Sunday, July 06, 2008

Over or under?

Over or under?


I consider myself a man-hug connoisseur. I make myself open to almost anyone for a hug. I've noted this ad nausea before - but, hey, for someone like me in this situation I'm in, it's what I live for.


Often hugs with good friends come long and hard with arms over the top of the shoulders. If one is over, sometimes the other is under, but still around the chest. Or sometimes one is up over one shoulder and under the other matching the other's embrace in a locked pair.


But what about both being under - around the waist - holding tightly together down low?


I was at a wedding yesterday for another dear friend... three in three months of my dear 20-somethings biting the dust. This friend I haven't spoken about here. But, needless to say, he has been very open to my affection and I adore his innocence and sweetness and kindness toward everyone, and especially toward me. I have always been open to him and he has sensed that and reciprocated willingly, sometimes with surprising gusto. But I digress...


After the wedding ceremony, the traditional parade of family and friends filed to the head of the altar to greet the newly formed eternal family, hugging the couple - and as usual, the Mormon hugs of pats and quick embraces (never a duration over 3 seconds - I know - I was watching and consciously counting) proceeded in normal fashion - both family and friends. When I came to Matthew, I was pretty sure it would be different between us. He grabbed me enthusiastically and squeezed me tightly into him. It was the one-arm-up-and-over in combo with the other under-and-around. It had to have been 30 seconds! He didn't let me go. So the harder he squeezed, I reciprocated, his bride staring at us, my wife looking on... and a line of greeters still to come.


And then it happened... right there in the temple, at the altar no less. I started to get excited down under. So, I kissed his neck and broke the hug, said something quickly to the bride, grabbed my wife and left abruptly, a bit red I'm sure.


I don't know if this abstinence thing has anything to do with it, but I was feeling it pretty good and the "volcano" analogy of "doing something stupid" entered my mind... and in the House of the Lord no less. I didn't plan this. I didn't want it... Well, maybe I did, but not there in that place and time.


But it gets weirder... We stayed after for the photos around the temple grounds. For the most part, Matthew was focused on his bride and his family as it should be. But at one point, as the photographer organized her with her siblings, Matthew was freed up and came over and gave me another embrace. He was obviously very happy and sweet, and we hugged intently.


Then, at the wedding breakfast, he was away from her as I came in and we hugged "intently" again, but this time with our arms both low, around our waists. We transitioned from over the top to under and around with both arms, holding ourselves tightly. It just happened as we dropped around each other's waists. By now I was totally confused... this was the third intimate hug.


At the end of the breakfast, my wife went to the bathroom and I found myself with the groom fairly alone at the entry to the restaurant with well-wishers leaving... and for the fourth time, we fell into the embrace again... and again it was definitely both of us under and around the waists. We held our foreheads together, like we were slow dancing as a couple. And it happened again. I allowed myself to kiss him again. I was getting really excited. I backed off and looked up and noted a man (not part of the wedding party) sitting at a bench staring oddly at the two of us. Had he noticed our embrace? He was staring straight at us. Fortunately, my wife arrived in time for us to make a quick exit.


It takes an awful lot of attention and affection for me to "get going" with my wife. At times it works well, and at other times, it takes a lot of work. But with these spontaneous little encounters with my friend on his wedding day, it wasn't work at all. It just happened.


I can't believe I'm sharing this. I feel I need to get this out. I feel like I'm going to explode. I feel so bottled up inside. If it can be this spontaneous, is that what it should be like for a normal couple? I mean, is this spontaneous reaction what happens to normal married folk? I guess I'm dwelling on just all that I'm struggling with... and how wonderful it feels to be in the arms of another man... even if that man is innocent, sweet, just married, and straight... as all my "men" now are.


I don't know how much longer I can deal with this...

30 comments:

playasinmar said...

Deal with what?

Abelard Enigma said...

As for the involuntary reaction down in the nether regions - don't fret about it, it happens to all of us - and I'm sure it happens to straight married guys too.

I don't know how much longer I can deal with this...

OK, now I'm officially worried.

playasinmar said...

Worried about what?

Deal with what!

Forester said...

