Friday, September 23, 2011

Sharing with Elevencats, Part Two

This is continued from Part One in the series.  To view that, please click here.
Note:  The final section in this part is sexually explicit and may make some readers uncomfortable.  Another warning appears just prior to that section.  Please use your discretion accordingly.
Elevencats:  Truth is that I’m bad at making the first move.  I’m bad at talking to a stranger, or any human being for that matter.  Sometimes I walk on the street and just can’t stop guys.  I’m still gay.  That hasn’t changed.  And when I sometimes see the one who I’d like to spend the rest of my life with, who I fantasize about...I just can’t stop dreaming that he’d kiss me and make love to me.  He’s so smart (I have a thing for smart men) and good looking and funny and friendly and talkative.  But I’d never make a move on him.
Rick:  Making the first move, as you put it, is about being confident in how you feel about yourself, and about believing the person you’re interested in may just be as interested in you. Consider the possibility.  
Listen, when I was your age, I didn’t have confidence either.  I felt like a slug; I felt lower than dirt.  I was certain no one had the least interest in me.  If it wasn’t for other guys approaching me, I’d have never met anyone.  At least I had the common sense to put myself in the right places so I'd be noticed (i.e.: at the gay clubs).  As far as getting together with anyone, I left that entirely up to the other fellows.  (Curiously, though, while we feel badly about ourselves and couldn’t imagine anyone being interested in us, the ones we’re interested in probably don’t see us that way at all.  In fact, they probably think no one could possibly be interested in them, either.)   
I’m not going to sit here and write that you need to grow a pair, get your ass out there, and start meeting people, because its nearly impossible to muster the courage to approach people if you’re not used to doing it.  But I am going to say that you have a choice--either you sit on the sidelines and wait for life to happen to you, or you take control and make it happen yourself.  The choice is yours.  Just remember, the longer you wait, the more time you waste.     
The truth is, a lack of confidence in talking to strangers, as you put it, is a sign of low self-esteem.  For me, it was thinking the person I was interested in meeting was so much better than me.  Perhaps he wore nicer clothes, or he was more handsome, or he had a better body--whatever the case was.  But here’s a little secret: virtually everyone has low self-esteem.  Virtually everyone thinks other people are better in some way than they are.  So, in that respect, we’re all insecure, which, as I see it, makes the playing field even for all of us.        
In your case, an inability to introduce yourself to a young man you’re attracted to has, I think, more to do with living your life on the edge of being gay than jumping right in and going for it.  Perhaps you hold yourself back because you don’t know where it could possibly go.  You’re not out, your family and friends don’t know you’re gay, and the last thing you want is to start something that leads you to where you’re not prepared to go, or where you think you can’t go.  I know the feeling, but, sometimes, putting yourself in that situation is the best way to break the impasse.  Jump in with both feet--keeping your wits about you, of course--and see where it takes you.       
Many young gay men just like you keep their sexual orientation a secret to family, friends, and coworkers, yet still manage to live full lives as gay men.  What if, at the campus where you go to school, you saw a young man you’re attracted to?  And what if you didn’t have the confidence to approach him, but he had the confidence to approach you?  So you stumble and stammer and have an awful time talking to him, but he’s cute, and interested in you, and makes you feel at ease in his company, so you can actually put a few words together without feeling embarrassed.

