Wednesday, July 09, 2008

DON'T READ THIS POST IF YOU ARE OFFENDED BY SEXUALLY SUGGESTIVE LANGUAGE, INCLUDING THAT OF A GAY NATURE.

This is a hard post for me, but I need to talk about it, if not to help me understand what I did, then to at least seek some sort of absolvent. I'll start by just saying what I did, without any emotion or explanation, other than what was felt during my actions. I can always try and analyze everything later. I've wondered before if other gay men thought I was attractive, and even more, if they would want to have sex with me, strictly based on my looks. So, having time to myself this week, I took some photos of myself. They started innocent enough. I chose a great outfit that emphasized my physique, set the lighting, set-up the camera, set the timer, and began taking pictures.

The first set looked pretty good, but I thought that maybe I could unbutton my shirt to show off the tan I have been working on. These photos turned out pretty good as well. However, since I was by myself, I thought it wouldn't hurt to take my shirt off for a couple of photos. Then, I thought, why not unbutton my jeans a little. Then, I had a great idea to use a wet, white shirt - make it a little more sexy. Besides, I didn't have to show these photos to anyone if I didn't want to. I was just having some fun. The wet shirt looked great - I'd never worn totally wet clothes, let alone a white shirt with no undershirt. These photos suprised me a little because they looked so good. Incredibly sexy. I started thinking hey, I could be a model. This was getting real fun.

Then, you probably guessed it, why not try some nude photos. First, I used a towel to cover myself a little. I tried holding the towel in front of me, just enough to cover the real private parts. Wow, these photos looked incredible. They looked nothing like the Forester I and everyone else knows. I had no idea I could look so hot. So, I'm sure you know what comes next - I lost the towel all together. Yep, full frontal. I tried a lot of poses. I was so suprised that I even knew how to pose. What was I doing? This couldn't be good. But I became so involved in the lighting, the poses, like I was photographing someone else. In some ways, it was very artistic.

I ended up with a lot of incredible photos. Now what to do with them. Having been in gay chat rooms before (a long time ago), I thought that this would be a good venue. I wouldn't find anyone on there that I really knew - and if I did, they were probably there for the same reasons. My intent was not to look for a hook-up or to have internet sex, but to just find out if anyone thought I was hot. I downloaded a few of the better photos. At first, I only posted the clothed photos and some of the shirtless ones and waited to see if I got any comments. First it was a slow trickle of "Hi" and "How are you?" responses, then I got some more. This was going pretty good. I kept my conversations simple and out of harms way - no talk of sex. I would ask what they thought of the photos - actually, I found that many would comment on the photos right off "Great photos", "Nice face", "hot chest". This was great. I was getting a lot of guys telling me how great I looked. They were good compliments, nothing overly raunchy, just very flattering. So, I upped the anty. My heart was racing. I was getting caught up in the moment. I posted a few of the wet shirt and towel photos. However, you had to open my profile in order to see these photos. To my amazement (really, I was quite amazed), I started getting so many hits for private chat requests that I couldn't respond to all of them. By now my ego was getting the best of me - so why not post the full nude photos. It was scary, yet so exciting. However, it was getting out of hand. I was getting requests for sex. "Why not come over tonight for a drink" "we can just talk" or "we don't have to do anything if you don't want to, but you're so hot".

Then, something kicked me (or so it felt like). I was alone, but I realized what I was doing. I quickly pulled the plug on the internet connection (I have wireless, so I had to get up and walk into the other room). Still alone - family out of town. I couldn't believe what I had done, but needless to say, I was quite aroused by it all. Masturbation followed, but at least I was off the internet. I didn't even look at any porn (I'm usually pretty good about that, most of the porn offends me). Of course, I was the porn for others. I think being the porn is worse than looking at porn - but at the time, it didn't seem as bad.

I erased all of the photos on the camera and on my computer (I just realized I didn't delete the photos on the chat room profile, I better go do that - or maybe I should stay away all together - but I need to delete them).

