18 November 2007

Trade Spaghetti for Liver? You Crazy?

I do still hold out some hope that I'll find a great girl to whom I'm attracted, even if she doesn't turn me on physically quite like a guy would. Besides, I'm a chest man, either gender, which gives me some hope. That's not to say I'm attracted to the female chest as much, but...just saying I don't have the mastophobia so seemingly rampant among guys of my persuasion. Weird, I know.

I might be willing to sacrifice some physical pleasure and intensity of sexuality and even giddy romantic attraction for the rest of a beautiful relationship with a woman. I would never marry a girl just to satisfy my own desire for normality or to have a baby-maker. That seems terribly selfish and wrong. I would have to be truly attracted. It would not be selling out, despite what so many who have no such desire or hope might insist. It would be giving up one thing for another, which I would also be doing to pursue a gay relationship. I have to decide what things I want to give up, or what is right and acceptable to God, or truth, or myself, to give up. And what things matter most to me about a relationship and family.

Nevertheless, for now, my desire to date girls is still just a faint flicker.

The hard part is figuring out how to not want what you do want, or how to want what you don't. I love spaghetti, and if you come to me telling me I shouldn't like it and should instead eat liver, you'd better have a @#$% good reason for it. I mean, I could probably handle choosing not to eat the spaghetti, but to decide not to like it? Whatever! And not eating spaghetti gives me no desire to stick a big chunk of nasty liver in my mouth. Maybe this isn't a great parallel, though, because I would guess those vomit- and euphoria-inducing drug aversion therapies so infamous in BYU's history would work pretty well for that.

OK, so I wouldn't equate dating a girl to eating nasty liver. That's just not right. Sorry, girls, you aren't really chopped liver. There's a lot I do like about you. And not just in the "it's good for you" kind of way. You're enjoyable. Just not enjoyable in the same way as....OK so that was really not a great analogy. I can think of a lot more positive things about girls than about liver... *awkward cough* Moving on... *setting shovel aside and climbing out of hole*

Or maybe it's more about focusing on the aspects of each type of relationship that you really do want and finding a little of both, or the best combination you can? Making a sort of priorities list of what is truly rewarding about a relationship, which would definitely take stepping back and looking at things in a mature way.

But then if that examination points me to aiming for a heterosexual marriage, then how do I decide to proactively seek something my heart is weary of? How do I truly open myself up to a potentially painstaking journey? Or do I just try to stay open but let life lead me where it will, in this aspect, and seize the opportunity/-ies when a particular girl appeals to me? To me, this seems the healthiest approach. Put myself in situations where I might have the opportunity to meet a cool girl who catches my eye (e.g. going to ward activities, hanging out with people other than strictly mohos). And if something comes of it, great. Let it happen naturally. Give it a little effort, but don't kill it by forcing it too much.

Again, I understand that in an intellectual sense, but wanting to actually do it...? Ugh. Maybe the crux of it is actually this: why am I choosing to do it? Do I really believe a same-sex relationship would not serve me well? Do I really believe the ideal is a male-female pairing? If so, why? Is it cultural bias? Is it social convenience? Is it eternal doctrine? Is it my life goals? Maybe if I can answer those questions to some satisfactory degree, taking the harder steps will seem more doable.


Kengo Biddles said...

If it means anything to you, you're not weird. I like chests, too. :)

And FWIW, I wasn't all that physically attracted to Miki when we were first married, but I knew I wanted to be married, and I knew I did like her, and over the years our relationship has become completely organic; it flows, it's real.

So there you go.

Anonymous said...

It’s a relief to know that a relationship with a woman is significantly more than just the physical aspect. Love, trust, and understanding are thankfully based on long-term development of a relationship- not merely because you’re turned on by them physically.

My wife is a delicate creature- so unlike the men that seem to catch my eye. And my love for her is entirely different; it’s a desire to nurture her, comfort her, rely on her, and share my life (good parts and bad parts) with someone I care deeply about. I’ve felt those things for another guy before, but not with the same “eternal clarity” frame of mind. With my wife I’m “whole”. Surely I don’t enjoy the enticements of the forbidden fruits that seem to be unceasingly presented before me (other guys), but my needs are filled in a way I never thought they would be.

I still like “spaghetti”, I guess, but with the understanding that I’m not really missing out on something wonderful by being with my wife and our kids. It’s not comparable to “liver” for me. It’s not spaghetti, but whatever it is it’s seemingly more satisfying as life unfolds.

You know, Manna probably wasn’t the first choice of the Children of Israel to live by, but it was the Lord’s way of teaching them something- dependence upon the Lord, humility, overcoming “human” needs and wants. Somehow I believe I’m more fortunate to have been able to choose a pure, loving, exciting, practical woman to share my life with me. She’s no “manna” either! So far, it’s a good trade-up.

I’m proud of you for encouraging yourself to seek what the Lord has to offer you. It just may surprise you how fulfilling He can make your mortal existence while cultivating your heart for the hereafter.


Brady said...

I agree with you completely. And I am still looking for answers to those questions, all the while holding out hope that the answers are there, and that if I do what's required of me I will find true and lasting happiness in this life and the life to come.

Dating women takes more effort for me, but it doesn't have to be liver. I think Esquire presents a very sensible perspective.

The Impossible K said...

I love esquire's comment. Focusing on the physical aspect of attraction has been a stumbling block for me- heck, that's the main reason I've been so wary of dating to begin with!
I wonder though... and I'm trying not to be offended to the chopped liver analogy :P
Is physical/sexual attraction really that big a deal? Would it be considered selfish or "selling out" to marry without that attraction???