You really are in trouble. I've never been in that situation before but I probably would have reacted the same way. I've gotten to know a little about you over the past couple of years. You've already made the decision to stay with your wife, just like I have done. So, what you have to deal with (this is for you Playa), is keeping that promise to yourself and to your wife. Basically, it boils down to wanting to be with our wives more than wanting to be with another man. And I don't mean "wanting" as in sexual desires, I mean wanting to be with our wives forever.

I couldn't imagine being without my wife and children. I would be devastated. Putting aside whether or not homosexuality is wrong or not, I want to be with her. If homosexuality was fine in the eyes of God, I would still choose to be with my wife. For me, I could never be really happy without her and my children.

However, just because we want to be with our wives, we don't automatically become heterosexuals. There is nothing wrong with having to work at being physically attracted to our wives. For me, there are times when I'm not attracted at all, but there are times when I am very attracted to her. From what I have seen with perfectly straight couples having to work at it comes about sooner or later in the relationship. I think gay relationships are the same. It's difficult to be monogomous. We want to have sex with whomever and whenever we want - but we know it's not right and will sooner or later lead to unhappiness.

Is a married straight guy any less in trouble when he hugs a beautiful girl that is not his wife and feels sexually attracted to her? Some would say that he at least can go to his wife to fulfull his needs while we can't. But, I've had very close friends find their marriage in ruins because they felt they couldn't fulfill their sexual needs with their wife. I think we need to stop thinking about ourselves as being special in some way - that our needs are any greater than the next guy. It's all about what you really want. None of this makes it any easier for us, it's just the way it is. As I write this, part of myself is contemplating all the fun things I could do this week while my wife and kids are gone. I'm no hypocrite. But, I think you and I want the same thing. We want to be happy and are just doing the best we can, with the knowledge we have been given, and with the convictions inside of us that come from having felt the Holy Ghost and its' witnessing power in our lives.

playasinmar said...

Beck, your straight side is responsible because you let it develop. Your homosexual self is stunted.

That's how you want it and that's how it is.

The consequence is your gay side is stuck forever in Teenager Mode. It will never mature.

But it's been that way for a while, no? So what's changed to get you so worked up this time? What aren't you telling us?

Beck said...

Playa: I don't know how to explain it other than what I've said. I've been on this "abstinence" mode for three months now and with experiences like last Saturday at the temple, I feel ready to explode inside. And then realizing the thoughts and desires that raced through my head at that time, and wanting something that I shouldn't want - at least not with him in that very inappropriate setting - and fighting off those feelings that came stronger and stronger over the course of the day, and him wanting me to hold him more and more - and having my wife there and his bride there - and raging teenage hormones there - it just was too much to deal with.

You said: "...your straight side is responsible because you let it develop. Your homosexual self is stunted." You're right. I am homosexually stunted and probably always will be - but for a brief moment in a very wrong place and time - I didn't want to be stunted any longer.

You said: "That's how you want it and that's how it is." Yes, but when I say that I don't know how much longer I can deal with this, I mean that maybe at times I just don't want to keep up the good fight any longer... and that tears me apart. Do you understand?

You said: "The consequence is your gay side is stuck forever in Teenager Mode. It will never mature." OUCH! That one hurt, but it hit that proverbial nail smack on the head. I'm an immature adolescent and a little bit of excitement and hormone rage inside me makes me all googly inside just like a teenage girl. And what I can't deal with is - I'M TIRED OF IT! I want to know more! I want to mature! And yet, I can't. In my situation I can't... and so I'm having a hard time "dealing with it".

What else do you want me to say? What advice do you have for such a middle-age teenage moron who gets his kicks romantically man-hugging 25 year olds in the temple?

Beck said...

ABE: I know the "involuntary reaction down in the nether regions" isn't something to fret over, but I want more... I want to know what it really feels like. A very large part of me wants to experience it - not with him at that time - but someone who is willing to love me in that way. And I know it's not going to happen unless I allow it to - and yet, as I've stewed over this this past weekend, I want to allow it to happen... and that worries me!

Beck said...

FORESTER said: "Basically, it boils down to wanting to be with our wives more than wanting to be with another man. And I don't mean "wanting" as in sexual desires, I mean wanting to be with our wives forever."

Forester, you and I are very, very similar. We are tempted and being alone triggers our temptations to really want to branch out and "know". Our marriages and kids keep us anchored.