35 comments:

robert said...

I think it sounds like fun and you probably are hot! Don't use your humanity as a stick to beat up yourself...now, That is wrong.

Abelard Enigma said...

I'm really not sure what to say. You screwed up! You were not only walking on the precipice, but you were starting to teeter. But, I'm certainly no angel myself and not in a position to judge.

On one hand I'm jealous that you have a body to even consider taking self portraits of. Shirtless pictures of me would best be used to post near a smörgåsbord so that people will lose their appetite. But next time you feel such a desire, keep your garments on - they are a good reminder of what parts of your body should remain hidden from the camera.

Silus Grok said...

"It all started innocently enough… "

Some of the saddest words I know. And, like Abelard, I know them too well. And so I also know the guilt associated with them. Let the guilt work in you… but don't let it fester.

You're a handsome man… a very handsome man. It's a shame that being healthy isn't enough… or, apparently, handsome isn't enough… we all want to be "sexy". We want to be objects of desire. But to achieve that, we must first be objects. Which is certainly less than being a child — of a mother on earth, much less a Father in Heaven.

Here's hoping that this is an abberation … you're better than this. You're loved by more people than you know, and we're rooting for you.

Beck said...

Like minds are dangerous. Maybe it was good we weren't in Vegas together. Funny... I did a similar thing in a hotel room this week, a bit more tame, but still trying to explore the edge... Cliff jumping is a dangerous sport.

From your previous post, it's obvious you've been planning on something close to the edge as soon as you knew your wife and kids were going to be gone. You wanted to know. You needed to know. And now you KNOW!

So what did you learn? That you're hot? That you're wanted as a sex object? What about knowing that you're loved? Why isn't that good enough for both of us? Why do we want to know what it feels like and to be desired? Why are wife and family and gospel-centered values not enough? Why is there an immediate longing for something more edgy as soon as wife and kids go away?

I have no answers but I totally understand where you are coming from!

We really need to talk...

robert said...

Silus Grok said:

"Here's hoping that this is an abberation (sic)… you're better than this"

Is being gay an aberration? Is an expression of sexuality an aberration if it does not lead to procreation?

playasinmar said...

HA! It is too bad Beck didn't come over and hang out with you!

You two would be so fun together! :D

Silus Grok said...

Robert… holster your sword; you're imagining dragons that aren't there. Reread my comment. The "this" I'm referring to is Forester's experimentation with camboydom.

Beck said...

Playa: Why don't you make the arrangements and we'll be there and you can film us both! :)

Zachary said...

This is the perfect example of smaller things leading to bigger things. We always think we're stronger than we are.

I've been there many times. It's interesting how I feel so strong and start with something so innocent... then it spirals into something we regret later. The same exact thing happened a few weeks ago actually when my wife was out of town.

In our search for acceptance and in the name of "experimentation" we end up in a place we shouldn't be. But then that poses the question, what is the safe distance? I mean, obviously avoiding chat rooms is a start, but what about posts like this? I mean, it helps a lot to be able to reach out for support from other people, but I was getting turned on reading this and wanted to see these pictures.... and while forester was nice enough to disclaim the post, after reading the disclaimer, I myself thought "well, it can't be too bad. I can handle it." Granted I was did handle it, but maybe next time I won't be so strong. In a world that throws homosexuality into the mainstream. How close is to close for someone trying to curb those desires?

J G-W said...

I had a dream once in which I was looking at myself naked in a broken mirror. Because the mirror was broken, different parts of myself were in different places. My face was in one fragment, my chest in another, my torso in another, my privates in another...

This dream reminded me that we have different selves we are trying to integrate into a whole person. It seems to me like taking pictures of yourself in that way -- through a lens that emphasized your attractiveness -- was just an attempt to come to terms with yourself as a sexual being, trying to figure out where your sexual self fits in the grand scheme of who Forester is.