The next thing you know, you go out for coffee, study together, and enjoy being around each other.  One thing leads to another, and you become a little sexual--nothing you can’t handle.  So what?  Your family doesn’t need to know, his family doesn’t need to know, you both have as much to lose if anyone finds out (so no one will), and you go for it.  You even feel good about doing it and wonder what took you so long.       
Just because you’re not fully out and living loud and proud in your community doesn’t mean nothing can’t go on between you and another young man.  Many men begin living their lives as fully realized gay human beings one small, comfortable step at a time, taking on only as much as they can handle one step after another.  That’s how I did it.  The options for becoming a fully-realized gay man are endless--from dipping your toe in the water and staying there indefinitely, to plunging right in without reservation.  You decide what’s right for you.  Just keep yourself open to the possibilities.  Never shut yourself off.  Who knows what might happen?  
E.:  I’m an old-fashioned guy.  I would only be with a guy who truly loves me and then we can make love.  I wouldn’t use a guy like this.  Not even in my dreams.  He wouldn’t love me even if we would be the last two people on this earth.  
R.:  You have the right idea, Elevencats.  You are an honorable young man, and I respect that about you.  You want to do the right thing for you and whoever you’re with.  Nothing wrong with that.  Hold on to your values and to what feels right.        
To return to my scenario above, let’s say the young student you’re interested in comes on to you physically, but you’re not comfortable because you’re not sure you love each other.  I’m familiar with this situation.  Here’s what I did.  
Nothing.  That’s right, nothing.  Yes, we got naked.  Yes, we kissed and touched each other.  Yes, we made ourselves feel good.  But when the men I was with wanted to engage in oral or anal sex, I refused.  Simple as that.  I was intent on reserving those experiences for the man I loved.  Were some of the fellows disappointed, even upset?  You bet they were.  Some were pissed off.  After he'd had plenty to drink, one even threatened to rape me (although I don't know how serious he was.)  So what?  It’s my body.  I’ll do as I damn well please with it.
So you don’t have to go all the way with anyone you don’t want to.  But that doesn’t mean you can’t do other things that feel good, and, perhaps most of all, help you feel better about yourself and give you more confidence.  Use your imagination.  Sex isn’t just about oral and anal.  There’s everything else, too, so many wonderful, and loving, and considerate things two people can do with and to each other when they’re naked, yet take little or no risk at all.    
The bottom line is, when it comes to sex with someone else, you don’t have to do anything you don’t want to.  Remember that for future reference.  You can, and should, put the brakes on anything you’re not ready for.  When you love and respect yourself, you love and respect your body, and you don’t allow anyone to abuse it.       
(WARNING:  This section is sexually explicit.  As this is the final piece of Part Two, if frank discussion about gay sex makes you uncomfortable, skip the remainder of this post and proceed to Part Three.)
E.:  And thinking about the process of sex...I can put and there, and he can put and there....  It’s disgusting.  It isn’t normal.  It isn’t right.  It hurts.  It will cause me to die of cancer.  OK, I will never have sex.  But isn’t masturbation a sexual activity....  Oh, I will never have sex with another man.  
R.:  Okay, take a deep breath.  And relax.  Now let’s have a closer look at your fear and disgust of gay sex, one step at a time.  
From what you write, I assume you’re talking about oral and anal sex.  I want you to know your feelings are perfectly normal.  In fact, I suspect many young gay people think about the mechanics of gay sex--or sex, period--the same way and are turned off.  I felt exactly like that, so much so that, at one time, I thought if this is what being gay is--performing physical acts that repulse me--then I want no part of it.  The question is, how do you overcome that apprehension so you can join the rest of the human race and enjoy comfortable and rewarding sexual activity?

