sex,
6) that sex can involve serious health risks and that condom use is always and absolutely needed,
7) that on the net contacts must be prudent, we must avoid in the most absolute way to give unknown people cell phone numbers, landline numbers, home addresses or other elements suitable for personal identification. If on one side it’s natural that very young guys tend to explore sexuality, on the other side there is the risk that the “curiosity” dimension becomes the only or the main motivation that leads towards sexuality.

From the interviews it is clear that the youngest gay guys have virtually no dialog with reliable adults on the subject of sexuality and homosexuality in particular. A lot of guys are very shy and embarrassed and when a dialogue (i.e. talking in two) is in fact impossible, I usually speak only trying to expose the contents that seem to me of greater interest for those guys on the basis of the few words exchanged with my interlocutors. In some cases, about 50%, it’s possible to come to an open dialogue but not immediately, and it is clear that the guys are not used to talk about sexuality in a serious way. In some cases a climate of trust is created and the discourse becomes less theoretical and much more personal.

When the very young guys, who start setting up all the talk on matters of sexual techniques, feel stopped and brought back to a more serious dimension, or run away or radically change their tone. Those who run away probably don’t have the maturity needed to understand that being gay is something that involves the deep emotional life of a guy or perhaps of that deep emotional life don’t feel yet the need and are yet in the purely exploratory phase of sexuality. Those who don’t run away but change their tone come to a serious and personalized dialogue.

These guys, who certainly have a gay affective dimension already quite well defined, don’t try to enhance it spontaneously, but instinctively prefer the sexual dimension by considering it more adult, for them sexuality is still subordinated to the anxiety of growing and sometimes they are amazed by the fact that I give so much importance to the affective dimension and consider it fundamental: they instead consider strange this reasoning, at least at the beginning. Many guys, even very young, in their anxiety of experimentation with sexuality go far beyond masturbation and begin to mentally build the idea that they must “try with a guy”. The experiment idea is sometimes dominant. The couple sexual experience is considered a kind of recognition of having reached a fully adult personal dimension. The “experiment” , however, limits itself to trying a technique, and the emotional dimension is completely marginalized. In some situations I found myself in front of very young guys who boasted a certain sexual experience and showed techniques and numbers of relationships they had had (more or less credible) as a real curriculum to present to a competition. Stopped by me in a drastic way, however, they showed an unexpected willingness to dialogue. Basically they were facing, probably for the first time, an adult vision of sexuality that in some way fascinated them.
Faced with expressions such as “my friends have done it”, or “why not?”, Or “gays do it” I often reacted strongly and then tried to calmly resume the conversation. The key thing in chats with very young guys is to listen and make sure they come to their conclusions.

Very often, with young boys, I tackle the issue of prudence, both in terms of the prevention of sexually transmitted diseases, and in terms of prudence on the web. It is clear that no one has ever talked to these guys in any way even minimally serious about these things and that they have absolutely no perception of risk.

My insistence on the prevention of sexually transmitted diseases has sometimes been the cause of the interruption of dialogue with some young guys who didn’t want to hear such things at all and considered it a form of moralism aimed only at terrorizing boys in order to put in their mind that sex is a bad thing.

In some cases, following my speech on the use of condoms, I found myself faced with paradoxical answers followed by the abandonment of the chat, as in the following dialogue between me and a sixteen year old guy (Without fear).

– Without fear – I met him on a chat, he’s thirty years old but he’s strong, with him we do everything
– Project – but always protected?
– Without fear – that is?
– Project – with a condom
– Without fear – condom? I do not like those things, you miss the best
– Project – do you realize what you say? Without condom it’s dangerous
– Without fear – those who don’t risk don’t gain!
– Project – wait. . . let’s try to reason
– Without fear – if you want to preach, you can preach for some other guy. Bye!

In essence from the chats with the very young guys it can be deduced that they are completely abandoned by the adult world and that their sexual education, intended as a comparison with responsible adults on issues related to sexuality, homosexuality, and in particular to the prevention of sexual transmitted diseases is practically non-existent.

Now we come to the second document, it is an email I received from a gay doctor on November 27th 2011.

Dear Project, reading your blog I had a jolt of pride and it happens very rarely. I’m 43 years old and I have behind me a life that you would not appreciate. I have been publicly declared for a very long time, we can say that as a gay publicly out I have gone through everything you define, with a sort of detachment, things labeled gay. Fortunately for me I managed to save my health and this comforts me because there are people who have gone much worse than me.