You flipped the switch and shut the whole operation down once it got to the point where there was a potential for sex. To me that tells me you were not looking for sex, but rather just validation by somebody else of your sexual self. I can TOTALLY relate to that. Looking for that kind of validation was an important (and painful) part of my own coming to terms with myself as a gay man.

I'm not sure if what you did was right or wrong. You stopped it before it went too far... But do please be gentle with yourself. There's a difference between the existential angst that comes with coming to terms with your gayness, and real guilt for wrong-doing... Important not to get the two confused. Do you know what I mean?

Forester said...

I don't think I'm beating myself up about doing what I did, but when I do think of it, I want to smack myself. What was I thinking? Beck, I've been asking myself these same exact questions. Why isn't love for and from my wife and family enough? But the even greater question is why am I such an idiot? I told a friend of mine what I did and he knew exactly why I did it - I wanted to be wanted sexually by other men. He's straight but feels the same way with women. He cheated on his wife and ended up divorcing. I think what it comes down to is that men are idiots when it comes to sex. All sane judgement goes out the window.

I wasn't contemplating anything like this while my wife and kids were away. I knew I would have some freedom, I just thought that I would head down to the strip. Unfortuneately this isn't just an abberation. It seems that when I am without wife and kids, whether at home or traveling for work, I do thinks I always regret. If you look at some of my past posts over the years, you will see some other frantic confessions. It really is scarey.

Robert, having gay feelings is not wrong in and of itself, but as I've said before, I've made commitments that I want to keep. So anything that could lead to cheating on my wife - whether gay or straight - is wrong.

JG-W, yes, I was seeking sexual validation and I think your theory of parts is correct, as long as we realize that it's not any one of the parts that define us but instead all of the parts together. I do like the shattered mirror analogy.

I thought twice about posting this experience - as I have with other experiences that really don't serve to uplift or help others, but I guess I want my blogs to be real, not just one side of the story. For as much preaching as I may do, I also want to show that I too am human.

J G-W said...

Yes, the point I was driving at is that, of course, we are trying to integrate all those different parts and aspects of ourselves into a whole human being.

It makes me think of that old American male saying, "It has a mind of its own..." The goal is to have one mind, in which all those aspects of ourselves talk to one another and cooperate harmoniously -- our spiritual selves, our social selves, our sexual selves...

But I guess my point is, we sometimes do weird shit that doesn't seem to make sense in a straightforward way... To me, taking pictures of one's self (or in Beck's case, looking at pictures of other guys) is a way to try to "image" oneself...

I don't know... Maybe understanding that can help you to move on, or at least to work on that part of yourself that is demanding attention in these odd and distressing ways...

Beck said...

JGW: How can we "move on" from these "odd and distressing ways"? I don't get it. I don't know that Forester does. I mean, we want to be validated. We want to be accepted and loved in ways that aren't found in our marriages, and yet we are committed to those marriages and loved ones and that "odd" juxtaposition of our broken disshelved pieces of ourselves aren't put together.

I don't know how to get past this point. I feel like I will always be broken, and a piece of me will always be over there and I'll go over there every chance I get when I'm alone... I don't know how exploring or ignoring these "odd and distressing ways" will help me (us) to move on.

J G-W said...

Beck, I can't answer those questions for anyone... Note that I prefaced my remarks with "I don't know" and "maybe." All I can do is offer my own limited insights, based on my own limited experience...

It sounds like what you're saying is that it is impossible for a gay man in a heterosexual marriage to achieve integrity (wholeness; integration of spirit, mind, heart, body, sexuality).

For your sake, I don't want to believe that...

robert said...

"It sounds like what you're saying is that it is impossible for a gay man in a heterosexual marriage to achieve integrity (wholeness; integration of spirit, mind, heart, body, sexuality)."

I think that this is the crux of the issue. coming from the position of an openly gay man, it seems that you guys are attempting something which is not possible. It is well documented that people will espouse one belief and do another action which is not a part of that belief because basically people "act" according to their needs. Its really very simple to me.