First, oral and anal sex aren’t the exclusive domain of gay men.  Many straight couples engage in oral sex, and some even in anal sex.  So, in terms of those particular sexual activities being disgusting, because they’re associated with being gay, that’s not the case at all.  Whether you’re gay or straight, sex is about what you’re into, what gives you and your partner pleasure. Virtually anything goes, depending on the willingness of the two people involved.
Another thing you should do is become more comfortable with your body.  You’ve mentioned that you masturbate, so you’re already familiar with your penis, and how good it feels to touch it.  I read somewhere that it helps those people ill at ease with the idea of oral sex to think of the penis as a miniature version of the entire person it’s attached to.  Thus, if you love the whole person, chances are you’ll love the smaller version.  After all, his penis is as much a part of him as your penis is a part of you.  When you love someone enough, you’d be surprised what you become more at ease with.  And, when you think about it, it's just a penis.  
So it is with the anus.  That part of your body is like any other part.  It has its own specific function, which many find filthy and disgusting, but it’s still a part of you.  Just like your eyes, your chest, and your toes, for example.  Don’t avoid it.  Instead, learn about it.  It might help when you’re in the shower to use a soapy finger to touch it (if you haven't tried that already). And I don't mean just to clean it.  As you touch in and around that area, be conscious of the sensations you feel.  If you’re so inclined, graduate to the next level by using your soapy finger to probe it a little.  Relax.  Go ahead.  It’s just another opening in your body.  And, if you feel comfortable doing that, then see how far you can go.  Again, be aware of the sensations, what feels good and what doesn’t.  There.  Was that so bad?    
The whole thing about sex is, you need to be comfortable with your own body to be comfortable with someone else’s.  And I believe you should look at it as an extension of the strong emotions you feel toward another person.  I believe sex should always be seen and done in that context (which is why I deplore promiscuity), but many would disagree with me.  I think most gay men are all about the physical pleasure and getting off.  That’s too bad.  I feel sorry for them.  If that’s the only way you look at sex, then you're missing out on a lot.  On the other hand, if you look at it as a deeply personal experience to share with someone you love, then it will be so much more, regardless of how great, or not, the physical aspects are.  
I’m not aware of anyone getting cancer from engaging in gay sex.  Are there sexually transmitted diseases you should be cautious of, including HIV and AIDS?  You bet.  While it’s important to be considerate of the other person during the act of sex, you must always put yourself first.  If you’re not comfortable doing something, then you must speak up and not think you have to go along just because the other person wants it.  And when you object, if the other person cares about you and your feelings, he will listen and respect your wishes.  If he doesn’t, he’s a jerk, and you need to get dressed and leave immediately.  
By now, you should know the precautions to take to avoid contracting a sexually transmitted disease.  Because we’re talking about your body, your health, and your life, you must take responsibility not just for yourself but also for your partner, to ensure both of you are adequately protected.  While some will say you can’t pick up HIV or AIDS through oral sex, I would not be willing to take that risk unless you really know the person you’re with.  If you’re one hundred percent sure he’s not infected (I don’t know how you can be), then use your discretion.  Same with anal sex.  But here’s a suggestion.  Even if you and your partner have been tested for the HIV virus, you’ve been together for a long time, and you’re not having sex with other people, I would still recommend using a condom during anal sex, out of respect for each other.  
And, finally, yes, when the time is right--which only you can determine--you will have sex with another man.  You shouldn't hold yourself back from having sex, within the context I discussed earlier, because you’re as entitled as the next guy to sexual pleasure.  But here’s a little secret from me to you.  Based on the emphasis sex receives in the media, particularly in the West, it’s overrated.  Sex plays an important part in any relationship, including Chris’s and mine, but, if I had to choose between sex and love, I’d choose love without question.  All I’m saying is, keep sex in perspective.  It’s great, but it isn’t everything, as you may have gotten the impression it is from the gay media.  

For the third and final part, please click here.  


  1. It feels good to feel alive again! This sums up what I felt a week ago and what I feel now.
    During this summer I had an opportunity to work as a assistant researcher. I did what I liked and for some reason I got paid for it too. It felt good going home after a 13 hour workday. I did something that was important, it made me feel special. I loved the long work days, because I enjoyed the company, speaking or just listen other intelligent people talking. When I got home, I felt like a total failure. I had everything I dreamed of: receiving my degree, a dream summer job, a home, bread on the table... At the end of the day, one thing still hurt a lot. Me being lonely in my home and even feeling lonely in my own body.
    I expect a lot from myself. I want to be a good role model for my sisters. Secondly, I push myself, because doing something makes me happier than doing nothing. Even now, if I am honest, I truly don't know why I'm learning what I'm learning. Maybe it's because I want to be a scientist, maybe it's because I want to be a professor one day, maybe because I just don't know what else to do at the moment.
    I hate when I lie. I lie to myself, I lie to others. When telling myself lies, I sometimes feel like I am telling the truth. Most of all, I hate lying to my family. I don't share this part of me with them, because I don't want them to be let down by me, feel pain when they need to hear bad things said about gay people and feel like someone they know is also “bad”. I don't want them to be put down because I am gay. I don't want them to feel the pain I feel.
    There are times when I have said to myself: “Ok, this is the moment, I have to tell everyone the truth. I just don't care anymore if they kill me or love me, I just need to be free.” Self-preservation holds me back: I have an instinct to defend myself. Sometimes I defend myself from good things too. I let it get too far.
    I know I have so much love to give. I know that. I feel that. I fall asleep hugging my billow every night. I have dreams: meeting my special someone, working as a scientist, making babies with my lover. I thank you for helping me believe in myself!