I hear you loud and clear. We do have eternal perspectives of these things. I do desire my wife and kids more than these teenage flings. But, in the arms of a willing sweet young man, it's really hard to keep priorities straight. :(

And thus, I go into my angst mode and beat myself up for being such a dope.

Abelard Enigma said...

What else do you want me to say? What advice do you have for such a middle-age teenage moron who gets his kicks romantically man-hugging 25 year olds in the temple?

I think you're being way too hard on yourself. What happened was spontaneous - it wasn't something you were actively seeking. Your bodily reaction was involuntary - letting you know that you were enjoying it, perhaps, a little too much, at which time you stopped.

In an ideal world, how would you want things to have played out any differently?

You're a gay man stuck in a straight mans body. Occasionally, our inner gay asserts itself - I call this pon farr. How long can you keep this up? As long as it takes!

Beck said...

ABE: Yes, it was spontaneous. No, I didn't subconsciously or consciously seek for it to happen. Yes, it was an involuntary action - that actually caught me by surprise.

I can hug thousands of men and be very much genuinely affectionate, but in control of my hormones. I can hug with spiritual confirmations of bonding without any such reaction.

But in this case, with this guy, at this place, it all came together and I'm asking myself why? And I struggle to not label myself as a pervert.

The point is - it wasn't perverted. It was totally innocent, spontaneous, and beautiful. He eagerly and willingly wanted me to know how much he loved me and how much he wanted to share that love and happiness with me on such a special day in his life. That was it. Nothing more.

What a beautiful thing!

I just read on Northern Lights a comment how men in church are afraid to hug anymore. I find that silly. I am more amazed at just how open and spontaneous and wonderful my 25 year old friend is to me. And for all the RIGHT reasons, and none of the wrong ones.

Thank you for helping me to see it a bit differently. I can't help that my boys are like they are to me and not to others BECAUSE of my willingness to be totally open and free in expressing my love for them. The recipricating affect is amazing.

My motives for 99 percent of the time, I can honestly say, have been pure and good, sanctified by spiritual bonding. It's that 1 percent that freaks me out...

If I were to be castigated by the Bloggernacle I'm sure I'd be told I'm a pervert and that I had it coming and that that is what happens when too much hugging is allowed in church... and that the Church needs to purge itself of dirty-minded perverts like me.

And I guess they're right... If my boys knew for sure that I was gay, would they be so willing to let our affection with each other extend to the next level? Am I not just fooling myself in thinking this was a good thing but subconsciously I always wanted to "get it on" with each of them? Maybe the holier-than-thou side of the Church has be pegged perfectly. All I want is to have them in bed with me, right?

And yet, if that were the case, wouldn't I have done so by now? I mean, with 10 years of history with these wonderful guys, nothing but true friendship, brotherhood bonding have occurred between us - with no hiccups, no inappropriate advances, no impure motives. It has been wonderful as I've watched them grow into amazing and sweet and beautiful young men, escorting their brides to the altar at the right place, right time, with the right authority. And I feel our friendships and unique bondings have helped to see that happen. Is that to bold to say so?

I don't think so...

So, having said all that, and knowing that what you've advised me here rings true... why do I feel like I should rip up my temple recommend?

Kengo Biddles said...

Honestly, Beck, I think you're thinking about this a bit much. My straight sense tells me that Matthew was just thrilled with the day, happy to share the time with you. I don't think he was doing any more with you than Tim or any of the others have done. They were expressing what they felt to be appropriate affection with a man they look up to and trust.

We just have to remind ourselves of that, and not read too much into things.

Beck said...

KENGO: I agree. I'm calming down, really... Believe me.

I know Matthew's intents. They were exactly as you've noted. I see that and know that wholeheartedly. That isn't my point. I see NOTHING in what he did as inappropriate or suggestive in any way, shape or form whatsoever. Can I be more clear here? He's innocent and pure and angelic and perfect! I am 100% convinced of that.

What I am struggling with is my desire to not be so innocent or pure or angelic or perfect anymore myself. I want to partake of the forbidden fruit... and this innocent and pure and sweet and perfect experience has triggered in me a wonder of how spontaneous my sexual stimuli could be with a willing accomplice that I love, and a real desire to find out.

He has nothing to do with this. It isn't even reflected toward him. He was just the catalyst for such raging thoughts within me.

playasinmar said...

Is it Pon Farr or is it the three month stint that's causing this?

If it's the three month stint causing it you had better think of something else and fast.