Not intending to be overly academic, Argyris' concept of Action Science begins with the study of how human beings design their actions in difficult situations. Human actions are designed to achieve intended consequences and governed by a set of environmental variables. How those governing variables are treated in designing actions are the key differences between single loop learning and double loop learning. When actions are designed to achieve the intended consequences and to "suppress conflict about the governing variables", a single loop learning cycle usually ensues (doctrine). On the other hand, when actions are taken, not only to achieve the intended consequences, but also to openly inquire about conflict and to possibly transform the governing variables, both single loop and double loop learning cycles usually ensue (life).

You say you are not beating up on yourselves, but what you are doing is perhaps worse...if one calls it out as "living a lie". As harsh as that may sound, could it not be the truth? But more importantly, WHY would someone want to live like this. Its so 18th century.

Abelard Enigma said...

WHY would someone want to live like this. Its so 18th century.

Robert, if it were just about me then I'm inclined to agree with much of what you say.

The problem for us married gay men is that it's not just about us. Any decisions we make in this regard will have serious ramifications for our wives, children, and even (to a lesser extent) our extended family and friends.

Should we have gotten married in the first place is academic - the fact is that we are married. A teenage girl might decide to have sex, get pregnant as a result, and then has to live with the consequences of her decision. Right or wrong, we too made a decision - to get married, children have resulted from that union, and now we have to live with the consequences of our decision.

It's no secret that most mixed orientation marriages end in divorce. I don't judge those who have gone this route; although, I seriously doubt that having a gay spouse was the sole factor causing their divorce.

But, for some of us, our marriage and family life is generally happy. To leave these marriages to pursue a gay relationship might bring us some happiness, but at what cost in terms of the impact it would have on our families?

So, for some of us, it's not a question on "IF" we should stay in our marriage, it's a question of "HOW". Against such compelling odds, how can we make it work?

We're just doing the best we can with the hand we've been dealt - and sometimes we stumble ...

Silus Grok said...

Nicely said, Abelard.

santorio said...

there is a direct link between behavior that I later regret and frustration with my family or professional life. a bad day at work, a miscommunication with my wife--that's what sets me up for walks on the wild side. "bad day" means non-achieving. when i get things done, i'm okay it's the doldrums that get to me.

MoHoHawaii said...

I have to say that I'm in complete agreement with Abelard's comment above.

Divorce is more of an option for younger people who have been in their mixed-orientation marriage a relatively few number of years. Both parties are young enough to rebuild their lives, hopefully with more suitable partners.

The disruption for other couples (typically in midlife but sometimes younger as well) can be so great that accommodation is the best approach. This is the situation that Abelard describes.

In any case, once a couple is married, all advice from the outside has to cease. At that point the couple's destiny is a private matter between the people involved.

I want to go on record (even though I took a different path) of supporting those in mixed-orientation marriages who want to figure out how to find accommodation within their marriage. This is absolutely the best path for some couples.

robert said...

"The problem for us married gay men is that it's not just about us. Any decisions we make in this regard will have serious ramifications for our wives, children, and even (to a lesser extent) our extended family and friends."

I agree that it would take enormous courage to admit your condition is making you deeply unhappy and is unfair to those you love. However, when one replaces a moral code with "what is so", it seems deeply flawed. Is it not your own trust in a higher power which lights the road to revealing your own personal truth? Is it truly right to keep those you love at some distance from knowing who you really are? How can one hope to have a life which approaches authenticity under such circumstances. How will a child develop his or her own character knowing less than the truth about a parent?
I am not suggesting that you guys have chosen an easy path, but perhaps you have made the path too easy for yourselves by not revealing your own truth and accepting its operation in your life. Which is the more "serious ramification": the truth or a discovered lie. And if one believes that the truth will never come out...how dare he?

J G-W said...

Robert - I'm not sure how you figure these guys are making it "too easy" for themselves. You can say a lot of things about the roads they've chosen, but not that.