When I was 18/20 years old internet practically didn’t exist, and I had my own ideas, a little as you say, the frenzy of trying, I believed that entering the circle would have facilitated things and in a sense it was true but from other points of view it was destructive, first of all the news that I was gay quickly spread everywhere in the city, a small city in the northern Italy where gossip and hypocrisy are always the masters.

Fortunately, I was studying in another city and I finished my studies, but when I started the profession I had huge problems because everyone ran away from me (I’m a doctor) and I had to change city, I had to start all over again, not to mention the terrible recriminations on the part of my family that treated me like an idiot without remedy, which pushed me even more to leave.

In the new city, after a while I started going to clubs again, because it had almost become an addiction. I met people out of mind that in some cases made me really scared and after five years I had to go again to a different, smaller city, where there were no gay clubs, but the chats started and even there it was a torment, an obsession, I knew some guys in the chat, we met, did a bit of sex and then they disappeared and were reckless guys who, when I talked about condoms, took me for crazy.

I had the frenzy of sex, I was more than 30 years old, even more than 35, but I spent all my free time looking for contacts. I felt alone, and I was alone, the relations with my family were completely inexistent. My father and mother no longer made themselves heard after I left home, I called them but they didn’t answer me deliberately. The only points of reference were the guys I knew only for sex, one in particular I had fallen in love with, he told me so many sweet things and was a very nice guy but he wanted to come to live with me, but it was impossible to realize because I would have ended up not to work anymore and to create a mess of problems with all the people I had around, then he disappeared, but before disappearing he vomited all the insults possible against me, that I was a worm, one who doesn’t have the courage to be what he is and above all that I was a starving man, because he liked to make the good life and with me he could not do it for sure.

This story lasted three years and left me with a sense of rejection and strong bitterness. Over the years, young guys became progressively less interested in me and only the fifty years old were looking for me but they were sex-addicted people even worse than me or depressed to be hospitalized, who thought they were boys and tried to give themselves a tone, even straight married, even people with diseases with a religious background, a variety of humanity that I didn’t even think could exist. They even arrived to offer me money in exchange for sex. One was sick, had a strong asthma and I convinced him to be hospitalized because he was at high risk.

In August of 2009 I said: “It’s enough!” I deleted all the gay contacts I had. I changed my mobile phone number and I threw myself completely into my work, practically I went back to university to do a very demanding and very long specialization school that leads me to deal with AIDS, I finished the first two years and just started the third, it’s a thing very serious and feel completely committed, now I work part time and I earn very little money and all I earn goes for specialization school. I’m really interested in my studies and I think for the first time that I have made the right choice.

I don’t tell you what I see in the hospital, there is a really desperate need for people to take care of these things, I have been reborn and I have found my way. There is a lot to do and not so much in Italy or in Europe but especially in Africa where AIDS, without medicines and in the midst of total ignorance, is a real scourge.

Days ago I found Gay Project, I was just looking for sites that deal with prevention and then I started to read the rest. Don’t let the guard down, Project! What you do makes sense. Life has a meaning that doesn’t consist in seeking sex but in giving love without conditions, I understood it late but fortunately I understood it. Being gay makes sense, I think being gay and experience all that I have experienced is the real spring of my underlying motivation. I told you my story in short, publish it if you want, I would like it.

Permit me a professional notation, never abandon the discourse on prevention because very few speaks about prevention today, and there is a huge need of such persons. I add here the link to the hiv and aids page of the Ministry of health http://www.salute.gov.it/hiv/hiv.jsp
which remains a fundamental reference point for finding serious information, even for doctors (see update of the guidelines). I’d like to spend some time on the forum but now I have other goals, that’s why I ask you to save my privacy.
[signed letter]

The third document is particularly touching and, beyond the theme centered on the fear of HIV, it allows us to understand the spiritual depths of gay guys and what it means to love each other. It’s an email I received on July 4, 2007 and published the same day on the old Gay Project forum.

“I first met him through words. For me they were important, they made me feel good and I didn’t even understand why, I only read and reread them. I made sure to get some courage and ask his msn even if with an incredible difficulty because for the things that I really care about I’m of a shyness and perhaps also of an extreme cowardice.

Talking with him gave me so much! He has his own way of seeing things, maybe strange and difficult to understand but he always managed to get me out of my depression, in one way or another gave me a deep sense of serenity. I had a boulder inside me, something that I had to endure for years and that took everything from me. I never thought I’d ever have the strength to tell anyone. Instead, to X it came spontaneous to tell it it and it made me feel good.