There are too many three month windows between you and heaven right now.

Beck said...

PLAYA: You finally got my message... I think the 3-month stint has magnified my emotions and got me out of balance.

As for thinking of something "fast" - would you like to make a suggestion? :)

Zachary said...

Probably easier said than done, but I think the best thing to do is put the experience behind you and focus on the future. I've found in my life, one of Satan's biggest tools against me is reminding me of things in my life that focus on my inadequacies.

When we obsess over things, it makes them worse and we can feel worse about them than we should. If you recognize the thoughts and feelings were inappropriate, that is all that needs to be done. I don't think anything necessarily needs to change from what you are doing. Cold Turkey is the hardest way to quit anything. It's only natural you would be going through some sort of withdrawal.

I think the biggest thing is to recognize what happened, see it for what it is, and move past it.

I'm not trying to be an expert here... certainly others have been working through same sex feelings longer than I have... These are just some thoughts I had while I was reading.

playasinmar said...

'As for thinking of something "fast" - would you like to make a suggestion?"

Didn't Forester do that already?

MoHoHawaii said...

Beck,

I've drafted several comments and erased them all.

All I can do is wish you the best as you deal with these contradictions. You're in my thoughts.

robert said...

Forrester said: "We want to have sex with whomever and whenever we want - but we know it's not right and will sooner or later lead to unhappiness..."

I wonder if you know for a fact that this is true, or is it a "story" that you have told yourself. How would you feel if you did not 'believe' this story?

Playa said: "The consequence is your gay side is stuck forever in Teenager Mode. It will never mature."

I wonder if this true. What is a person's gay 'side'? If one is gay and conflicted, is it not their entire emotional life that will fail to mature?

playasinmar said...

The Gay Side and the Straight Side are two identities caused by the mental division of a homosexual pretending to all the world he is as straight as can be.

Forester said...

Robert and Playa, I know that for me, I would not be happy being in a gay relationship, especially now that I know what it is like to have a wife and kids. But even if I didn't have a family I still wouldn't be happy. And yes, this is based on what I believe. My beliefs are at the core of my happiness and they stand apart from the "stories" I have been told. I have experienced them for myself and I can't deny what I have felt and seen over the course of many years.

As for pretending to live a straight life, that's way off mark - is that what you think guys like me and Beck are doing? I hope you don't really believe that. It's not that black and white - it's not gay or straight - that's a huge simplification. I'm a huge believer in Parts Theory - that individuals can be separated into different personas with a core central identity that is made up of all the parts.

Beck, I agree with others who have said not to beat yourself up about your experience and I totally understand how you feel. I too at times want to experience gay sex and have come very close to having it. It's tough to go against our very nature to become something that is more than just our nature.

J G-W said...

"The point is - it wasn't perverted. It was totally innocent, spontaneous, and beautiful. He eagerly and willingly wanted me to know how much he loved me and how much he wanted to share that love and happiness with me on such a special day in his life. That was it. Nothing more."

"He's innocent and pure and angelic and perfect! I am 100% convinced of that."

I'm curious, why the bending over backwards to stress the purity of Matthew's motives?

Here's the thing... A boundary was definitely crossed. The fact that it was crossed was -- by your own account -- evidently noticed by the bride, your wife, and other innocent by-standers, including some strange man staring at you in the lobby. You yourself said that the generally accepted standard for men hugging is about 3 seconds; and let's face it, once would be considered enough, even on as felicitous a day as a wedding day. This happened repeatedly -- four times -- and was intense enough to arouse you -- more than once. Hands went to regions where two straight men hugging just don't go. You can't convince me otherwise. Boundaries were crossed! And not just by you. Matthew was trekking across that boundary as much as you. It seems odd to me, under such circumstances, to assume purely platonic motives on his part.

Earlier I recall some discussion about your recent abstinence -- which you undertook with the best of intentions. A couple of commenters suggested that "sustainability" might be more beneficial in the long run. A pressure valve that can release steam before it builds to the explosion point, they suggested, might serve you better in light of your goals of staying true to your marriage. You brushed that advice aside... But now you're wondering out loud if you can keep up your marriage? And friends and supporters are worried...

Beck said...