I feel bad that the way I stated things earlier might have suggested a lack of "integrity" in these paths... Forester, Beck, Abe and others have committed themselves to a path of love, honor and fidelity at a huge personal price. There's no greater integrity than that.

All I was trying to suggest was that some of the impulses and struggles they share on line are about trying to integrate certain aspects of themselves into the life of love and commitment they've chosen. Those of us who have chosen different paths struggle too -- they're just different struggles because the paths are different.

Deep down inside I hope -- I believe -- that the paths are leading to some common center, someplace where we all meet. I know sometimes it seems impossible to fit all the pieces together, but I believe it must be possible.

robert said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
A CROW'S VIEW said...

What I'm impressed with is the honesty of which you wrote about this. Have you shared this with your Bishop or wife? I think that the fact that you were brutally honest about what you did shows something.

Its funny how one thing can lead to another, then another and then disaster. I think this is a good lesson to keep in mind. I think that there are a few things to keep in mind here.

I have some friends who chat on gay sites because they claim that it helps provide them with "balance" and with "people who share the same point of view." Some of these guys are married, some are RM's. All of them are "struggling" but "trying." What none of them will admit that almost every time they have "fallen" its been the result of chatting in those groups. A few have admitted that even having an account with the site is problematic. Lets face it people go to those sites because they are gay and they are looking for other gay men.

As for you, well your lucky. If I was to post similar pics of myself I'm sure that after seeing my pics there would be a lot less gay people out there. People would be asking me to please keep my clothes on. LOL!

I think the fact that you know what you did was wrong proves more then most guys who would find ways to justify it or to make excuses. I think that while you may have taken a detour, you are on the right path.

I don't think less of you and I still think you are an awesome example to me. I hope we can get to be better friends.

Okay so maybe this post doesn't "uplift" or provide much in the way of the spiritual. But it dose show that you are human and that you are dealing with things the best you can. That you are trying. That in itself makes you heroic.

And yeah there is a part of me that wishes that I was attractive to those I find attractive. I think there is that in all of us. I think that is normal. But I'll be honest with you, I find the things that aren't physical about you much more attractive. Those things are okay for other men to find attractive because those are things we also see in our Savior.

Don't give up okay. If you need a friend e-mail me and don't worry we all have to stumble sometimes to see how far we have climbed or to help us get into the position to pray. Your a good husband and father. Don't ever forget that.

Forester said...

I don't think that I'm attempting something that is impossible. I believe all things are possible. I believe we can transcend this mortal existence and become something way better than we could ever had imagined. However, I do realize the realities of the situation I am in. Even though I believe it's possible to live a happy straight life while being gay, I don't expect it to happen just because I believe it can.

Did I say that I was unhappy in my post because I'm gay and can't live a gay life? I don't think I have ever said that in any of my posts. I am actually very happy with the life I have chosen, so much so that I would choose the same path again if I could start over - even knowing the stress it would cause in my life. My wife and children mean more to me than my own needs. In my current situation, 99%of my needs and wants are met.

I hope that what I have conveyed over the past few years is that there is more than one possibility for gay men - especially gay men in the church. I know my situation isn't perfect, but I don't know of any that are perfect. What makes me unhappy or angry is when I do stupid things that threaten this incredible life that I have built. The fear I have is losing my wife and children. I don't feel guilty about being gay, but I do feel guilty when I do things that could hurt me and those I love.

robert said...

I will ask this question again in the hope that you who are gay and married to women will answer it. I get that Mormonism does not accept gay marriage...I also get that you are happy with the choices you have made. I do not, however get this:
"Is it not your own trust in a higher power which lights the road to revealing your own personal truth? Is it truly right to keep those you love at some distance from knowing who you really are? How can one hope to have a life which approaches authenticity under such circumstances. How will a child develop his or her own character knowing less than the truth about a parent?"
"I am not suggesting that you guys have chosen an easy path, but perhaps you have made the path too easy for yourselves by not revealing your own truth and accepting its operation in your life.(stopped short of revealing your identity) Which is the more "serious ramification": the truth or a discovered lie. And if one believes that the truth will never come out...how dare he?"

