Monday, September 21, 2009

I went to a new doctor a few days ago for an exam. What is it about proximity and attraction? Part of the exam required that he lean close to me without touching me too much. Although he wasn't necessarily attractive, I found myself enjoying the closeness of the moment - and not necessarily in a sexual way. I don't know if he could feel it, but I could feel an energy between us, something that left me wanting to be close like that again. It seemed to me that he too was trying to be a little closer, within the bounds of keeping the exam professional and not wanting to make me feel uncomfortable in any way. Yes, he was examining me, but I have also felt this proximity thing on a number of occasions with other men in even less provocative situations. While at work last week, a male coworker, who I again don't really find attractive, leaned over my computer to show me something, leaving his bare upper arm (short-sleeved shirt), just above the elbow, directly in front of my face, within a couple of inches. Again there was this amazing energy that just seemed to melt me. I could have easily leaned in and kissed his bicep.

Without making this post too arousing, I'm trying to explain a phenomenon I have rarely experienced with women. There seems to be an invisible line, that once crossed, creates this incredible energy. For me, it seems to be somewhere between six to twelve inches. Once another body comes within or under this range, something ignites, even if I'm not that attracted to the person, and I don't mean this in just a sexual way, it's different, although it could lead to greater sexual arousal. It's almost like I'm starving for some sort of physical male contact or at least proximity. Typically, I like my space and don't like it when someone takes the seat directly next to me in a meeting or at a movie and I become very uncomfortable. But once in a while, the proximity "thing", for lack of a better word, produces an energy that is quite incredible.


Abelard Enigma said...

I know exactly what you're talking about - but I guess I never thought about it like this. It's like we have some sort of built-in proximity detector. I wonder if it's like this for heterosexual men and proximity to women?

Anonymous said...

i think we have all felt it; for better or worse it is what being gay is all about, nothing to do with sports, fashion, or limp wrists and everything to do with pure physical attraction.

Alan said...

I concur with my observant brethren just above, and have noticed the very same thing. It's a palpable energy aura that I can actually feel in such situations. Obviously, Forester, you are the same. It's a gift, enjoy it. I'd much rather be like this than completely oblivious and insensate!

Ned said...

Forester! I also relate strongly to this. I used to avoid sitting next to guys because the energy would overwhelm me. Now I welcome it. Several times when I've been on a plane and right next to a guy I've found attractive, I'll just let my elbow or my leg touch him. Sometimes he'll move away, but sometimes he won't. If it's really true that most men are somewhat bisexual, then perhaps they also feel something positive and wonderful. Or maybe it has nothing to do with sexuality. It's just that all of us, male and female, gay, straight or bi, need human touch. What do you think? Is it OK to purposely get into another man's space, in a plausibly deniable way, just to see what happens?

GeckoMan said...

Thanks for your honesty, recognition and sharing. I too have come to enjoy these encounters of the close kind, whereas I used to pull away. Not sure how we'll ever come to full expression of male touch, given our familial and religious commitments, but nonetheless they are real and comforting in their brief and random moments.

Alan said...

I forgot to tell this little story.

Recently on one of my innumerable business trips, I sat next to the window on a totally sold-out flight. The middle seat was taken by a late 20-something guy who was built like a forward rugby player. Needless to say, in the middle seat he didn't have much room to maneuver, and I was virtually pinned against the side wall of the plane as a result. He was nice and friendly but the plane was barely in the air before he nodded off to sleep.

Planes don't stock pillows anymore, so how did I spend most of that flight? With this dark-haired rugby player smashed up against my left side, his head practically on my shoulder as he slept. And me sitting absolutely motionless, feeling that aura, savoring the touch of this stranger who was obviously quite comfortable falling asleep almost on the shoulder of some random guy who was, fortunately, secure enough not to push away. The cabin staff must have thought I was an idiot with that grin on my face the entire flight.

There was nothing sexual or erotic about it. But it was like getting batteries re-charged. When I got off that flight I had more energy, more spring in my step, and the smile stayed for a very long time.

What could possibly be bad about that?

Clark said...

First of all, let me say I am glad to see an update. Yours is the first blog I officially "follow". What ever happened with the crush?

I have similar feelings about touch. I actually sometimes brush up against a guy I see in public, just so our arms graze each other for an instant in passing. It does give a certain feeling. Is it weird that I do that? Certainly there is no big deal with a simple brush?

Beck said...