Being gay for me has always been an unacceptable and monstrous thing, but not the feelings but just the idea of sex. I have a lousy family. They are not interested in me, I have always been the classic useless baggage, after their divorce I have been continually tossed about here and there. No affection, no attention, no dialogue. In reality it is as if I’m not there, if I’m away from home, they don’t even notice it and when I am taken into consideration it is only to impose, order, claim, offend or worse to be beaten. For years I have been depressed and for two years now worse and worse, so much so that I have no more friends, I dropped them all, I have been rejected, I’m always home alone. No, they don’t even notice it. I’ve always felt lonely, since I realized that maybe I was also gay, it was a crescendo. But now I’m also used to it, because you know when you live without hope, loneliness is not so bad anymore. But this is not the boulder I had to endure.

What I confided to X is another thing: that when I was 14 a guy much older than me, who sometimes attended the company of my cousin and that everyone knew to be gay has abused me. That’s why I hate gay sex. When I fell in love for the first time two years ago with a guy I thought it was for that abuse. I suffered too much. I felt as if something impure had crept into me. For me it was like a contagion. A curse that clung to me. But this is not the worst thing.

The fact is that one year and a half after what he had done to me I found out from my cousin that that guy was HIV-positive and I knew he had not used any precautions with me. I have never seen him after and I have never been able to speak to him to know if I could have become positive too, but I don’t know if I would have had the courage to do it. I still remember perfectly what I felt at the moment of finding it out. It’s a bit like dying. I had in my hands the form for enrolling in a creative writing course I was very interested in and it was the first time I had fought so hard to get something at my house, I started ripping the form into smaller and smaller pieces and it was a bit how to tear up my future.

Since then, the ice has not left me anymore. I continued to live but only on the margins because everything made me suffer too much. I kept the doubt buried inside me, as deep as possible, it was something I never thought of but that anyway stood there and poisoned everything. Since then I have always been inconclusive, defeatist and submissive in anything. I heard the others talk about what they wanted to do and I did not say anything, I did not think about anything. Lately I have let myself be dragged by someone. I thought about what I really wanted to do, I did some programs, to a guy with whom I talked on msn one day I also said that I would go to see him this summer. A little I believed it, I hoped it but my hopes vanished. Yes, in my heart it was like being already dead.

Talking with X has done me too well. He has a boyfriend and they are deeply in love with each other, he is happy and fulfilled, but even if he didn’t know me at all, if even talking to me was always so difficult and painful, I think, he was looking for me and if he didn’t find me or I avoided being found because I was too depressed, he wrote me anyway even a few words that made me feel that at least one person was really interested.

Yes, X always gave me so much time and attention, a constant and sincere thought, he was the only one to really do it and in the most disinterested way possible, to give me a little bit of himself and without receiving or wanting anything in return. I thought a thousand times that it was very strange that a person could be like that and even more with someone like me. But he is special and UNIQUE. In the end he also managed to convince me that I had to go and take the test. He made me accept it simply telling me that he would accompany me.

I waited for my graduation exam to finish and immediately, the next day, via msn we arranged to meet and he picked me up in the city where I live. When I saw him I couldn’t believe that it was really him even if, yes, that he was beautiful it was also evident through the avatar. Because X is beautiful, but the point is that guys, I don’t say so beautiful but beautiful, there may be, but X is a something different. He has incredible eyes, which one would think there couldn’t be two eyes like his. Nobody after looking at them, even the most materialistic person, could ever be able to think that there is no soul.

I fell immediately in love with him. It’s incredible, but as soon as I saw him, I no longer thought I was going to take the HIV test, that is, yes, I thought it but it was a secondary thing. I was too busy with him. I immediately felt beautiful feelings, and for me to feel them was a natural and right thing. And yes, he also attracted me physically and a lot, for me this was really too embarrassing but I managed to hide it well and for the first time it didn’t disgust me, it was beautiful and natural, and it was fine that way.

To do the test we went to a rather far city, because I wanted it so, a stupid thing, I know, but it made me feel more anonymous and sure, he brought me there. I thought I had to go fasted for blood collection, when he knew it, X smiled and because I was very pale because of the anxiety, he said “It’s not that you go down?” And while we were waiting he kept my hand tight all the time, under a newspaper folded to the side so nobody could see and I was not embarrassed.