I have the impression that unless a Mormon gets married and bears children in his/her own likeness then he/she somehow does not "measure up" in the eyes of God.If this is not the case, then what difference does it make if one is gay?

Abelard Enigma said...

Is it truly right to keep those you love at some distance from knowing who you really are?

I don't understand the question. My wife knows that I am gay. My children do not know, but what would the point in telling them? I mean, thinking of your parents as sexual beings is just kind of gross. Am I really any less of a father because I haven't told my children that I like guys?

How can one hope to have a life which approaches authenticity under such circumstances.

I hear the authenticity argument a lot - but what does it really mean? When I was in denial about my sexuality then I can accept that I wasn't being authentic with myself. But, now that I accept that I am, in fact, a homosexual - am I really any less authentic because I choose to not broadcast that information?

You say I am making my path too easy by not revealing my own truth - but what is there to be gained by revealing my truth to others when it really isn't any of their business?

I agree that I am choosing the easier path by not revealing more about myself to others. But, why choose a more difficult path when there is nothing to be gained by doing so? Why make my life harder on me and my family unnecessarily?

As long as we're playing armchair psychologist, it seems to me, by your comments, that you feel threatened by people like us. Perhaps encountering people who do not fully embrace their homosexuality as you have done produces doubts in your own mind.

I'm not trying to start an argument - just consider that, perhaps, your comments say as much about you as it does about us.

robert said...

What you could and will deduct from my comments, I cannot control. What I can control is my own experience. My father chose your path and stayed in the marriage...he never revealed his homosexuality to me...although he did reveal it to my mother. I was appalled to learn of this after he committed suicide in 1986. I came out fully in 1972 in a conservative southern Baptist town in Texas. He did not accept it...he was certain that I would "burn in hell". I was not amused. I left my family of origin around this time and rarely visited. My partner of many years died of AIDS in 1992. Following this, my mother revealed the truth about my father and did the best to make amends by becoming an AIDS hospice worker which she continued to do into her 80's. It took two deaths to finally get to the truth. She lived without having an 'authentic" relationship with me for many years. If I appear to be on a soapbox about this, it is with reason. If I challenge your thinking on the subject, so be it. I am an elder and that is my role at this stage of life.

You said: "I hear the authenticity argument a lot - but what does it really mean?"

I widely agree that a set of Criteria for Authenticity is drastically needed across our sacred traditions so that we can all share basic ultimate values and have an underlying common ground from which we operate in our differing spiritual and/or religious lives. Such a set of criteria could be a crucial touchstone for whether claims made in the name of God and religion are valid or not. Such criteria could also serve as a non-rigid yet very appealing standard by which we aspire to live our lives.

You said: "Am I really any less of a father because I haven't told my children that I like guys?"

That's a pretty reductionist response. You refer to your sexual orientation as if it were a thing that is simply attached to you. For me, being gay is part of my spiritual identity. I am a two-gendered spiritual being who embodies both feminine and masculine qualities. Have you not noticed the ways in which you are "gay" that are non-sexual, perhaps, even spiritual?

While you may think that children don't want to think of their parents as sexual beings, that is really not the point. Children want parents who are honest. At least, this child does. Just ask them.
As to what will be gained...perhaps, adults who are free from homophobia, open-minded and honest about their feelings...not afraid to be who they are and not fearful of those who are different from themselves. Sorry, there is no bag of donuts for the effort. Only a better future.

playasinmar said...

"Did I say that I was unhappy in my post because I'm gay and can't live a gay life? I don't think I have ever said that in any of my posts."

Geez, Forester. You say that in every post.

Forester said...

