Saturday, April 10, 2010

The rules of arousal...

Over at NED’s blog I commented:

…what are the "rules" about touching in non-sexual appropriate ways? What if those non-sexual "touchings" become arousing between two married MOHOs? Then what are the rules?

And what kind of "rules" should govern "male/male friendships" between married MOHOs? When do such friendships become inappropriate?


SCOTT responded:

What if those non-sexual "touchings" become arousing between two married MOHOs?

... So what if they do?

Arousal isn't a sin. Nor does arousal (necessarily) indicate that whatever you're doing is a sin. Arousal is just a physiological reaction to any of a number of things, many of them completely harmless.

I've gotten aroused when comforting a friend who was having a hard time. I was certainly not doing anything wrong, or even thinking anything wrong--and I appropriately chose to ignore whatever it was my body was trying to say and focus on giving him the comfort and support he needed.

We are taught (by society, to an extent, but especially by the church) that arousal is an indication that we're doing something wrong (unless it's with a spouse). That's one of the "rules" that should be discarded, IMO.

A better rule might be "arousal is a physiological response that is not wrong in and of itself and that doesn't need to be acted on".


I responded:

I never said or even suggested that "arousal was a sin"! I perfectly understand from many experiences that "arousal is just a physiological reaction to any of a number of things, many of them completely harmless..." What I was suggesting was that maybe arousal between two MOHO guys that are married in MOMs may consider the mutual arousal as a possible crossing-the-line rule, not a crossing-the-line sin!

Two older MOHOs in MOMs feeling such arousal between them may also signal that both are still "alive and well", which is a good thing for some of us! :)






So, I've been thinking... I think sexual arousal is a wonderful thing! I do not think it sinful. I think it is amazing… and anyone my age who still has it going on should also realize how amazing it really is!

I have been sexually aroused multiple times cuddling with my “special friends” from my mission! I was confused...

I have been sexually aroused several times simply hugging and holding my “special friends” in my ward! I was embarrassed...

I have been sexually aroused numerous times by myself! I was um... :)

I have been sexually aroused even more times with the help of my wife. It wasn’t always so easy and still is at times a lot of “work”, but we’ve finally got it figured out... I was grateful...(thank you!)

And yes, I have been sexually aroused a couple of times by a non-sexual, but bromantic encounter with a certain fellow MOHO in the community! And I was no longer confused or embarrassed or felt any guilt. I was just so happy for that magical and totally and completely natural and beautiful reaction...

And I think they are all beautifully wonderful! They are not a sin!


You know, a few years ago, when I started this blog, I would have been comsumed with angst and guilt over such a post (particularly following my previous post on conference... hey, I'm not a flat persona), but now I don't. Is that considered growth and self-acceptance, or am I way off the holding to the iron rod (no pun intended)?


And, in the spirit of the discussion on “rules”, what should be the rule for non-sexual but definite non-sinning arousal between fellow MOHOs? Particularly if you are in a MOM, or other committed relationship, what should be the rule on arousal? Should it be viewed as that proverbial line not to be crossed? Should there be any bromantic arousals permitted for MOM MOHOs outside those with their spouse? What if there are no arousals with their spouse - then what?

10 comments:

Scott said...

Just my opinion, of course:

--
what should be the rule for non-sexual but definite non-sinning arousal between fellow MOHOs?

If it's not sexual and it's not sinful, then it's not a problem, is it? The rule would simply be: "Don't allow the arousal to lead you into something that is sexual or sinful".

--
Particularly if you are in a MOM, or other committed relationship, ... Should it be viewed as that proverbial line not to be crossed?

Of course not. "I can only be aroused by my spouse or significant other" is a silly rule, because it's entirely unenforceable. I'm sometimes going to get turned on by things entirely unintentionally and without any conscious decision or effort. In other words, my body is going to cross that line whether I want it to or not--so I'm not going to even draw the line there.

What I can control is how I respond to the arousal. Do I feed it and turn it into something sexual? That's a line I can consciously and deliberately avoid crossing.

--
Should there be any bromantic arousals permitted for MOM MOHOs outside those with their spouse?

I think maybe the question here is "Is it okay to do things that I know will lead to arousal [with someone other than my spouse], even if those things are non-sexual and non-sinful?"

If I'm doing something that I know will lead to arousal specifically because I know it will lead to arousal (and because I want to get turned on), then I can't honestly say that the activity is non-sexual, can I?

But if my motives are non-sexual, and I'm (for example) cuddling with a guy because it brings me closer to him emotionally, and satisfies a need for non-sexual (or at least not primarily sexual) male contact--and I'm not doing it just to turn myself on... Then I don't see that there's a problem. (Again, with the caveat that I don't allow the arousal to lead me to go further than I should).

--
What if there are no arousals with their spouse - then what?