"As for pretending to live a straight life, that's way off mark - is that what you think guys like me and Beck are doing? I hope you don't really believe that. It's not that black and white - it's not gay or straight - that's a huge simplification. I'm a huge believer in Parts Theory - that individuals can be separated into different personas with a core central identity that is made up of all the parts."

FORESTER - I really get this... I don't know that I'm playing any part - gay or straight. I'm trying to be me within my circumstance. I am still being me when I live in the family I've chosen to create. I am still being me when I am in the professional world I have created for myself. I am still me when I bear my testimony to my class on Sunday. I am still me when I am holding Matthew in my arms. I am being me in all of these situations! Call me delusional or so confused by denial and closet dwelling that I can't see straight - no pun intended - but in all of these worlds that make up my life, I am still me, not half me, not part of me... just me.

Beck said...

"...why the bending over backwards to stress the purity of Matthew's motives?"

Why? Because that is how I really truly view it. This kid is very innocent, very sweet, very pure. I view him that way. I see him that way. I just don't see him any other way.

"...This happened repeatedly -- four times -- and was intense enough to arouse you -- more than once..." Yes, it did. I was shocked the first time, confused the second time, thrilled the third time, and excited the fourth time. It was fun. It was exciting. And yet, I felt an innocence on his part radiating from him. Did he want more? I don't know. He didn't pull away - I did. Was he excited? I don't know... we didn't discuss those details. Did we cross a line? I felt so, otherwise I wouldn't be here analyzing it so much. Did I want more? Yes I did, but I didn't.

"...Hands went to regions where two straight men hugging just don't go." I know - thus the subject line of this post. It felt different to hold him in this position. Was it "gay" or was it just a natural extension of the evolution from hug no. 1 to hug no. 4? I don't know. It just happened. The both of us going under just happened.

"...It seems odd to me, under such circumstances, to assume purely platonic motives on his part..." I understand what you are trying to tell me here, but I just can't go there - not with him. I just can't. As for me, did I mean it as just platonic? At first, yes. At the end, no, I wasn't holding back and felt that if we weren't in the lobby and our wives just around the corner, then something may have happened... does that make it non-platonic on my part? Remember, I'm an innocent teenager when it comes to these things, right? Playing with fire, getting a cheap thrill, hitting on young men, being a slut... you can call me what you want, but honestly, those were and are not my intent. If you think otherwise then you do not know me. Was I excited? Yes, but it wasn't my intent.

"...But now you're wondering out loud if you can keep up your marriage?" I never said I couldn't keep up my marriage. I said I am having a hard time dealing with the angst that comes from such occasions in my life's bumpy road. I'm tired of the struggle. I'm tired of the battle. I'm tired of these urges. I'm tired. That doesn't mean I'm giving up on my marriage, running to the nearest gay bar and hoping to get a quick one. I'm just having a hard time with these feelings and emotions and anxieties that come in situations like this. That's all. Don't read more into it than that. I am resolved, as Forester noted, to come through it all and see the bigger picture. I am resolved to make the right choices as I see them defined as "right" for me and my family. I'm just using this blog to point out the emotions and turmoil along the way... and it's tiring and frustrating that the fight goes on.

"...And friends and supporters are worried..." I appreciate that - I really do. If you've got advice - give freely and I will receive openly. I am not ignoring what was told to me by friends and supporters about my "abstinence" run... By the way, I may make some happy to know that through all this, I fell off the wagon a bit in these last few days. I may blog on that later... The point is, I do listen. I need help. I'm a mess and I'm trying not to hate myself for being such a mess...

Don't give up on me. And thank you for your comments, John.

Love,

Beck

Beck said...

Here's the deal... maybe if I knew what I was doing I could read the signs of the other guy better. But because I don't know what I'm doing, how can I read what they other guy is doing or feeling?

It's like when a straight guy wants to kiss a girl and she's not sure and he's nervous and they second guess each other in that first moment of innocent first kisses. Neither is sure of the other, and if it is first kisses for both sides, the uncertainty of the situation is obvious but missed signals are missed just the same.

I feel my "relationships" and "experiences" with other guys is a lot along those lines. I knew once a long time ago with a dear friend far, far away in a different time and place, but those feelings, signs and events are different from these.

So, how do you expect me to interpret any straight guy hugging me "down under" as being a signal to me that he's gay, and ready to go to the next level?

Please explain what I'm missing here. I guess I'm blind. Or very stupid...