    Note: The final section in this part is sexually explicit and may make some readers uncomfortable. Please use your discretion accordingly.

    I've never considered that I'd take my close off with someone I liked and just kiss and cuddle. I fear I can't stop there. Maybe it has a little to do with my fears of sexuality. I remember when I was younger, I enjoyed my private sessions with my penis, but after doing that, I felt so bad. For some reason, sexual activity is a bit taboo to me. Despite that I have learned to love my sessions with my penis and now feel no shame after enjoying myself. Yes, I have tried to massage my anus using lubricant. And yes, I have inserted a finger in there. Where did this idea come from: simply put, when I touched my penis, I felt something missing from my anus. So I tried what it feels like. Mostly I get truly anal-curious if for some reason I can't masturbate for a week or so. For a long time, it felt just uncomfortable. And the shame after my exploration... Well. But today I tried something new. I relaxed myself and gently explored myself. External stimulation felt very-very good, but I still haven't felt anything good with internal simulation. Maybe it's because I just don't know where to touch or because I'm not that relaxed or maybe it's not just my thing.

    PS! I just thought that I'd ask you if you make copies of your blog. Because a friend of mine had an unpleasant situation where his blog was removed due to claims of validating some rules. It happened quickly and he lost a lot of data.

  2. Elevencats, again, I encourage you to be aware of how you look at yourself. Just because, at this time in your life, you're not out and don't have a lover doesn't mean you're a failure. I don't know if this will help, but I met Chris when I was thirty-two. That's twelve years older than you. Everything I went through during that time prepared me for the relationship I have today. It happens when it happens because it's meant to. Keep your dreams alive, but, also, keep working on being the best you you can be by being more positive about how you see yourself.

    If I were you, I'd think about the various methods you could use to come out to your family and decide which ones might work best for you. I feel as though you're on the verge of telling your family, but be sure you plan it out as well as you can. You can't predict their reactions--in fact, they might surprise you by how open and accepting they are--but you can take control of the message and how it's delivered. There's always face-to-face, but there's also a phone call (which I used with my mom) or a letter (which I used with my sister who was in Saudi Arabia at the time). My mom told my dad, so she saved me from that.

    I understand about not wanting to hurt your family (I didn't want to hurt mine either), but you have to think about yourself, too. Remember that. None of us wants to be the source of additional pain in our loved ones's lives, but, at some point, we have to put our own pain first. It's just a question of how much more pain you're prepared to endure while you continue to protect your family. Only you can decide that, but, like I wrote before, you only come out once; when it's over, it's over; and the relief and freedom you feel (although it may not necessarily be immediate, depending on how your family reacts)...well, there's no substitute for them. But don't let me talk you into anything. You have to do this when the time and situation are right for you.

    I'm relieved to hear you're open to exploring your own sexuality by yourself. Our culture has so many hang-ups about sex, masturbation, and self-pleasure, but I don't feel that way. It's only a body, it's only sex, and it's only pleasure. No big deal. I consider sexual pleasure our birthright. We were born with bodies that allow us to feel incredible in so many ways, so enjoy it. Participate in it fully. And feel no shame. What a waste of time that is. In the rectum, be sure to work on stimulating your prostate. This is the source of much sexual pleasure for men. As I'm not a doctor, I'm sure there are sites on the Internet that will tell you more about it. I encourage you to seek them out.