Same as above, assuming the motive is non-sexual. But if I'm not getting aroused by my spouse, that would make me examine my motives more closely--to make sure that I'm not actually cuddling (or whatever) to get the semi-sexual fulfillment that arousal brings (since I'm not getting it from my wife).

--
Here's my own rule:

"Arousal is irrelevant. It's my consciously-controlled actions (and the motives behind them) that matter. As long as I can honestly say that I'm not seeking an inappropriate sexual relationship, and can keep my actions within the bounds of propriety, it doesn't matter how my body interprets things."

Wyatt said...

Beck,

I feel like this post is hard to piece together on several levels, firstly; you're your attention to arousal and attention to sexual stimuli appears quite fragmented due to your years of repressing your sexuality and I feel as though that detail is what you're missing: you can't fix control on sexuality... it just is what it is and should therefore be embraced.

And once again, you're asking for 'rules' and 'permission' to feel the way you feel or act and no one can do that except yourself. Get aroused if you want to. Live your life!

But what I think is behind all of this is your desire to fall in love and experience love how you were developmentally and organically made to feel it... with a man.

robert said...

As Scott said:
"If I'm doing something that I know will lead to arousal specifically because I know it will lead to arousal (and because I want to get turned on), then I can't honestly say that the activity is non-sexual, can I?"

That seems about right to me...

Beck said...

SCOTT and ROBERT: I guess I'm not wondering about the non-sexual arousal. I am definitely thinking about the sexual arousal, desiring the sexual arousal, wanting the sexual arousal - that spontaneous confirmation that I am unquestionably attracted to men.

So, say you connect with another man. Say, hypothetically speaking, that that connection brings you together in a private secluded space and time and suppose that in that setting, you hug, touch, massage, hold each other, even kiss, and get aroused.

So, hypothetically speaking, then it really isn't as non-sexual as you started out to think it to be, right? So, then what?

Beck said...

WYATT: Okay, so I'm fragmented. Okay, so you see through the voids and fragments and rules and pain and longing, the holes, repression, the worries, the miscues and misconnections, the partnering with a partner that isn't natural but possible, the desiring for a partnering that is natural, but not possible.

Yeah...

*sigh*

so, no rules? no consequences to anything? no responsibility? no propriety? no commitments? no obligations? no bounds of love? ...

so, then what?

Wyatt said...

"so, no rules? no consequences to anything? no responsibility? no propriety? no commitments? no obligations? no bounds of love? ..."

Beck,

I think you're missing the point of LOVE - big expansive, breathtakingly sensational love.

"...trust your natural responses;
and everything will fall into place."
-Lao-tzu

Good, bad, lucky, karmic, pleasing, insightful... the possibilities are endless.

Go forward.

Stop muddling in rumination of things that are wasting away your moments that enable you to live your life to its fullest.

Beck said...

"big expansive sensational love" may not be in my future in the male-male variety you desire for me. And, frankly, I may never really know what you are describing.

Yet, I do know of a love that is big and expansive and sensational that involves a family - my family, a love of wife and children, and watching us grow together and learn and share and struggle and care and reach out and support and embrace each other as a family, as a husband and wife, as a father and son, as a father and daughter.

The love of a husband and wife who know of their disconnect but overcome it with big and expansive and sensational compassion and empathy, and connections both sexually and beyond, where sacrifice and service, devotion and love transcend and overcome any and all disconnections. Yes, it may not be the love you describe, but for me, it is big and wonderful and amazing and I consider myself a pretty lucky guy to have this love in my life, and I want to do nothing more than make this love grow and work to its fullest and complete capacity of passion for each other in all levels of our nearly 30 years of devotion together.

Maybe I will never know what you know. And maybe I will never understand what I am missing... and yes, I do consider there are "rules" of commitment and promises to this relationship, as I am sure there are to your relationship. There must be, or else, it really isn't love then, is it?

Ned said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ned said...

BECK: As I read your list of times when you've felt...um....wonderful, I think of the rainbow flag. That is to say you have experienced a wide variety of differing circumstances or hues.

I'm glad that you've reached a point of understanding that there's been something positive and life affirming in all of them. My sense of optimism tells me that with such a past and present, your future will also include much that is wonderful.

Quiet Song said...

Boy, do I ever understand this post! It is amazing what our bodies can do for us, yet there are some boundaries for me. And differing types of expressions of different types of physical intimacies. I do have borders around my marital relationship I do not cross, and that has made all the difference in the world in keeping my male and female friends, friends and my husband, my husband. Yeah, girl it turns me on when you . . . but I'm not going to feed it, and even though it does, you are still going to be my friend and things are still going to stay appropriate. The same thing is true for you hot guy in my life . . . fortunately, all of these feeling do tend to cool when properly restrained and those that don't, well they just stay restrained. No guilt.