As soon as he got out of the surgery he put his arm around my shoulders and took me to breakfast. After eating, in place of feeling better I felt very bad. I was struck by the harsh image of the nurse who was taking my blood, the latex gloves, the way he sat with his torso all the way back and how he barely touched me, the indispensable, but above all the vision of my blood. From that day when I knew, the thought of my blood has always obsessed me, it was a nightmare that sometimes bothered me at night: my blood suddenly splashed on my schoolmates while I was in class, the terror of their gaze remained on my mind all day as I thought to see it in their eyes. I was afraid and disgusted of my blood. And now that I had seen it go out I felt crazy.

At that point I broke out inside. I began to think only of the one thing that felt real to me, of what I could have inside me, of the fact that I had to accompany myself to this foreign and enemy thing for as long as was left to me, that I would have been a danger, that I would continue to be alone and stay so until the end, that I would be kept at a distance but above all that I would have kept everything and everyone at a distance from me not to suffer even more, and all this at 19 years only.

Nothing behind and nothing in front. One passes graduation exams and should start planning his long-distance future. In my case, I felt it made no sense, it never had made sense for me.

X stared at me but I didn’t say anything to him and as we walked I moved away and moved further and further. At one point he stopped me and hugged me without speaking and hugged me so tightly! I just said “You know I always knew I was already dead.” X shook me vigorously and hurt me and said “Don’t be silly !! Even if it were, life doesn’t end for this, only changes.” I don’t know how long he hugged me, I wanted to cry but I could not and it’s bizarre because I’m crying every single fucking day for to many years, but at that moment I was dry and that dry was too bad for me.

But at a certain point I began to feel X’s body, his breath against me, his warmth, his smell. I held my breath and focused on the beating of his heart to hear it with my ear but also with my skin. I felt an inexpressible yearning that rose from my stomach, something so beautiful and intense that it almost hurt and then, in short, I had an erection. Even if I continued to feel that I was HIV-positive, I felt even more strongly that I wanted X with all of myself and I felt that I was willing to do anything to have him close to me, even accepting to be HIV-positive. I know it seems absurd but in these three months I have discovered that it is real life that is absurd, not the imagined one.

I tried to move away, it was too embarrassing and then I thought that rightly he could take it badly. But he didn’t let me and told me “Do you see it? Your body knows that you are alive and you want to stay alive.” We stayed still embraced. Someone looked at us badly, someone must have said something. I didn’t care at all, I would have liked to stay that way forever. X at some point broke away from me and I felt a great emptiness inside, so I spontaneously told him that his boyfriend is the luckiest person on earth, he blushed, smiled and said “Believe me it’s me the one who is lucky to have him.” I thought he would take me back home, in the end what I had to do had been done, instead X still wanted to stay with me.

We walked around the city, we didn’t talk much but we simply walked, sometimes we sat somewhere. We went for lunch but my stomach was closed because of him even though I lied to him and said it was still because of the test. X is so beautiful that you will never stop to look at him, has a smile of continuous light in his eyes and then he’s sweet and affectionate in words but also in the gestures in a way that makes you feel protected and warm inside.

While we were around, he often showed me things that I would never have seen on my own and surprised me and moved me with this way of looking at the world and be happy for certain things that never interest anyone. Every now and then he had a gesture toward me very sweet as touching my arm or a light squeeze of my hand, a separate communication with which he made me understand that he was there. In the evening he took me back to the place where we had arranged to meet. I was all upset, X told me that we would go together to take the test result, because they give it to you after a few days and you have to go and pick it up in person. I felt very sad with that sense of emptiness that grew bigger and bigger. X looked at me, was tense, worried and said “All right?”

Then I thought how badly that day could have hurt him. I had charged on him weeks and weeks of anguish and depression, mine, and he had never subtracted, but a wonderful creature like him didn’t even deserve the billionth part of all that. I felt petty and selfish in the worst way. I tried to tell him that everything was fine, that I was better but I could see that he didn’t believe it at all.

We greeted each other and in doing so he gave me a light kiss on the mouth. It was a kiss of a beautiful sweetness, it had no sexual meaning, it just said what no words could explain. That he was not afraid of me even though I could be HIV positive and the availability, affection and warmth of a true friendship that from him I would have had anyway. Nobody has ever given me something more beautiful. That kiss completely filled my soul, I think I will always carry that feeling inside me. At that moment as it happens now I thought that at least one beautiful thing I have it and nobody can take it away from me, it will be mine until the end.”

At the end of this beautiful document, which I’m particularly attached to because I knew the protagonists, I’m happy to let you know that the analysis confirmed that the guy who wrote the email above was HIV-negative.

