Saturday, September 26, 2009

The pleaser made me NOT do it...

My therapist tells me that I'm a "pleaser", that I want to make others happy and pleased with me and that I want to be responsible and diligent and do what others expect of me. (I still haven't decided if this is a bad thing or not, for this characteristic has inherent good qualities in it - I guess as long as it's not taken to the extreme and I no longer "stand up" for who I am in the spirit of "pleasing" others).

Anyway, in that spirit, I feel guilt for not responding to Abelard's request to blog about the "M" word, and so in order to fulfill my "pleaser" personality characteristic, I am obliging... with the hope that since this blog is still private, few, if any, will actually read what I have to say, and if it gets too uncomfortable, I can always delete it...

So, here goes...

I know for some this is impossible to believe, but I NEVER masturbated as a teen. I NEVER masturbated on my mission. I NEVER masturbated before I married. It was only after marriage, MANY years after my marriage (as I contemplated the meaning of it all and accepted that maybe I could be gay) that I finally masturbated.

Now, if you are laughing out loud, or pointing your finger at me and telling me that I'm nothing but a liar, than go ahead. I don't care. I know I don't fit the mold. I never did. I'm not like you. In this aspect, I feel extremely odd and different even from my fellow Moho brothers.

I was a pleaser. I was a "good boy". I was a "good scout". I was a "morally chaste teen" in every meaning of those words. That is what I was supposed to be. I wasn't supposed to do it, and so I didn't. Is it that hard to accept that this scenario was possible? When others of my piers were doing it in the tent at scout camp, I left and didn't participate.

As a teen, because of this sheltered and "good boy" upbringing, I gave my parents no grief. They didn't talk about it and I didn't ask. I had wet dreams, and morning erections, but I never did "the act". That was off limits. After all, I was supposed to be chaste. I was supposed to not look at girls in that way. And so, I didn't. It was easy. I did look at guys and did get excited, but I chalked it up as envy and never allowed myself to be sexually aroused to "that point".

When it was mission worthiness interview time, I had no problem in stating that I was CHASTE. I had not touched myself like others had. Wasn't that supposed to be what I was supposed to do? Wasn't I a good boy?

Okay... so you're still laughing at me, right? You still don't believe me. I know... I find it hard to believe as well. But, it's the truth.

So, on that fateful wedding night, as much as I wanted to, and as much as we tried, it didn't come off without a hitch. I was stunted. And I blame the church. I blame my parents. I blame the culture and society I was raised in.

This stunting has haunted me and caused incredible pain and suffering and has added to the confusion and frustration of intimacy with my wife and has scarred my relationship with her and with my own personal development.

We finally did figure it out, but by then it was already a "chore" instead of a "joy" and the difficulties from there only magnified. Only when I was able to finally explore my own personal sexuality years later did I come to find out the joy and satisfaction of what everyone else knew so much earlier. And this step aided me in finally allowing myself to retry again with my wife and come to some point of "joy" in our relationship. It has been a very long road, but one where we finally arrived so many years later.

She still feels that any form of masturbation is wrong and evil. She feels it takes to focus away from her and centers it on me. I don't need her and can fulfill my needs without her, and so, per her point of view, it is "wrong" as it isn't focused on our relationship. I can understand this, and so, in the spirit of being a "pleaser", I try to abide by her wishes.

That doesn't mean that I can say that I don't indulge. I do... particularly when that "volcano" inside me, that "pon farr" is about to drive me nuts. And I no longer feel guilt or evil, or even that this is wrong in and of itself. I'm not going to go to "hell" for it. I'm not a "bad boy". It is normal and healthy - particularly for someone as sexually stunted as I have been (there's a lot to make up for lost time :)) .

When all is said and done, and as I look back, I am still quite bitter for being raised the way I was. I am mad that such a distorted image of shame and guilt and ickiness was leveled at the subject of masturbation. I lay this directly at the steps of the church that so lectured a "pleaser" boy such as myself to the horrors of masturbation. It was a different generation and a different environment. But I feel stupid and duped and so wronged in the process. I didn't feel pure on my wedding night - I felt embarrassed and so frustrated.

I do not wish my life on anyone. I guess I am grateful that the more open environment of our culture today, even within the church, has lifted some of the taboo off of sex. Of course I've raised my kids to be sexually pure in every way, but I can't help but ask: have I done them the same disservice that I feel was done to me?

The other day my daughter walked out of her sociology college class when the subject of the day dealing with sex got too graphic for her delicate sensitivities. Is there a line of propriety? Is it really healthy to discuss it in a crass and crude way and mock or make fun of those who are uncomfortable with this open approach? Is there a point where it is never discussed and thus sheltered to the point of being unhealthy?

