Saturday, January 19, 2013

It's just my imagination...

I have a friend who has been a school teacher for years and has now embarked on a new career into private counseling and therapy. After being brave enough to discuss with him my "situation", he has taken a keen interest in helping me and "practicing" on me. I told him that I would be willing to open up and share with him my thoughts and feelings about my attractions and desires and how they don't align necessarily with my day-to-day life and family situation. He was eager to try to help and grateful for my willingness to be used as an opportunity for him to "practice".

It's interesting that as I've shared with him my feelings, he has gravitated to trying to investigate my relationship with my father and the root feelings that may have come from that rapport, and whether that relationship was good or bad, etc. Frankly, I was quite put off by this approach. I am so far from this line of thinking that it isn't even funny. I am not interested whatsoever in finding the "cause" of my attractions, nor am I even faintly interested in searching for

someone to "blame". The blame game was played out years ago, and I came to the conclusion that there is absolutely no one to blame. I was never abused, I had a great relationship with my father (we weren't best buds, but we weren't enemies either) and he was not absent from my life - in fact, he was very much connected with my life all the way to the end of his.

I find it funny that my friend's approach slipped so quickly on this prescribed path. Maybe he didn't know what to say.

So, now he's talking to me about my "lack of experience" and how can I really profess to know that I am attracted to men sexually if I've never had sex with a man. My likes and attractions may be more "imaginary" than real, seeing that they are not part of any real experience.

I find this approach very distorted as well. I, indeed, know what I am attracted to when I see it and what pushes my buttons and makes me all twitterpated inside. I told him to turn the question around and to ask himself how he knows that he was heterosexual prior to any real sexual experience, and that it really is the same for all of us. Some things are fundamental and so deeply based within our persona that it exceeds any logical explanation based on experimentation - it just is what it is!

But it has been on my mind and has bothered me some... As much as I understand my attractions toward men, can I really know where I am without having sexual experience to confirm my attractions? Is it possible to be a non-practicing gay and still know for assurity without "experience"? And in my chosen path and circumstance, I am not about to "experience" such a reality any time soon... so am I just imagining that I'm gay?

What do you think? How would you respond to such a question? Do you feel experience is needed to know for certain about such things? I want to know what if feels like to be kissed intimately by another man that loves me for who I am. I know that I can't really know what that is like without experiencing it for myself and that until I do, I am left to my imagination. But does that change who I am or what makes me who I am and what I know?

Can one just "know"? Or is this all just a big game of pretend?

16 comments:

TGD said...

Your friend has no business being a counselor as that is not what counselors do. Furthermore, this friend was leading you down the stereotypical causes of homosexually that have long since been debunked.

naturgesetz said...

Of course you can just "know." Orientation is a matter of attraction, regardless of actual activity. You said it all when you said, "I, indeed, know what I am attracted to when I see it and what pushes my buttons and makes me all twitterpated inside."

Experience isn't important. Teenagers will often "experiment." Heaven forbid they think after one or two enjoyable experiences with a guy that this proves they're gay (because physically, sexual activity gives pleasure).

It's a matter of just the things you said. It's a matter of whom you get crushes on.

Once I finally realized I'm gay, I could see that a symptom had been that when love songs came on the radio, in my mind the "you" to whom I'd sing the song was a guy I had a crush on.

Your friend's approach may be very valid for people in their early teens, who could be mistaking ordinary feelings of friendship (which is, after all, a form of love) for sexual attraction. Even there, there is the danger that a few experiences could be misinterpreted, as I said above. With people in their early teens, it makes sense to tell people not to be too sure until they've had a few more years to see how their feelings develop.

Could it be that our longings for men are really just a longing for friendship (which is what I thought until I was 16)? Maybe it's not completely impossible, but where are the longings for women, where are the attractions? Our moral self-control does not disprove our attractions.

Anonymous said...

So does that mean we only really know if we are attracted to someone after having sex with them? Insane.

I knew early in life that I was attracted to men, it was not any less real regardless of waiting until my mid twenties to actually have sex with another man. Your friend is way off base and I find it extremely unlikely that any school program is now training therapists in this manner.

MoHoHawaii said...

So, now he's talking to me about my "lack of experience" and how can I really profess to know that I am attracted to men sexually if I've never had sex with a man.

ROFL!!!!!

All I can say is that you are very kind to let your clueless friend practice on you.

Anonymous said...

I've never slept with a frog but I know I'm not into frogs. Your friend is a retard.

Anonymous said...

I came very close to intimately kissing one of my moho buddies. I didn't have to actually kiss him to very clearly know that it would have been wonderful.

MoHoHawaii said...

How would you respond to such a question?

I would call out the fact that your friend's understanding of same-sex orientation, like that of many folks who come from an environment that is hostile toward gay people, is mistakenly skewed toward the sexual. These folks define people like us in terms of sex acts, and that makes them very likely to miss the big picture: what we call "sexual orientation" has much more to do with the gender of the person we fall in love with than it does with what we do in bed. If my handsome and rather adorable boyfriend were to get sick and suddenly become incapable of having physical relations with me, he would still be my beloved. If we were talking about a straight married couple, Mormons would have no problem wrapping their minds around the kind of durable, passionate devotion that two people can show toward each other when they are in love. When it comes to gay couples, though, Mormons only see sex acts that make them queasy. This sex-only view of gay relationships is an artifact of their bias and nothing else.

You might confront your friend with this inconvenient truth. Or tell him the details of your previous crushes and your wife's jealousy over these crushes, even though she knew intellectually that you would never cheat on her. No matter what you say though, I don't know if you'll get through. In my experience, folks who lead with discredited Freudian pseudo-science (the distant father and tight-binding mother BS) are rarely willing to have their worldviews tweaked by reality.