_________________

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MY STORY – CRISIS OF A GAY COUPLE

Let’s come to the topic, the one that is closest to my heart. You will be scandalized by what you are going to read, everything that is written is the pure truth, I never really told anyone, but now I’m really tired, I’m already sufficiently disgusted by myself, and I think I touched a point of no return, because I don’t deserve all this at all. I firmly believe that my story has really come to an end but I still cannot decide what to do.

My partner and I have been together for 9 years, until two years ago things between us were very different, I felt loved, courted, desired and well-liked. What I cannot feel now. I have loved my partner for a very long time, I loved him with an authentic and unconditional love, accepting his faults, his paranoia, his anxieties.

In July of 2102, however, everything changes. I find out that he frequents chats such as grindr, bender planet romeo and so on. I find out that he has met a guy. I’m very upset, my odyssey begins here. We talk about, I have to get the truth out of him with my teeth, he sees me suffer, he don’t seem to care so much. I want to save the relationship, he says he is so by nature. In the meantime, he loses his job. I see him becoming colder and more and more distant. In order to keep him with me, I went down to doing things that I would never have done otherwise, because they go against my nature, for example three-way relationships, I did it because I loved him so much and I thought that if I had accepted these games he would have understood the scope of my love for him and that the serene weather for us would start again.

It was not so but quite the contrary. Although I asked him to be honest with me, to tell me if he was dating other people, that I didn’t care and I could understand him after so many years together, he always hid everything from me. Two months ago, for a case that has nothing to do with all the story, we have had a very strong confrontation in which I slammed in his face all his indifference, the fact that I feel like a person unwelcome and hardly endured in his house, that I don’t feel loved at all, that I feel deeply lonely and sad. Something clicks inside me, however, in the meantime. From that moment on he starts telling me that he’s not sure he’s in love with me, he wants some time to think about it. These have been the most terrible days and at the same time the most beneficial and healthy of my life. In those days when he was clarifying his ideas I examined many times my conscience, I understood many things and above all I realized that I was wrong. I was wrong to base my happiness on another person, I was wrong to base my world on another person, I was wrong to go down to similar compromises just to be loved by him. And I understood a lot of other things.

I realized that I don’t like the cold and false person that he is now in my regard, that all this love that I feel for him is wasted and that he doesn’t deserve it. Once I was a happy person, always cheerful, sunny, optimistic. I had very few reasons 10 years ago to be happy but I was happy all the same. Now I’m not anymore. Controlling his phone I discover continuous betrayals while, even now, with me sex has been off limits for three weeks and even more, he was cold and detached the few times we did it.

I find condoms all over the place, hidden in the bedroom. Yesterday afternoon he even came out with a box of condoms, thinking that I didn’t know that they were there. I could not resist anymore and I sent him a message where I told him to have fun wherever he was. Naturally, he closed himself up again, but something changed in me. Whereas before I felt anxious and terrified at the idea of losing him, now I would like him to tell me that everything is over between us, that I have to leave.

I’m literally disgusted of what I did and accepted just to stay with him. In all this chaos there is another person, known by me on the same chats on which he is registered, a person I had met two years ago and who spoke to me about feelings, about things I would have wanted with my boyfriend and this person now contacted me. He told me again about the things that made me think if it is really worthwhile to still be tied to a man who says he loves me and who attributes all his shortcomings to the loss of the job but instead proves to be more than active sexually and more than available to a possible story with others.

Perhaps it would be better to turn definitely page, leave him, since he doesn’t want to take the first step. I feel that the feeling I feel for him is going away and that disgust and anger are replacing love. I told him that for how I am, for my way of being, I need to be loved both physically and psychologically. I also need sex, I admit it candidly, I have never betrayed him but I cannot go on like this anymore. In this relationship I see only mistrust, anger, disgust and indifference and at the same time I realize that two years ago I met this other guy who instead deserved everything that I could give him and if in two years I never managed to get him out of my head, it means that I felt something for him and now I’m hoping I can get in touch with him again.

Why all this? Has anyone been in such situations before? What should I do? Leave him with the risk of repenting then of having done it? Have I to know and attend this other guy? Doing so in spite of what my partner thinks and giving him back the favor? Have I to wait and hope that this phase passes and that he finally realizes all that happened? But how can he not notice it? I’m 35 years old, I am beautiful, physically and inside, I’m a profound, intelligent and sensitive person, I’m sweet. I am one who doesn’t hold back, when I love I manifest my love, I give so much in a relationship. I’m determined and reliable, a cornerstone in a history. If he has not yet noticed all this, it means that he doesn’t care at all.