Brush encounters! I love them... Maybe that is why I love Italy. Such encounters occur everywhere all day long.

In our culture, the opposite can occur from homophobic men. I remember having an intense and stressful conversation with a client once and I inadvertantly touched his forearm on the conference room table (if you didn't know - I like to touch people) and he jumped back from me like he was shocked and took offense that I would intrude into his personal space and actually touch his arm like that. I was shocked in return.

Meanwhile, rubbing a coworker's neck, or reaching over his shoulder to look at his computer screen, touching his strong biceps and having him not pull away - well, that's a different kind of shock! Pure electricity! :)

mandi said...

You're alive! How is your wife?

Forester said...

Alan, I love your story.
Ned, thanks for your positive spin.
Geckoman, you hit the nail on the head. We have to pull away because we are committed to do so, but we also need that proximity and touch to fulfill a need that is not sexual in nature and in the end helps us keep our commitments. The more touch depraved I am, the stronger the feelings. If we had some touch every day, there would be less need for crossing the line.

As for my crush, it has tapered a bit, but I still admire him from afar with little contact.

Mandi, as for my wife, she doesn't know any of this.

BigRedHammer said...

I haven't read this blog for awhile. So I'm sorry to intrude.

This proximity to men and feelings it creates are exactly that, electric. But it's been stated several times in the post and the replies, "that is not sexual in nature".

Wrong. It is very sexual in nature. That feeling is what straight men feel towards women. This is what gay men feel towards other men. It's what initiates sex. That is the first touch of sexuality.

It's built in. *That* is what sexual attraction is.

The author and some of the rest of you are in mixed-orientation marriages or celibate. You don't feel that "electric spark" with your wives or with women. There's a simple reason.

Obviously that feeling doesn't result in sex most of the time for the world. Normally both parties don't feel it. Or a million other reasons. But it *is* that feeling that initiates sex.

You feel a thrill and you feel like a starving man because you're finally feeling sexual attraction to someone. It doesn't lead to sex, but your body doesn't know that. It is just feeling the attraction, the possibility for sex.

Ned said...

Hey SG, thanks for jumping in! I agree with you that these feelings can lead to sex. Backseats of automobiles can also lead to pregnancy, but that's certainly not the primary reason cars are so equipped.

Sex, wonderful as it is, is only one of many ways humans bond. I hold strong feelings of affection for various members of my family and some of my dear friends--both male and female--but it doesn't mean my feelings are sexual. I feel a wonderful energy when my uncle puts his arm around me, but is that sexual? I don't think so.

To muddy the waters even more, not all arousal is sexual. Sometimes it is the result of a full bladder pressing on the prostate. Or just becoming very relaxed. I have been somewhat aroused when receiving massage from a massage therapist whom I have no sexual desire for. It isn't sexual. As Groucho said, "Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar."

Of course you're right that touch is often sexual and very much so. But not always. At least not in my experience. So when you say "wrong" I understand that to be your opinion, but I hope you'll allow that within the human experience there are a wide variety of variations and meanings.

You might see two Italian men walking hand-in-hand, then embracing and even kissing each other, but they may be straight buddies and would not consider such affection to be sexual in any way. At least that's what my good Italian missionary friend tells me. ;)

Forester said...

These are some interesting responses. I wanted to talk more about the unsexual nature of the excitement but wasn't sure how to explain it. So where is the line at which such "touch" becomes too sexual? Is it when your actions become sexual, when your mind has erotic thoughts, or is any physical yearning for touch sexual in nature?

In the specific situation I mentioned in my post, I felt a yearning for touch with some excitement about the possibility of being close to another man. Can this need be fulfilled without crossing any moral lines? My perfect scenario would be having a close straight male friend open to more physical touch and togetherness, knowing that it would never go too far because he's straight. Is this possible or am I just dreaming?

Ned said...

You're not just dreaming. It is possible. True, most straight guys are consumed with their work, their families, and in Mormondom, their church callings. Even so, with patience and persistence, you will find some guys who will respond with genuine friendship.

None of my straight friends shows as much physical affection as I'd like, but the fact that we do occassionally go to a movie, or for lunch or for a Saturday morning hike says much. One guy's wife is particularly supportive. Several times she's said, you guys should get together more often, it really helps my husband just to get a way and chill sometimes.


This used to happen to me all the time.. the most vivid memories that stick out in my mind always happened in the temple. I know--- judge away, but again it was just instinctive!

Since July 15, 2007