Sunday, July 08, 2007

I'm wondering if there is something different about MoHos (I swore I would never use the term, I just don't like labels, but it is very convenient). I'm thinking that perhaps, due to our beliefs, as well as other forces of Mormon lifestyle, we are attracted to other men, but don't really want to have sex with them. Gay porn for me is more offensive than arousing. Yes, there are times when I lust after the male form, but for the most part, I could never imagine actually having sex with another man. To be specific, anal and oral sex are not attractive to me, and I'm thinking that many of you feel the same. Yes, there are other ways of being physical with another man, but in the common practice of gay sex in the world, anal and oral sex seem to be the standard.

Kissing sounds good (but I don't really know for sure), hugging sounds great, touching sounds incredible but just being close would provide for my needs. Many of us were interested to hear that a famous gay rights activist, now turned anti-gay activist and possible member of the church described being gay as lust and pornography wrapped into one. He didn't mention anything about the need for a close relationship, or just needing to be loved by men. Although I'm sure that many gay men also need to be loved, the focus in the gay world seems to be on the sex. However, here in the Mormon gay world, the focus seems to be on the need for just being close and accepted by other men. Is this because of our beliefs and upbringing? Mormons in general are very loving and close as a religion. We have spiritual experiences together that are really quite intimate. If you've been on a mission, those experiences are often encompassed by an almost exclusively male environment.

I like the idea of not really associating with the larger gay world, as described by many of you in the definition of MoHo. We're not really gay to the same degree, or at least our focus is maintained by some very powerful guiding principles based on person testimony. This fundamentally changes our gayness. Maybe we're not really gay, according to the definition set by the world. All we really want is to be close. As far as male attraction is concerned, I'm as attracted to men as the next gay guy. Women just don't do it for me, or at least, not quite as easily as do men. I have to work at being attracted to women. But, again, there does seem to be a limit to my gayness. I don't' think this has anything to do with the gayness scale, it's a separate issue. I know many of you have touched on many of the same ideas here, but I'm still trying to put it all together. If I could have one very close male friend, who isn't afraid to touch and love, with limits, I think that the majority of my gay needs would be met. Would I end up wanting more, possibly, but overall, I would be quite satisfied.

11 comments:

the Baker's son said...

I totally agree with your first paragraph, but the last few lines of your last paragraph are treading some dangerous water. Yes, it would probably feel wonderful to have a touch-buddy when both of you have limits etc. But things in your heart are awakened when that happens that don't get put back to sleep-- and thats good for some people and bad for others. Having 'needs' met is a very very complex thing.

GeckoMan said...

I think it's all a pretty slippery slope. Once we set up one kind of physical behavior, it can often lead to another. Before we know it, we're not anywhere we intended to be. And remember we're not in control of the other person and their feelings and passions.

Dreaming about how nice it would be, "if only I could..." sets us up for longing and frustration. Let's not kid ourselves, if we are married with families, the opportunity for our deepest relationships should be fostered at home. However, finding a trustworthy male friend (gay or straight) to talk with about anything and everything, and then setting up a regular lunch schedule is a connection that I've really enjoyed in the past.

Josh said...

I'd like to think that if this whole thing was only about sex with a man that it would be a lot easier to deal with. We are designed to be able to overcome our more physical desires, but are we made to be able to overcome our desire for companionship? Most of the time all I want is someone that I can be close to.

J G-W said...

Gay pornography bears about as much resemblance to what actually goes on in a same-sex relationship as straight pornography bears to what actually goes on in a opposite-sex relationship. In other words, almost NONE. Don't use gay pornography as a guide for what gay relationships are about. My relationship with my partner is 99% just being present for each other, friendship, holding hands and cuddling, and so on...

I think I can say from experience that the longing for a multi-faceted connection -- a connection that is physical, emotional and spiritual -- is a consequence of being human, not of being a Mormon.

The only difference between being gay and straight is in whom you find those longings most adequately fulfilled.

Beck said...

Maybe I'm fooling myself because I really don't know what I'm talking about, but for me, I need a touch-buddy, or a deeply intimate male friend in my life. But, I'm not interested in sex. I desire companionship, friendship, and touch. I've experienced these things sparingly, but enough throughout my life to know they can be had without sex added to it.

As wrong as some may feel this to be (be it on the marriage side where guys like me shouldn't seek anything outside the home / or be it from the other side where gay sex is the ultimate expression of love I shouldn't be limiting myself from) - I still seek after these things!

Forester, I know, at least with me, you are not alone in your thoughts here...

J G-W said...

I give and receive hugs often from men and women, gay and straight. I have close friends of both genders and orientations who kiss me on the cheek or even on the lips, who hold hands, rest their arms around my shoulders. I don't get a sexual charge out of any of this interaction, but it always feels good, warm, and affirming.