Three or four people have already told me that they don’t understand how a man can get tired of a handsome and young and intelligent, sensitive and sensual man and what is worse, they don’t understand why I want to remain attached to a man who so clearly treats me badly and despises me. I don’t know, I don’t understand it either. I only know that I’m full of doubts and fears.

__________

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GAY HOLIDAYS

Hello Project, I read on your blog the story of Fredrik and David, I cannot deny that it is something that moved me and reminded me, even if a bit from a distance, certain atmospheres that I too lived. Frederik and David are undoubtedly two exceptional people and have managed to cope with the difficulties, but things have never happened to me that way even when I worked hard with all my strength.

I am 29 years old, I don’t feel very young and I didn’t even feel so in March, last year. I came out of an impossible story, I had fallen in love with a twenty-four heterosexual guy, everything went well until I told him the truth, we were close friends but when he heard it he answered me more or less as if I wanted to rape him and then he disappeared.

With the tattered spirit I started to surf the chats. I say immediately that I have never looked for people too much older than me, in fact, I think that after 24/25 years the beautiful of a guy begins to fade, for me the ideal are the guys about 22/23 years. In the chats I always look for guys of that age.

So, I’m going to chat and I’m looking for … but things don’t excite me. At some point I get an email from a 40-year-old man (40 just turned), I don’t answer, he sends me a second email very relaxed, that is something quite enjoyable … I answer with a little comradely as it’s usual on the net but without affectation … so the story started.

At first I was very hesitant, if I had been ten years younger, I would not have had any qualms but he seemed too old for me … at the end of April I met him in person and he made me a certain effect, a handsome man who did not show at all his 40 years. There was complicity, I was fine with him even because we rarely were able to see each other, no more than once every 15 days, because he lives 250 km away from me, the second time I went to him we made love and it was nice, different from how I imagined it but beautiful, and a little I began to really fall in love.

At the end of June he proposes me to go on vacation with him for 15 days in the first half of August. I tell him yes right away but I tell him that I would prefer to stay in the room alone, this without any prejudice about the fact that I could make love with him, what indeed seemed obvious to me, as well as desirable, he tells me that there isn’t any problem, then I ask how we would do for the costs, because I work and I’m economically independent, and here began the first note out of tune: he tells me that he will think of everything, in fact he thinks that I should be grateful for this, but I tell him that I don’t like it and that we must be on a par, he makes a scene but then accepts, but says it in a way that I don’t like at all, I point it out, he responds seriously and reassures me … I’m calm … and I start the countdown.

For all of July we didn’t see each other because he was not in Italy. He sends me an email and tells me that we’ll take the plane from Maplensa for Canada on August 2nd. I get ready … I cannot wait for it to arrive on August 2nd. August 2nd arrives, he comes to get me, we go to the airport. It seems like a fairytale. Super comfortable travel. We arrive in Toronto … fabulous places. We start a tour of Canada of 15 days, every evening in a different place. The first night I find myself with him in a double room … I ask him why, he replies that single bed rooms were not available, I don’t argue, we make love at night. Beautiful, undoubtedly. In the morning we get ready, he calls the taxi, we go down, I ask him to settle the bill to 50% as agreed, he only answers that the accounts we would have all done at the end.

Great day, Canada is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen. In the evening at the hotel we end up again in a double room, I ask him why, he tells me again that there were no single bed rooms … I go down to the reception desk and ask: there were more than 20 single bed rooms available! I feel angry, I go back to my room and I tell him, he answers me with a half fake smirk as if he were in a porn movie. I look at him and say to him: “No! I’m not your toy!” He raises his voice, he reproaches me stressing that it was he The one who paid the bill and the plane ticket and he even tells me: “You can also repay it in nature!” A joke so stupid made me just explode and I jumped on him and beat him with all the strength I had. I took my bags and left in a single room.

He called me on the phone and started begging me and apologizing. I stupidly returned to him. He had a black eye and cried like a cut vine, he begged, I felt sorry, he seemed inconsolable … in short, I let myself go to make love with him another time … I was making love with a forty year old that I didn’t want anymore but that had made me feel sorry! At what point I had arrived! …

During the night I thought of every possibility: to leave him alone there and go back to Italy, but then he would have felt betrayed and his reactions were unpredictable; or to finish the trip with him, then speak clearly and close the relationship … in short, there was only one hypothesis that I didn’t even take into consideration, that is to stay in contact with him. I didn’t leave him there, the next day we were in separate rooms and we didn’t make love anymore. I saw him humiliated, I felt sorry, but if I had appeared even a minimum condescending, things would have started again as before.