J G-W said...

I hope you won't take this the wrong way, but I suspect imputing "pure" and "angelic" motives to Matthew is a defense mechanism. Maybe it makes crossing lines with him feel "safer" than it actually is? Objectively, it seems hard to argue that for him as well as for you there isn't more going on here than friendship hugs (even if only at a subconscious level).

As far as "purity" goes... These feelings are pure and true! The feelings I feel for my partner are simultaneously sexual and spiritual, lustful and loving, hungry and altruistic. Our sexuality is intimately bound up with a host of other complicated and wonderful emotions. It sounds to me like you're experiencing that complexity and goodness... And getting confused because feelings that are so "pure" can't be sexual, can they?

Forester, bless your heart, you put it so well... The love and commitments you've made demand that you give up certain things -- even if those things are very good.

I've sometimes wondered... What would I do if tomorrow I suddenly found myself transformed into a heterosexual. Would I dump Göran and get temple married tomorrow? The answer is obvious (to me); love demands better of us than that...

Beck said...

"...I suspect imputing "pure" and "angelic" motives to Matthew is a defense mechanism. Maybe it makes crossing lines with him feel "safer" than it actually is?"

Yes! That is true! I feel safe in his arms because defensively I want to assure myself that his purity that I see in him would never allow us to go into "unsafe" mode and thus, we are safe. Very much the same with Will and most definitely with Tim. They are all the same pattern. It is safe, in my mind, to proceed with our mutual affection because I see it leading no where dangerous. In other words, if I had seen him as trying to "advance" the emotions to levels of impropriety, the mutual affection would have become "unsafe" and immediately very uncomfortable. Though I felt we were beginning to cross this line, I didn't feel the "advances" or impropriety until my own arousal got the best of me.

These friendships of mine, as I imagine them with very straight men, are "safe" because I refuse to see them as anything but "straight". If they truly were gay (as one friend in this group is) the relationship would take on a different twist and not be the same platonic / erotic thing that it was.

"...It sounds to me like you're experiencing that complexity and goodness... And getting confused because feelings that are so "pure" can't be sexual, can they?" I can't help but feel that these feelings I have with them have been nothing but full of goodness. I feel warm and happy and alive and loved and hungry and altruistic. My mind won't go to the sexual... it can't... it's not supposed to... I'm married, remember? I can't go there. My motives aren't sexual... are they?

"...love demands better of us than that..." Ah, the bottom line... thus Abe, and Forester, and I among others, hang on to love, a love for our wife and kids that transcends it all.

Thanks for letting me get some of this out... It is good. It is wonderful. And it is pure. It is also, dare I say, sexual. And I'm okay with that. I'm home. I'm here. I'm where I'm supposed to be, where I choose to be.

But if Matthew really felt the same as I do, I hate to think of his first week of the honeymoon! I think I need to say a prayer or two for him tonight. :)

J G-W said...

Thanks, Beck, for fighting to maintain your integrity through all this. In some ways, I think it would be so much easier to try to deny your feelings. It's so much harder to acknowledge the full range of conflicting emotions, and weave a harmonious whole out of them. That's what I see you doing here... And it is beautiful if dreadfully chaotic.

Forester said...

Beck, you're not messed-up as you stated earlier, you're doing your best to live what you believe and keep the commitments you have made. We can't help it that some guys are way too cute (and in your case, affectionate). I guess enjoy those moments when they come and for what they are - beautiful, as JGW said. Just be careful!

Just think, if you had come down to Vegas, we could have talked about this. And it would have saved me from doing what I did this week - I'll talk about it on my blog. Someday, it would be great to meet you.

Beck said...

"...I think it would be so much easier to try to deny your feelings..."

You're right. I've been in denial. This incident became sexual. It was erotic. It was real. But it was also beautiful and innocent, while still being sexual. I appreciate your helping me to step through this and not falling into denying or accepting what was really going on.

Beck said...

"...Just think, if you had come down to Vegas, we could have talked about this. And it would have saved me from doing what I did this week - I'll talk about it on my blog. Someday, it would be great to meet you."

I don't get to Vegas often so you're going to have to let me know when you're along the Wasatch Front.

As for what you've done this week, I can only imagine. Maybe if you tell, I'll tell you what I've done this week while on the road. I think we're both better not being alone! :)