By the way, I have a similar bone to pick with your (highly-qualified) former therapist who wanted to press you into identifying as a bisexual, when that does not appear at all to be how you perceive yourself.

Beck said...

TGD: I know! I was shocked that he so quickly jogged down that stereotypical path. I'm sticking with him, however, because he is a friend, and I feel like I need to share with him my perspective in hopes of broadening his understanding.

NATURGESETZ: "Orientation is a matter of attraction, regardless of actual activity". Thank you for restating that so clearly!

Though my lack of experience might place me at the level of a "teenager", I am not a teenager! I know who I am. I've lived with myself for over half a century - shouldn't that count as "experience" of who I am?

I do believe my longings are much more in connections and intimacy than in sexual activity. I may be fooling myself to believe that I can have one never truly knowing the other.

Beck said...
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Beck said...

ANON: I know what attracts me. Iknow with whom I'd love to kiss and know that it would be "wonderful"! I long for that experience as I've bemoaned endlessly and tirelessly on this blog. I know my friend is clueless in his approach, but he isn't an idiot and is willing to learn. His intents are real and sincere, he's just misguided by falling back on old ideas.

My point to this blog is more along the idea of my "lack of experience" inprisoning my progress and locking me up in my mind's imagination of "what would it be like". And by living such a life, am I not living in reality? How do I know without experiencing?

I know I'm gay in my attractions and I no longer worry why I am this way. I know I've trained myself to live a life of restraint - with a great deal of success. But I'm still living this part of me within the prison of my mind.

Beck said...

MOHOH: I appreciate your "spot on" comments. I think you should be my therapist! I want to help my friend understand me... I am able to see him as a friend trying to understand than a therapist-in-training, and if I can help him to help others with a more open perspective, the better.

I am constantly amazed, even after years of time passing, that you remember insignificant details about my blog and what I've shared here. Yes, I went for sevearl sessions to a very pro-gay celebrity-level expert therapist, one whose name would be widely known and praised for being the best in the business regarding counseling gay Mormon men! And yet, my experience with him was not that successful, and he did correct me and declared me to be "bisexual". And I found that offensive. I never could get beyond that. He was missing the point of my attractions, and in a sense, fell into the category of inferior therapists who find that a man who can have some kind of sex life with a wife for three decades (enormously difficult as it has been) must be a bisexual man.

I can say that there is nothing bisexual about my attractions. There is a bisexuality when it comes to love and companionship with my wife. But attractions? nope!

But, really, how do I know without any meaningful experience, right? :)

Thank you for your sensitivity and being in tune with my psyche here. It is amazing to me and I cherish your friendship.

MoHoHawaii said...

I have known bisexuals, and you, sir, are no bisexual.

:- )

I like to think that I have some understanding of your situation because our paths, although seemingly divergent, are two distinct expressions of the same essential reality.

I think it's safe to say that if you ever were able to express your sexuality in the arms of man you loved with all your heart, it would be one of your life's peak experiences. There's nothing like it. You are gay, gay, gay. End of story.

Yes, there are very good reasons why that's not the direction of your life at this time. Who knows what the future will bring? What I do know is that you're not broken, you're not sinful, you're not a loser. You're in a particular situation because of a lot of history. It may not be ideal in every aspect, but so what? You have a lot of life to enjoy, and I hope you'll do it with your head held high. Cut yourself some slack and go out and smell the roses. Wherever you see love, beauty and passion, bring that into your life. It's okay if the people around you compromise a tiny bit to accommodate you. You don't need to apologize for your small spot on this planet.

Upon rereading, it seems to me that what I just wrote is indistinguishable from a newspaper horoscope. :- ) That's funny, but some of the most profound things in life are completely trite. Go for it, my gay, gay friend. (No, I am not advocating any change in your life situation!)

Beck said...

MOHOH: You are sweet, my man! I will try to live up to the potential of the newspaper horoscope you just offered. I don't think I'm that pessimistic about my situation, and there is value to keeping my head high and unapologetic for being who I am (with a little compromise from those around me). There are times when it gets me down, and I get frustrated and stir-crazy and lonesome. But, I'm still here, mostly together and happy, and you've just made my week and I thank you kindly dear friend!

Beck said...
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Crisco said...

I loved the "frog" comment from anonymous.
Of course you know, but it's good you have a friend to talk to.

Dean said...

Can I throw another wrench into your reasoning?... Or at least give you something else to consider.

What if you are not "gay" at all? First of all, I believe that the word gay (in its modern use) describes a very adaptable behavior (something a person does as a pleasurable habit), rather than a biological trait (something that a person actually is).

Did you know that even right here in America, men (heterosexual men) in our culture use to be much more openly affectionate with each other, prior to the advent of the political homosexual movement that came about out of the sexual revolution in the 1960's?

You can still see this affection out in the open in other cultures where homosexuality is still mostly "in the closet." This is not "homophobia," (I hate that word). This is a fact of straight men desiring to avoid associating themselves with the moral implications of homosexual behaviors.

You can experience a very fulfilling, non-sexual intimacy within a brotherhood type friendship, and I don't believe there's anything wrong with that. In fact, I believe that this is the relationship that the biblical King David and Jonathan experienced (1st and 2nd Kings).

I am also a married man who has had to deal with SSA issues. But I dealt with them much differently.

You can find my testimony at beyondtheshadesofgray.org if you're interested. Especially check out the sections on homoerotophobia and covenant friendships.

Godspeed!