I go to the heart of the matter. Since we came back to Italy I didn’t want to see him again, he texted me and I changed the card, I had to change e-mail, in a sense I was also sorry, in fact he did nothing terrible against me, but we would never get along, the main fact is that we didn’t really love each other, we were two desperate people trying to solve each one his own problems… but this way a couple relationship makes no sense. He wrote me at least 10 letters with traditional mail. He sent me the last one to wish me merry Christmas, you can read it below: “Hello, all right, I’ll leave you alone, I did a lot of nonsense, but I think in the end I really would succeed to love you. Good luck!”. This mail has put on me a great sadness. I have not heard him for more than 30 days now. The story is over this way.

_____________

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A NON-STANDARD GAY COUPLE

Hello Project, this morning I’m happy! It doesn’t happen often, but today I’m happy and this is because I made love with my puppy! A love that could seem made out more of cuddles than sex, if we want, because my puppy is a bit particular with his behavior and then you have to be careful not to force him, but he knows it and tries to adapt, but it was beautiful anyway. I didn’t really expect it, in fact the last time I had heard him on the phone, it had seemed a bit chilly and then it had been almost three weeks.

When I feel him cold, when I feel that he cuts short, I feel uncomfortable and then I distance myself, the first days I’m glad not to hear it, because I think I would have nothing to say but then I start to miss him and then I start thinking about him a thousand times a day, it is a sort of abstinence syndrome, but not from sex, but from its presence that is able to make me feel good. I know that he has his life, that he sees other guys, whom I also know, that he makes love with them, but this doesn’t upset me, I think it is also right because the relationship he can have with me, after all, cannot be truly capable of satisfying all his needs.

in recent days he came to my mind on many occasions: places where we had been together, a way of smiling, a joke, in short, I really needed him. This morning I go to have breakfast at the bar and I see him in front of the front door of my house. He asks me if I’m busy, I answer him with a toothy smile, we go home and he wants to be cuddled, I hug him tight and I can see he’s happy, he says, “Do you still want me?” I answer than I loved only one guy all my life long and then looks at me puzzled and tells me: “Only me? Never with anyone else? Has nobody ever tried with you?” I say to him: “Only you! Never anyone else!” It almost seems like he does not believe it, but I really fell in love just once in my life. With him I lived the most beautiful experiences of my life, for almost three years, then, in a sense it’s over, but I think that in reality it never ended, he has had other guys, but he kept anyway a relationship with me and very seriously, he never archived me.

Every now and then he came to me, more than to have sex because after all it’s a bit different, just to be together in intimacy, we cuddled: dinner together, then cuddling endlessly, he curled up tight to me like a cat, I hugged him tightly, there was also a bit of sex, of that not dangerous, and it was just fine like that. I’m still in love with him. His way of looking for affection melts me inside, I don’t think I would ever be able to stay with another guy, also because, despite the different behaviors, his sexuality feels very similar to mine. If I see a guy I like in the street, it’s because he has some detail that reminds me of him. He is the best for me and then, what has always struck me is that he doesn’t forget me, he doesn’t archive me and when he is with me he is happy to stay there and I see it. I would like to live with him but I would suffocate him and he needs freedom. Deep down he knows that I love him and that this will not change, it’s something certain, so he feels desired and when we’re together he is 100% himself, he doesn’t play a role. Today we were embraced for more than an hour and he fell asleep in my arms. I felt like I was in heaven, I stroked his hair and he would open his eyes every now and then, smile at me a little and then hugged me again.

Now he’s gone and maybe I will not hear him for two or three weeks but I know he’s there and then sooner or later, he will contact me. I feel in love and I think it’s important for him too. He trusts me, knows he is safe with me and on the other hand I trust him too. Sometimes he scrambled me but they were things that didn’t last long and then everything passed. I’m so happy, he’s the guy I want, only him! And he is there, in his way, but he is there and he has never cheated me. In short, Project, today I’m happy! I don’t know if this way of living is more or less classic among gays, but that’s what happens and it’s beautiful! If you want, publish the email.
Carlo

I add a second email from Carlo, that arrived in the evening.