    No, unfortunately, I haven't made copies of all my blog posts. This would take an enormous amount of work. I've asked Chris if he thinks I should, and he didn't believe it was necessary. Yes, I've heard of bloggers losing everything. The prospect of that scares the hell out of me, because I've put so much work into this over the years. I also hope to use some of the material in one or more books at some point. So, we'll see. I probably should look at doing a back-up of some sort, but I'm just not sure what that looks like. But I appreciate your concern. You've put this on my radar now.

    Thanks for saying I help you believe in yourself. That's exactly what I'm trying to do. And thanks for your comment. Stay positive.

  3. I feel I need to have a safe place. At a moment I am dependent on my family. Working while studying is out of a question, because my speciality is so hard that I need to study every day. I wan to be the best I can. I kind of think they will be OK with me being gay. Not all of them, but my step father I think will be ok (he has a gay friend), my mother will most probably make a straight face and will not show any emotion at all (even I know she will be hurt a lot). Mostly I am afraid of three things: 1) they will need to think about everything they say not to hurt me in any way; 2) they will have negativity towards themselves from other people because they have a gay son, 3) most importantly, I am afraid that if they will say negative things, I will shut them out completely. From other people I think I will get a wide spectrum of reactions..

    “In addition to what I wrote earlier in Part Two about confidence, I would ask the question, what’s different about being one-on-one with someone you don’t know, and speaking in front of a large number of strangers? Why do you have confidence in one situation but not in the other?”

    When I am in front of a lecture room I have prepared. I know what I need to speak about. I have read enough material to answer questions. When it's speaking to another person, I don't know what to speak about. Mostly, I can manage, but there are times I want to be alone. People take it personally, if I don't speak with them. Truth be told, It most probably is about many things: 1) sometimes I just don't want to talk; 2) I like to talk about important issues; 3) I don't feel safe; 4) I don't have experience (I have always been a loner). No problem with talking to my family. Just when I need to speak to a new person (a potential love interest, for example), I have nothing to say. My mind is blank. And one to one speaking is easy compared to speaking in a group. The only solution is to engage in more contact and in more unfamiliar situation. But that takes courage.

    Sexual content!

    About sex and masturbation: I never can think about sex as being just sex. I think that it's good, yes, but it's wonderful only if I am sharing it with the person I love. OK, speaks a man who knows nothing about sex, but I know something about masturbation. The best sessions I have ever had are when I get my emotions into what I'm doing.

  4. Elevencats, I'd like to say once you're out, everything will be great--that is, the external world will accept you wholeheartedly. But, as I think about it, the greatest benefit to coming out is to ourselves. Usually, by the time we do it, we've arrived at a place where, to some degree anyway, we've come to terms with our sexual orientation. And whether people love us or hate us is less of a concern than if we can live with ourselves. Did I care about how my loved ones reacted when I came out? Of course. But I had no choice about whether or not I did it. I couldn't take the pressure, the secret, anymore. I think you'll get to that point, too. But I don't think I could have come out when I still lived at home. I had to be on my own, and dependent on no one, before I could really gather the courage.

    About speaking to strangers, we all feel the same way. It's not easy for any of us. And I'm not much into small talk either. Sometimes it's just necessary. Did Chris and I make a lot of small talk when we first met? You bet we did. Did I feel it was a chore? No, because I was really into him. Was it worth it in the end? I'll let you answer that question.

    On the subject of sex, I believe your head is exactly in the right place. (Did you know your head is your biggest sex organ? Try having sex without using it and see what happens.) What I love is that you know love is a part of sex. Of course it is. You know it, and I know it. So hold on to your values. Don't give in to the temptation. You have lots of time to be sexual with men who mean something to you. If necessary, use me as inspiration. Not sure you've seen the post I wrote on this, but I was a virgin until I was twenty-six. Yes, you read that right. I don't regret waiting. By the time I had my first sexual experience, I knew what I was doing. And it was on my terms, with respect for my partner and for me. Be proud that you're still a virgin. There's no shame in that.

    Thanks for your comment. You know I always love to hear from you.