Monday, January 29, 2007

Actions Speak Louder. It's Deafening!

Lately I feel like I have been a little more honest with God about my choices. I mean, I'm not going to try to hide from God or ignore him because I am afraid that he'll tell me to be straight or celibate. God loves me and won't lead me into a life that will make me unhappy. I know that there is no easy answer for the position I find myself in, and I need to just trust God that he will lead me to a fulfilling life.

I really need to know what the facets of my options are so that I can carefully and introspectively make good choices for my life. As I have ventured out on brief trips to the world of homosexuality, I have toured with the hope of finding myself at home in a culture that can be very foreign to the Mormon religion. My tours have included political events, night clubs, friendship networking, and of course a few from the blog world. I wanted to find a place where my sexuality could be welcomed as well as simple common sense values so as to support a healthy lifestyle and relationships. While I recognize, having traveled abroad in the past, that one cannot simply stereotype an entire community based on the experiences of a few encounters with the culture, some of my interviews with the homosexual community have lead me to believe that actions speak louder than words. And I regret to say that a growing body of evidence supports my concern that living a gay life must undoubtedly include some level of promiscuity.

I spent a considerable amount of time this last weekend touring. These were a few of my vistas: A night club, two group gatherings, a date, and an interview with a couple who have been together for nearly two years. In each of these situations I was greeted with fair individuals with seemingly normal lives and relationships. Yet behind this mask of normalcy some sort of sexual encounter was offered. It wasn't quite as brazen as "Hey, lets get it on!" But rather, these offerings began as little hints dropped here and there and when I didn't bite the bait, became flat out inquiries into personal details about my genitals, masturbation, pornography, and whether or not I have had sexual relationships with other men. Granted, early on in life I I learned the gift of tact. And though most of these conversations were presented without tact in the least, I was able to sidestep the issues pressed upon my delicate homosexual paradigm and move on -which often left the solicitor of such questions feeling even more hungry for sexual discussion and flat out offers to explore my sexuality.

The most disturbing factor in all of this however were not the offers of rampant homosexual encounters as much as
offering these encounters. The two most persistent men to offer to "loosen my tension" were men who were in serious long term relationships with other men. Even after pointing out that they would be breaking the trust of their lovers, they persisted. I find this most upsetting. The longest I have ever had a romantic relationship with anyone was my girlfriend two years ago and we lasted three months. These men have shown that they are committed to their relationships by staying in them for more than 2 years. That is true for both cases. Nevertheless, in private venues of conversation they offer to break their commitments infidelity, the offers remained; threatening the longevity of their significant other remaining significant.

In the end I respectfully declined their generous offer to throw away their integrity (and possibly their relationships) for a few moments of pleasure. I told them that I wouldn't feel comfortable sacrificing the respect I have for fidelity and their long-term partners. And even so they presented themselves as ordinary people living ordinary lives, I couldn't help but wonder how healthy these relationships really are. After all, infidelity can be a fatal blow to any relationship.

Why does this happen in the homosexual world? I'm not attempting to say that the gay community has a monopoly on infidelity, but my friends both in and out of the Church that are in long term relationships have never offered such things nor have such sexual topics plagued a conversation like a nicotine craving that just won't go away. Whereas my many homosexual friends seem to allow irresponsible sex to identify so many of their actions regardless of how much they attest to common sense values. Granted, I have met a few honest gay men and couples out there, but the majority that I have met aren't beyond engaging in a little side fun every now and then. Is it just something that goes with the territory of the gay community? How does one protect himself from becoming one of those men?

Perhaps my perception is flawed. Maybe it would be easier to believe that my incredibly magnificent physique is what is threatening the relationships in the gay community. Yet, some how I doubt that my good looks alone could take responsibility for such.
There is a lot to me -a great deal to who I am. I'm more than just a piece of meat, even if I am a good cut. Nobody interviewed me this weekend to find out what really makes me tick. And yet somehow they couldn't get me out of their mind. I ventured out of my world to try to connect with and better understand a people who share the same attractions as I do. And it's not that I am seeking attention from them as much as I am trying to learn. I merely want to believe that I can have healthy relationships and be happy and content with my life. And if that means that I must deny myself a doomed same-sex relationship in exchange for peace of mind, then that is the course I am willing to take.


PS: As for all of you in the blog world , the very small few that I have met in person, I have to say I am quite impressed with the lives you live. Never have I received an innapropriate solicitation nor have my feelings been disrespected. Perhaps it is because of the genuine nature of blogging. It provides a forum for brutal honesty. There are no hidden agendas. The anonymity is sacred. I am greatful for all of the support I receive from everyone regardless of which side of the fence you stand.


The Ugly Swan said...

You can take comfort, I suppose, in that people are interested, even if it's obviously the wrong sort who are after you.

You know how I hate giving advice, but it struck me that perhaps the "relationship" aspect of healthy male-male interactions is best served when you have a friendship first and an intimacy afterwards...which so many of religious pursuasion seem never to get, as they are perhaps pursuing gay relationships for one thing and one thing only. Infidelity is still rampant in the gay world, Mormon or not, but perhaps that confusion of purpose is at fault. What do you think?

-L- said...