Today I have been thinking about my boyfriend for hours, I know that he is not my boyfriend and that he will probably never be the boyfriend of anyone, because a guy like him cannot be caged even out of love. I never understood what love was, the real one, the one that makes you suffer, until I met him and entered a totally new dimension and the novelty consisted in the fact that our love was mutual, but mutual in the true sense of the word, as I had never happened before and it never happened to me later, it was true love but it was not exclusive and even on this we understood each other very quickly and without any problem.

We are not a family, we will never be a family, to be a family it is a common opinion that an essentially exclusive relationship with another person is needed, but we have never felt this need, and then it is not true that the exclusivity of the relationship is necessary to provide mutual assistance if needed. I would do anything for my puppy and I think he would do the same for me too. Sometimes it has already happened. I call him puppy and he calls me exactly the same way . . . no roles at all! Our strength is reciprocity. He knows that when he looks for me he makes me happy and I know he loves me, that in his world I have a place is somehow important. I don’t care if it’s the first place, I know it’s not, I’m interested in the fact that I have my place inside his heart and he will continue to be there over the years and so far it has been like that.

My boyfriend fascinates me because he is not only a handsome guy but he represents the incarnation of my ideal guy and then because he understands me without needing me to speak and respects me. On the other hand, I recognize his great dignity, his great basic honesty, his true morality. Not what people mean by morality but morality understood as the ability to not subordinate emotional relationships to anything else. The emotional relationships for him are in the first place and must be managed without compromises.

We like to speak clearly, always, even when the discourse becomes unpleasant, but even in the less pleasant discourses respect was never lacking, his reproaches were not reproaches made out of hate but out of love. So many times he put me in front of my hypocrisies, unmasked before my eyes so many of my little falsehoods, so many my inabilities to be sincere to the end. So many times I must have made him really angry, he must have considered me a mediocre one, ready for any compromise, and basically he told me it explicitly, but he told me it just to make me think, to take away the classic slice of ham from of my eyes. Above all, he has never made me miss his presence, sometimes I don’t see him for weeks and if we greeted each other affectionately I’m calm and I know that I will hear him sooner or later and that it is only a matter of time, but if we have greeted badly, then he gets soon in touch with me or sends me a smiley face by sms, and he does it to free my head from the idea that something between us has gone into crisis.

I discovered sexuality with him. I used to think that I would at most be able to want a guy and that maybe that guy would not have said no, but anyway I saw myself in the role of the lover and the other as someone who in the end doesn’t say no. I didn’t really consider the idea of being able to be sexually desired by another guy and instead it is precisely what happened with him. That we loved each other I had understood it for quite some time, but he wanted me at least as much as I wanted him. It was exactly this that amazed me, and it was a real and very strong sexual desire that not only didn’t undermine our emotional relationship but made it much more complete and profound. For me it was not obvious to put together the categories of sex and of love and it was my puppy who taught me how to do it. Let it be clear that I call him puppy because he makes me a huge tenderness (as I think it’s for him too) but I know very well that he is a man, an adult who makes his choices and that several times has put me in crisis by opening my eyes on many aspects of reality that I had not very clear.

I really like his way of living sex: it is not hypocritical, it is extremely direct and sometimes I see that he is just pushed by an irresistible enthusiasm but always with sweetness, with a smile, with self-irony. When we embrace, he abandons himself completely in my arms and yet he has enormous strength when he takes me in his arms. The best thing is to stay hugged naked, the feeling of intimacy and mutual trust is very strong and heady. In his way of having sex there is never anything schematic and prefabricated, he is totally spontaneous and then he is very attentive to my reactions, tries to make me feel as happy as possible, sometimes, when we are a bit tired, I follow him less, and he says to me: “Come on, come here!” and he smiles at me, squinting and I melt completely.

So many times in our evenings of pampering we stop to talk and I’m delighted to listen to him. He reasons in a very different way from mine, but, in my opinion, more linear, more direct and even more profound way. Sometimes he has days of profound melancholy and we remain embraced to caress each other in silence and slowly he becomes calm and for me it is as if I saw the sun rise. We are not a couple, I believe that for us a model of matrimonial type would not work at all, we have no bonds of any kind beyond the fact that we love each other. Between us there is a loyalty, which is that of continuing to love each other, even if each of us has his way. Would I like to live with him? Of course, but it is something that would not work and that would risk undermining the substance of our relationship, which has its time and its ways to be realized and which cannot be reduced to schemes of any kind. I spent many hours thinking about my puppy and I feel happy, I know that he is there and will not go away, I had never experienced such a beautiful and above all such a true thing!

__________

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