I agree that I should tell my wife. It's not a matter of if, but when. All I know is that right now is not the right time. As for telling my children, they are still too young, but someday, at the right moment, I may tell them. If my son revealed to me that he was gay, or if he asked me, I would tell him that I am attracted to men. If he wanted to follow a gay lifestyle, I would be supportive and would never tell or or believe myself that he would go to hell. I think that Abelard is right when he says that revealing the truth for truth's sake alone is not reason enough.

Robert, I think part of the difference in our thinking is that I don't place as much self-identity with being gay as you do. I am attracted to other men, but beyond that, I don't identify in other ways. There are traits that many would consider to be "gay" traits, such as dressing nicely, not being interested in sports, good at interior design, etc. However, I think it's a fallacy that gay men hold the market on these traits. I have a very close straight friend who has many of these traits. I'm not sure why our American culture places us into the gay box if we have these traits. This thinking is not universal.

Getting back to authenticity, I don't feel like my straight life is a lie. It's as much a part of who I am as is my attraction to men. I love every aspect of my straight life. But this is an oversimplification. I think it's correct that I tend to draw a line in the sand and separate my gay self from my straight self, when in reality they are meshed together. They both make up who I am. As much as I, at times, would like to be able to cut out the gay part of me as if discarding an unwanted limb, that's not how it works. I had a therapist try and rid me of my gay self (and he wasn't Mormon) by imagining myself swimming in the water, allowing the water to penetrate through me and wash away my gayness. He said I could choose anything like wind, water or fire to accomplish this. I stopped seeing him shortly after.

Robert, I don't know if this answers your questions. I appreciate your remarks and insight. You seem to be an incredible human being and I feel honored to have you post on my blog.

Forester said...

Playa, your're right. Every post does sound like I'm unhappy that I can't live a gay life. I guess I would like to have sex with another man, fall in love with another man, etc. But I would eventually want to come back to the life I have now. If I could experience everything about being gay without any consequences, I would do it. I think my posts are pretty clear on what I have wanted and are perhaps too one-sided about wanting to be gay. I'll try and be more even and try to reflect the realities of my life - not just the frantic rants of a sexually supressed gay Mormon.

robert said...

Forester,
I want to thank you for honestly responding to my inquiry without reverting to a moral doctrine which limits understanding. I really appreciate the difficulty in stepping out of oneself in order to engage in meaningful dialogue.
I want to make one last comment (if that is even possible) related to the attributes you mentioned as "gay"...things such as "being good at interior design" and "not liking sports" (I happen to like sports!) But more than that my experience tells me that there are some important spiritual attributes in being gay.

Christian de la Huerta, founder of Q-Spirit in San Francisco, has a very extensive website at Revolutionary Wisdom with his partner, Markus Thorndike. Christian is author of "Coming Out Spiritually: the next step".

He identifies ten roles that gay people play, and have played, in human culture. He calls these “spiritual functions.” I am posting these in the hope that, perhaps, someone reading your blog might find them useful for self reflection. Here are the ten categories along with de la Huerta’s descriptions

1) Catalytic Transformers: Queer people often function as catalysts, acting as agents of change, helping to bring about reform, inciting social movements, and supporting the advancement of humanity.

2) Outsiders: As outsiders, queer people help society to more accurately perceive itself. We reflect diversity and help society determine its limits and boundaries.

3) Consciousness Scouts: One of the traditional roles we have played throughout history has been discovering new paths, searching out new answers, being “consciousness scouts”--those who go first to see what lies ahead.

4) Sacred Clowns and Eternal Youth: Queer people seem to embody a spirit of humor and youthfulness, qualities that often bring entertainment, sustenance, and a refreshing sense of joy to the world.

5) Keepers of Beauty: Throughout history, queer people have been responsible for creating, promoting, and supporting much of the world’s art and beauty, and have done so disproportionately to our numbers.

6) Caregivers: Gay people have fulfilled the function of healers, teachers, and caregivers of all types--from physicians to massage therapists, from counselors to flight attendants, and in all forms of the service industry.

7) Mediators: Gay people have often served as mediators or “go-betweens,” particularly between the genders as well as between the physical and spiritual realms.