I can't help but wonder - if I were more sexually aware of myself, and had not shunned personal enjoyment, if I had been more open to personal sexual needs and desires and aware of my sexual fantasies and where they were leading me with my attractions to men (ever so obvious in hindsight-enlightened eyes as I look back on my adolescent years), would I have been more willing to accept my homosexuality then instead of decades later? And where would that personal and sexual honesty put me as I approached marriage? Would I have proceeded to marry?

Hindsight is never fair. I wasn't the person I am now. Don't get me wrong... I am grateful for the decisions I made that led me to my mission, my marriage, my family. I am grateful for these blessings. But, the road has been full of confusion and frustration, pain and struggle, bringing an innocent daughter of God into this suffering with me - and for what price? because I was supposed to be a "good boy".

I'm so tired of being the pleaser.

P.S. Abelard... I can't believe I wrote this. I hope you read it before I take it down. I'm still ashamed and embarrassed by this confession of stupidity and I still feel ashmed and guilty about this whole aspect of my life. I don't know if this is what you wanted, nor did it turn out to be what I had anticipated, but there you go... are you "pleased" with me?


Abelard Enigma said...

Beck, Beck Beck ... I'm always pleased with you - even when you chastise me :)

And, I don't think anybody in the queerosphere would laugh at you for anything that you said. They may be perplexed as the idea of never exploring your sexuality as a teen seems so foreign to many of us; but, we are all as different as snowflakes.

I am still quite bitter for being raised the way I was.

I'm intrigued by this statement; although, I have to confess to having difficulty relating. It just is not my experience growing up having not been raised in the LDS church. So, perhaps I'm the oddball here. But, I find myself wondering if the things you resent are at a more basic and fundamental level - that 'quest for perfection' that seems to be so ingrained into our Mormon culture. Do we set ourselves up for failure?

I can't help but wonder - if I were more sexually aware of myself, and had not shunned personal enjoyment ...

Well, as one who regularly indulged in M as a teen, I can attest that it wouldn't have necessarily helped you accept your homosexuality at an earlier age. It was a different era when you and I were growing up. There were no gay pride parades (except, perhaps, in San Francisco). There were no gay characters on TV shows. There were no entertainers who were open about their homosexuality. There were no positive gay role models whatsoever. Everything we were told about homosexuals was negative. I know for myself - what I was taught about homosexuals wasn't me, so I obviously couldn't be one, even as I acknowledged my attraction to other boys. I liked boys but I wasn't gay.

Crisco said...

Wow, I could have written much of what you did if I was telling my own story. I too was a "good boy." I think the worst I did as a teenager was rub myself a couple of times just to the point of getting myself hard. That alone gave me huge guilt. I didn't really discover masturbation until years after I was married too.
Beck, no one is laughing.

Bror said...

I am not laughing at all bud. I can totally relate to everything you said. Why were we so worried about being "good boys". If I had to do it all over again, I would test the waters way more. But that is easy to say now.

Beck said...

ABE said: "They may be perplexed as the idea of never exploring your sexuality as a teen seems so foreign to many of us..."

Exactly! And it is the perplexity that makes me feel stupid or so different from others that I feel like no one can relate to or accept that I am even real. Thus, I feel stupid.

"...that 'quest for perfection' that seems to be so ingrained into our Mormon culture. Do we set ourselves up for failure?

We fail to accept that fact that Mormons believe that we are saved by grace and not working out our own salvation. We are saved by "works" when referring to our ordinances. But, unfortunately, particularly as a young teenage and newlywed boy and young man, this lesson is lost and all that is emphasized that that we must be "perfect" or else.

What a fallicy! What a disgrace! What a disservice! That is why I am bitter... I come to accept within myself years later that what I believe now is fundamentally the basis for the gospel and the "plan of happiness". It was always there. I always knew it was there... but at the time, I would not accept it. I would not allow myself to be imperfect.

Beck said...

CRISCO and BROR: Wow! Maybe I'm not so alone and odd (though I dont' think that three of us makes a consensus) but it is nice to not be laughed at and to realize that there are others of us out there who really were "good boys" and didn't do the "M" thing. Wow... this is refreshing!

Thanks for giving voice to this issue and helping me to not feel so stupid (even though I still feel wronged for the way I was raised). I am still feeling the lingering effects of the "good boy" syndrome even today! It never goes away!

Bravone said...

I too wonder what would have happened if I had been more aware of and honest with myself about my sexuality 25 years ago. I am so so grateful for my wife and family. I don't know if I would have had the courage or desire to marry if I had the awareness I do now. I hope I would have, because in spite of some of life's difficulties, I have live, on balance, a very happy life.