In a recent email exchange with a fellow MoHo, the topic of "anal sex" came up. Mind you, this is an email exchange between two people who, while not virgins since we are both married, we are both gay virgins.
This topic is such an big part of homosexual culture - at least our perceptions of it. All our lives we've been conditioned with "that is what homosexuals do to each other". I remember, when I was younger, when we would see a gay couple, someone would invariably say "I wonder which one is 'the wife'?"
Perhaps it's my gay adolescence kicking in, but I can't help being curious about such things. I can't help but wonder if, in another life where I pursued a gay relationship, would I be a 'top' or a 'bottom' or neither. I also confess that it's a sort of morbid curiosity since I'm also a little 'grossed out' by the idea - but then I wonder if there is something about it that I'm not seeing. Is it a "don't knock it until you try it" sort of thing?
In my gay adolescence, I also find myself wondering on occasion
- What would it be like to kiss a guy?
- What would it be like to caress, or be caressed by, a guy
- What would it be like to engage in fellatio with a guy?
- What would it be like . . .
I suppose some would argue that I shouldn't even be thinking about such things - that I'm sinning with the mere thought of such ideas. They could counter my claim that "I can't help it" with "God will never allow satan to tempt us beyond our ability to resist" and "with God all things are possible".
The harsh reality is that I'm a gay man living as a straight man. While all gay folk will say that "it's not just about the sex" - it's also true that sex is a big part of homosexuality. Like it or not - I am sexally attracted to men.
Sometimes, when I'm around certain men, my body experiences certain involuntary physiological reactions - reactions I do not experience around women, no matter how attractive society says they are. It doesn't even have to be physical proximity - just a picture of a man can induce these involuntary physiological reactions - and I'm not talking about X, R, or even PG rated pictures, it could be a picture of just the face. While I'm sure this may disturb some, I've even experienced these involuntary physiological reactions in the temple - where I was certainly not dwelling on such things. It used to really bother me, especially at church or in the temple. I used to berate myself and wonder if I should go talk to the bishop about it. Now I've progressed to the point where I just say to myself "yup, still gay".
(Bonus points for those who can identify the previous two pictures - seriously, is there any gay man reading this who can't? - answer at the bottom *)
It's no secret that many, even most, mixed orientation marriages fail. For those who are single - being a celibate gay puts you in the minority. I'm not suggesting that all gay folk should choose one of these options. I respect my gay brothers and sisters who have chosen to pursue gay relationships (and I hope they respect my choice) - a part of me even feels a bit envious. But, can't we find ways to make it a little easier for those of us who have chosen the gay celibate path?
When I read God Loveth His Children, I'm left with a feeling of a bunch of "don'ts"
- Don't have gay sex
- Don't think about gay sex
- Don't exhibit gay characteristics
- Don't flaunt my gay tendencies, and
- Don't have gay friends
- Don't refer to myself as "gay"
Some might counter with the question "What is it I want - short of the church accepting homosexual relationships?"
What is it I want?
What about the "do's"? Yes, God Loveth His Children does include some do's - like praying to God to take these feelings away from me. But, why not explore things like
- The parameters and boundaries we should use when exploring our sexuality
- Acceptable ways for gay men and women to bond with each other (e.g. hugging, hand holding, etc.)
- How to survive gay adolescence
- Choosing the best gay friends
For much of society, the mere thought of intimacy between two men is repulsive and disgusting. I get it! I equate it with the thoughts I have regarding intimacy between two women. I mean no disrespect of my lesbian sisters; but, just thinking about it kinda makes me throw up a little in my mouth (although, apparently, some straight guys get off on it).
But, intimacy between two men is not repulsive to me - it's not disgusting to me. For me - it's beautiful! And, at the end of the day, I am left wondering . . . how can something so beautiful be so wrong? And, it's not helpful to reiterate time and again the repulsion that straight people feel and to accuse me of being unfaithful because I cannot muster up the same level of disgust . . . and to accuse my gay brothers and sisters of destroying society - when they are merely seeking human love and companionship in the only way they know how.
And so, my inquisitiveness continues . . . as a gay man, I sometimes ponder what it would be like to really live my life as a gay man? What my life would be like if I had made different decisions earlier in life? What it's like to love, and be loved by, another man? What it's like to express that love?
I'll probably never know . . . but is there really any harm in wondering once in a while?
* Steve Sandvoss of "Latter Days" and Matthew Mitcham - olympic gold medal winner in diving, and the only openly gay man competing in the 2008 olympics.