I think Mormons don't get that it's "healthy" because they often believe there's not any such thing as a healthy male-male interaction that includes romantic or sexual love. More satisfying, sure, but long term (eternal?) not healthy. If I were going to go for it, I'd be sure to start with friendship. And, really, from my view that's a good healthy place to start as long as it settles firmly there and goes no further.

the Baker's son said...

I feel bad for you. The majority of my contact with the "other side" has been a lot more positive, and not very promiscuous at all. But then again, maybe thats because I'm not such a "fine cut of meat."

Distinguishing Preoccupation said...

Ok, I just hope that everyone picked up on the sarcasm in the last two paragraphs. I just think its funny how much emphasis is put on good looks. I am just an average joe.

Thanks Baker's Son and everyone else for your comments. I hope I didn't come across as arrogant.


pinetree said...

So, I'm not usually one to quote scripture, but I was reading tonight and there was a passage that resonated with me thinking about the "tours" I have taken (and continually find myself taking...) in the gay world (or maybe nation is a better word in this context) and this passage resonated with me. 2 Nephi 27:3.

Maybe that will make sense to you. Maybe not. There was just this feeling of artificiality in myself when I went to Gay Pride in Salt Lake or gay clubs or whatever. Don't get me wrong, I had fun doing this stuff, but I also felt like I was trying to advertise a lot of fun and satisfaction that I wasn't having in order to both justify my actions and try to look attractive and justified to others? It's like I was pretending to eat this giant piece of chocolate cake and looking like I'm totally loving it, having the time of my life...but really there's nothing there or it's just some creamed corn or something. I leave that sort of event with mixed emotions, but feeling a little empty. Sometimes it's great to pretend I've eaten even if I haven't just because it lightens my mood, but I'm still always empty in the end. Does this make sense?

The real chocolate cake is harder to find in life than the imaginary kind. And to sum up my thoughts on the issue, I really like chocolate cake.

Scot said...

I, as one constantly fighting this assumption being placed on my home, of course, would have a lot to say here, but I’ll (try to) keep it short :-).

“These men have shown that they are committed to their relationships”
“And even so they presented themselves as ordinary people living ordinary lives”

To me, it seems quite the opposite.

“like a nicotine craving that just won't go away.”

I think you kind of answer your question here. Some gays learn early on to treat their attraction to men as an addiction, not the same way women learn to treat it, as a tool to be used for something greater. Then add on the average male human sex drive and a society that wants no part in molding healthy gay relationships and you’ve got a problem. I mean, how do you think straight men would react in similar circumstances on average, if there were no legal consequences and most were routing for the relationship to fail anyway?

Okay, here. I’ve done a quick search and found a couple research articles, and, though outdated and just a surface scratch, they surprised me. The first study is from Science (I don’t have the full text, and so take with some skepticism, but I can get it later) and it found, 1,450 gay men over the age of 21 (to what It’s not clear, but a larger range than the next study, I read) show an average of 4.2 partners. Heterosexual men at the same time (3,321 of them), in a different study, between the ages of 20 and 39 show having 7.3 partners on average. That’s even with marriage, which, it seems, fails about 1 in 3 times for infidelity and with a higher percentage of men self-reporting having had affairs. Women seem to report about half as many affairs; no wonder you’ve not been hit on by heterosexual couples ;-)

Finally consider, you’re in a culture that abnormally stifles or hides heterosexual infidelity, yet is hands off molding any gay relationship. I’ve known it to ruin many lives up here in my more sinful valley :-). Yet, while I’ve known some very promiscuous gays, near all our gay friends are faithful. One just can’t go on personal experience with such groups.

“How does one protect himself from becoming one of those men?”

I think this is where the point sits. You have to want to act like these men to act like these men. You are at your helm, and even if there were no faithful gay men in the world ;-), you could still be the only one. It’s up to you.

But, as a caution, I think both L and Pinetree have a point. If you believe such a relationship is not good by a religious perspective, or won’t be long tern healthy. Then I’d bet it’d be bad move for you to enter one, and that you could find yourself making poor choices seeing the damage as already done. Furthermore, if, to you, it (and that could be either a gay or straight relationship) only feels like eating of the chocolate cake :-), that too would likely lead you to trouble. If there’s one thing that I think best predicts a failure to find happiness as a gay man, it’s the inability to feel it’s deep down right to be a gay man in a gay relationship.

Short huh? ;-) (and thanks again)

Thrasius said...

You seem like a really interesting and charismatic person. Is that an accurate evaluation. Anyway, I am enjoying your blog and I just wanted to let you know. Thanks.

Chris said...

I second what scot said.

Also, this... And I regret to say that a growing body of evidence supports my concern that living a gay life must undoubtedly include some level of promiscuity. hogwash, for one reason: you are responsible for your own actions. The only person who defines the gay life you lead is you. In my gay life, there are no requirements. No demands that I sleep with as many men as will have me or solicit me.

It is unfortunate that many gay men choose to accept society's intolerance of same-sex relationships and doom themselves with risky behavior and an unwillingness to settle down. It is equally unfortunate that other gay men encourage this.

And, as scot points out, the straight world is no paradigm of virtue. Straight people are just more motivated to hide their infidelity.

Sir Robert Chiltern said...

I've often thought that it seemed like there was some disjoint between the hetero and homo worlds with respect to committed relationships. However, I've recently been reminded by several different straight friends that gay people definitely do NOT have the market on promiscuity. It was an interesting reality check.