That's just a part of being human. I would, however, feel uncomfortable with any physical interaction with anybody apart from my partner that began to feel erotically charged. It's pretty easy for me to tell the difference.

For me there's just much less potential for the touching to cross over into that area when I am with a woman. (OK, zero potential with a woman. I'm pretty much a "6" on the Kinsey scale.) But just because the potential is there with a man, doesn't mean it has to. A lot depends on the intentions of those who are interacting.

iwonder said...

I'm not so sure, I really think that it totally depends on the person.

We're not really gay to the same degree, or at least our focus is maintained by some very powerful guiding principles based on person testimony. This fundamentally changes our gayness. Maybe we're not really gay, according to the definition set by the world. All we really want is to be close. As far as male attraction is concerned, I'm as attracted to men as the next gay guy.

I've honestly never felt this way. Yes I have a testimony, but I feel just as gay as any gay guy you might point out on the street in San Francisco. That doesn't mean that I wear dresses or am or ever would be promiscuous, but that I don't just want to hug or even kiss guys (or just one guy, preferably). My desires are to really be with a guy in a real intimate (not just sexual) relationship. Perhaps the difference is because you are married and I am not; I don't know.

Forester said...

I guess what I'm trying to say is that I don't think it is wrong to have a close male friendship where non-sexual contact plays a role. If both men are gay, then yes,the slope could get very slippery. Clear boundaries would need to be set. However, if one is straight, it makes it much easier and perhaps more acceptable.

A connection to another idea that fits closely with this idea is that of sexual attraction being minimized as you come to know and respect the other individual. I have a very close friend with whom I was wildly attracted, but now that our friendship has become more solidified, my sexual attraction for him has diminished.

I really think it is possible to have a close (and somewhat physical) relationship without sex and that according to gospel principles it wouldn't be wrong, as long as your intentions are not based on sex. Love is not wrong.

Beck said...

Amen, Brother!

GeckoMan said...

True love is never wrong. So what is "true?" I am enjoying a unique friendship with a man here in Arizona. He is the same age as I, he is warm and affectionate and readily gives me hugs and tells me he loves me. We can and do talk about anything, including my SSA, and he about his sessions with a counselor. We both have wives that struggle with emotional issues and depression. We have laughed and cried together. And I don't have to worry ever about where his boundaries are; he is my Bishop. This has never happened to me before, to have a friend, peer and priesthood leader all in one great man. It is a great blessinig to me.

In sharing this I've tried to set the stage for what has been "true" or "within the bounds the Lord has set" for me. I'm not against expressing or receiving physical touch; I thrive on it too. Touch is a wonderful communication that should be a natural extension of what we feel for another as we build trust in the friendship. However, touch must not be fantasized or manipulated for unmet need; if you're not really sure where your head or pants are at, better to keep your distance and be careful not to do an adolescent touch-buddy thing that may lead to regret.

I don't want to be negative, but speaking from my years of trial and experience with this, you will be lucky to find a brother to whom you can get physically and emotionally close to, "within the bounds the Lord has set." It's just rare, or at least it has been so for me. Most guys don't take the time for meaningful male friendships, especially in the church. They're usually too busy making a buck, doing their callings, or keeping the home fires burning. If you do sports with friends, then that is a bonus, because that is something I could never do. And we don't have the bar scene to juice up moments of comradery and relating stories to each other. We just have to be ourselves, invite others to join a conversation, and make it somehow work into the demands of a busy lifestyle. But we can do it; it just take patience and genuine love for others. Forester, I wish you all the best.

gentlefriend said...

I am always amazed at the profound, open, caring insights I find in these blogs. My experience is consistant with Geckoman's comments. For me it would be a slippery slope. I fully resonate with the emptiness you feel Forester, but I would have trouble separating the physical from the sexual. Then again, as a bishop I hugged most of the men and many of the women I counseled. In my most recent calling as bishop I was over a young adult ward and I seldom visited individually with less than 20 people per week. I got a lot of hugs. At times I held hands as people wept. There are clear boundaries in priesthood relationships I would never violate. I let people know I loved them and I have not led a perfect life and that I was familiar with guilt and repentance and could understand their pain, but I was never specific about myself because I wasn't there to satisfy my needs but to help them with theirs. It was a privilege to experience the Spirit of the Lord blessing people through me. But I did and do desire a relationship that focused on my needs as well as the other person's. My wife is wonderful in listening and responding but there still is a hunger for male intimacy. Intellectually I can separate the emotional from the sensual from the sexual but in the real experience I am not sure that I could. I am not saying that you couldn't. But like Iwonder said, for me there would be a sexual component. Frankly, I am horney every day of my life and I am not sure that once I began touching beyond a hug that I could separate love from lust, caressing from groping, sensual from sexual, etc. I have counseled too many couples who never intended to cross the boundaries and in a moment of passion surrendered to it. I feel constrained to follow the advice I gave them and keep myself far away from the cliff.

Since July 15, 2007