8) Shamans and Priests: Throughout history, and across many cultures, queer people often have assumed roles of spiritual leadership, and have been honored, respected, and revered for doing so.

9) The Divine Androgyne: The sacred writings of several spiritual traditions include references to the concept of “holy androgyny”--the marriage within each person of both female and male aspects of the psyche, which could have evolutionary significance.

10) Gatekeepers: According to some traditions, gay people have a “higher vibrational level” and are uniquely suited for the role of “gatekeepers,” or “guardians of the gateways, with the spiritual world.”

Crisco said...

After reading all the comments to this post, I’m not sure what I have to offer. However, your actions did give me an insight into my own behavior. It made me think of several instances where I went out of my way to get a comment about how I looked from a male friend. I need an affirmation of my physical sense of self from other men. My wife complements me from time to time on how I look, and yet I don’t believe her on some level when she says I look good. The only experience I can think of why this is so is because of the lack of any complements from girls growing up and the negative comments about how I looked from other guys in the locker room.
I can understand why you posted those pictures. I think that partly it is inherent in each person to want affirmation and also we live in a society that emphasizes excessively one’s physical image.
Having a friend to tell this experience to must be nice. I have not yet gained the confidence or trusted anyone sufficiently to share this aspect of my personality. Like you, I hope one day to find the right time to share with my wife.
I had a stake president who repeatedly spoke on how the best way to measure our commitment to the gospel. He asked us to evaluate our actions and thoughts when no one is around, watching or judging. I’ve goofed when I’m alone—many times. I guess it’s the hope of all of married men with homosexual attractions to take the best of what makes us gay and live a committed life to our wife and kids without hurting our families by our poor choices. Anyway, good luck the next time you find yourself alone.

playasinmar said...

Heh. Your name is Crisco.

bravone said...

Forester,

I came across your blog the other day and have read all your entries. My heart goes out to you because we live similar lives. A brief background before I comment on your situation. I was raised LDS, served a mission to Italy. married a wonderful, beautiful woman, have four children that I love and are really good kids, served as a bishop, struggled all my life with SSA, battled depression, am recovering alcoholic, had problems with pornography, studied LDS history and anti-Mormon literature, lost my testimony, been with another man once, been disfellowshiped, and am trying to find my way in life. I am still with my loving wife and family. The church is ready to welcome be back into fellowship when I feel I am ready. I am not ready. Right now I could answer questions about Word of Wisdom, morality, and tithing just fine, but I am not sure about my feelings about God and his Son. I don’t think the church is the only true church. I want to come back for my family’s sake, but must feel it myself and do it honestly.

I worry for you. If your goal is to stay with your family, you cannot allow yourself to flirt with the line between same sex attraction and same sex action. From personal experience, you will eventually succumb. The feelings are too strong to resist when you get too close. When I “lost” my testimony, it was easier to drink, go to bars, gay clubs when out of town, and eventually hook up with someone. You wonder if one experience would satisfy your curiosity. I think you would find it wonderful and harder to then avoid. I ache to be with another man again, but I also ache to keep my family together. I do love my wife and would be very incomplete without her.

If you truly want to stay together, the best thing you can do is to do all in your power to strengthen your faith and obedience. When I have been most successful suppressing my SSA is when I truly lived and believed the gospel. It is much harder now. Sometimes I think our own personal needs need to take second place to those whom we love. I will struggle all my life, but I think it would be worse without my family. I wish you the best.

robert said...

Braveone said:
" When I “lost” my testimony, it was easier to drink, go to bars, gay clubs when out of town, and eventually hook up with someone."

I think it is important to others to know that not all gay identified individuals follow such a pattern. It is repression which creates such a paradigm. Particularly now, young gay persons do not need to experience a perceived "descent" into their orientation. It can be a healthy acknowledgment for many and does not require drinking, clubbing and the like. As to "losing" one's testimony to accept one's gay orientation, I am unqualified to comment.

Since July 15, 2007