Original Mohomie said...

Physical attraction alone is probably not a huge deal. But it's part of a package deal, and if you can't handle physical intimacy with your spouse, you're in for a rough ride, I say.

I used to think "mental" intimacy was all I needed and that physical might come later but was fluff. I had severely limited my physicality with people in general. But when I started letting down my unnecessary barriers and decided to learn other people's "love language" of touch, with a pat on the back, and hand on the shoulder, a warm embrace...I began to realize how much I appreciated physical contact and how much it helped me "connect" with others.

That's just on a non-romantic level, though.

I also have experienced attraction a couple of times in its full spectrum, finding someone mentally, physically, and spiritually attractive and experiencing that synergy, and it makes the partial attractions, or attractions without the physical "chemistry", pale in comparison.

On the other hand, having an intense and exciting physical attraction with someone is exhilarating, yes, but it's totally empty without a deep mental and emotional connection. So strictly speaking, if it comes down to a choice BETWEEN the types of attraction, physical pales in comparison.

When I wrote, the other day, about my female friend dating a moho, one thing I didn't say was that because of the strength of the other kinds of attractions, and the trust they share, the physical sort of fell into place, and though it may not have had the spark, for him, that being with a guy might, they were able to work on and magnify that. I have married friends who say the same thing.

So to sum it up, yes, I think it's important, and yes, I think it can come with time, intimacy, and trust.

Anonymous said...

Something I didn’t mention before, but important to address, is the idea that the physical attraction and satisfaction I feel with my wife is different from the physical attractions I feel toward other men. Two separate sensations and needs that can be filled by two separate relationships. My physical need in my marriage is filled by my “closeness” to my wife. It includes those activities that you would expect in a marriage, but most particularly the reality of an eternal bond- one that won’t expire. In the moments that I’m with her I know that my relationship to her will continue forever and that it’s nothing that I would ever be ashamed of. It feels right, it provides for our family, and it gives my life a purpose- an eternal purpose. The comfort of knowing that our relationship can endure is the ultimate security.

The other physical attraction is not just motivated by sexual drive- but one that I think O-Mohomie has mentioned before- the need to feel loved by another man. Just the personal intimacy shared by men- that men understand- that provides personal comfort, relief, and security. This particular physical need is one that will be tough to fill without crossing the line of sexuality for me. I’ve tried it with a close friend before I was married and I couldn’t keep from sexualizing the intimacy we were sharing. It never crossed boundaries, but ended poorly as I had to sever ties with him in order to not “go there”. It was devastating for me.

While I agree that physical attraction does indeed make a relationship exhilarating, I still wonder if that excitement is based more upon a temporary sensation rather than a lasting bond. Physical attractions fade while lasting bonds endure. Maybe that’s why I’m more inclined to trust in the council to locate an eternal companion, marry eternally, and endure the “human condition” the Lord has descended upon so many of us. Are we being “untrue” to our feelings? Not when you acknowledge the existence of a need, fill it in a mature and pure way (if possible), and focus on the blessings you DO have. It’s not exactly giving one thing up for another- but letting go of one thing to make room for so much more.

Original Mohomie said...

Esquire, I think we've said basically the same thing in different ways, but I do take issue with you on at least one point: it IS giving up one thing for another. You can look at it as giving up one unimportant thing for an eternally more rewarding thing, but it's giving something up nonetheless, as far as I can tell.

But sacrifice tempers us, right?

It's just not that easy for me to make that call as I'd like it to be. Maybe it's my "testimony" or lack thereof that is my limiting factor where that's concerned, though: the confidence that it is, in fact, "worth it".

Anonymous said...

I see your point, Bro. You’re right. Sacrifice is certainly giving up something in hopes of something better.

May I say, through all of these trials, I don’t really worry about you? What little I actually know of you, you’re obviously a bright, motivated, well-rounded, likable, and sensitive individual whose just beginning (relatively speaking) life’s journey. It’s almost like you have everything every other 20-something fellow has- but something extra- a perspective. You have a reason to contemplate the wonders of this human existence in juxtaposition to eternity rather than blindly following a cultural phenom to marry, have kids, go hometeaching, work to pay for kids’ collages, grow old, serve a couples mission, and die. You (and those like you) will get the distinct opportunity to experience a life of questions; one that requires a hand-held relationship with God the Father, Himself.

I know this is stretch, and please don’t think me weird, but do you think it’s possible that our inherent desire and need for male intimacy and affection stems from the faint recollection of our premortal existence with our Father? Is it too strange to assume that we may have been so close to Him in so many ways prior to this life that we may simply long for that same union with our primary male role model- our Father? No matter who you are and what your situation in life, doesn’t that thought change your whole perspective for a moment?

Bless you, Kid, in your quest for peace and security. It may all seem be on “back-order” right now, but will come to you when it’s time.


The Impossible K said...

"Physical attraction alone is probably not a huge deal. But it's part of a package deal, and if you can't handle physical intimacy with your spouse, you're in for a rough ride, I say."

Ouch. Well, I'd argue that depends on your perspective. Doesn't one's orientation temper the degree of fulfillment that physical attraction provides? In your case, it's tempered more toward males. In mine... Hmm...
I don't really feel like my question was addressed the way I expected, but I appreciate the discussion it has sparked :)

Original Mohomie said...

Impossible, what aspects of your question feel unresponded? Maybe I missed a nuance there.