31 July 2007


In forming a response to Isakson's comment on my previous post, "Any Homosexual Behavior", I realized I have more thoughts along these lines, so I'm spouting off again.

The comment that stands out to me is the statement that "In most of my friends experiences it has led almost immediately to more regrettable actions."

I understand this statement, and that's why personal discretion is hugely important. If the smallest degree of same-sex physicality is a one-way ticket to fornication, by all means avoid physical contact until you have gained some self control and separated intimacy from sexuality.

Maybe my sex drive is one fourth that of most males my age, but cuddling is hardly automatic foreplay. That is foreign to me! I mean no disrespect at all by the comments I have made or am about to make, but I do have to say, with concern, that if every time you get close to someone, you end up in orgasm, that is a problem, and it's not the cuddling, but your current emotional/psychological state that is the issue. The cuddling is merely a trigger of something deeper. Again, I hope anyone who reads this takes it in the spirit in which it's given: with sincerity and understanding that this really is a problem for some people, gay or straight, and that it's not something to be treated lightly.

I used to wonder how far I might go - how much I might lose control - if I ever allowed myself the least amount of physical affection with another guy, so I was always very cautious. And I was very cautious about any contact with girls because they seemed to ascribe more romantic meaning to it than I imagined they would. So no physical affection for me. As a young kid, I was very cuddly. But by the time I reached adolescence, that was ancient history. I alienated myself physically and emotionally. I have since rediscovered the healing of simple physical contact from caring friends, male or female. There's something powerful about learning to experience real emotional, mental, and physical intimacy in meaningful relationships. Independent of sexuality. Just that intimacy that makes you feel truly connected to those around you, truly human, more than some intelligent robot detached from the beauty of touch we are so fortunate, as beings with physical bodies, to experience in so many ways, only some of which are sexual in nature.

It may be important to point out that when I am talking about physical contact in this context, I'm not talking about spooning with a hot date while watching a romantic movie. I'm not talking about probing and exploring the exciting new form of a fresh, hot body. There are boundaries and rules. You don't "cuddle" with someone you just met. Your hands stay basically still. When things seem like they might escalate, you remind yourself that you can not possibly rely on the other person to stop it. It's totally up to you. You own the situation. The degree of physical intimacy should not exceed the nature of the relationship. If I wonder what my motives are, I generally play it safe and minimize such contact. The nature of the cuddling is about the same whether male or female. It's affection, not passion. Intimacy, not lust.

Physical intimacy and sexuality are often bed partners...but they're not inextricably linked. Ever held someone you care about and not wanted to have sex? That's what I'm talking about.

I'm sure I have more thoughts on the matter or related tangents, but I'm tired, and my allergies are in full bloom, so I'm going to go mormon-liquor up so I can sleep.

30 July 2007

"Any Homosexual Behavior"

The Church has, as most of you assuredly know by now, recently released a pamphlet entitled God Loveth His Mohos...wait... no, God Loveth His Children regarding homosexuality among church members.

I think it addresses homosexuality more openly and completely than past publications by the church. I liked a lot of what the pamphlet has to say. I like the focus on free agency and making the most of your situation in life, even without or before understanding it. While the pamphlet was no earth-shattering revelation to little old me, for a lot of church members just beginning to explore this issue and (as I imagine is not uncommon) reluctant to listen to anyone other than general authorities about it, it's a good step.

I do have some questions or reservation, though, particularly with one line: “There is a distinction between immoral thoughts and feelings and participating in either immoral heterosexual or any homosexual behavior.” Any homosexual behavior? It seems to imply a ban on all expression of homosexuality in vague terms. You may be thinking, "Well...yeah. Of course." But bear with me: it feels, to someone like me who wearied myself trying to hide and sweep under the rug anything even remotely homo in myself, like a call for unhealthy suppression.

Does it preclude me from sharing gestures of affection among my moho friends which many (though not all) opposite-gender-attracted people would consider unusual between men but which do not lead me into a frenzy of lust and licentiousness? Could a bishop be justified in withholding a temple recommend for any cuddling with other mohos of the same gender, even if nothing decidedly romantic took place?

Or is my reaction just a twisted version of the same semantic-based gut-reaction most people have with the word "homosexual"? When I hear them say "homosexual" expression, I apply my paradigm of judgemental and overreacting bigots or people who are simply ignorant who immediately think "homosexual expression" means any contact of any kind between two people of the same sex who are homosexual. But in reality, "homosexual expression", taken quite literally, would mean explicitly sexual expression between members of the same sex. I suppose that would include "making out" or things which might not be inherently wrong for normal straight folk (e.g. kissing?) but which may be inherently problematic (from a church perspective) when applied to same-sex relationships.

In my mind, a lot depends on circumstance and with whom it takes place, etc. So do the church leaders really intend for us mohos to live completely devoid of the tender affections of our brothers and sisters sharing the difficulty of this issue? I could live without it, but I really don't see any transgression in certain expressions of affection, even cuddling (yes, cuddling is not always sexual or romantic, people) with a good friend for whom I feel real affection and connection, free of any codependence, sexual charge, or romantic attachment. Maybe that is not what's intended by the remarks in the pamphlet and I am raising a moot argument. But have the bishops who are going to read this pamphlet thought of this? How will the general membership of the church interpret it? That's what I don't know.

Anyway, forgive me if I seem flippant, but I don't think it's my bishop's business whether I have cuddled a moho friend this week and for how long, if nothing overtly homosexual took place. I say that frankly and without any anger or edge. It's simply what I think. So while I acknowledge I could improve my conversation towards edification and focus less on my homoness at times, non-passionate moho affection will remain outside the realm of bishop's office conversation until I am called to repentance by the Spirit.

25 July 2007

What's Wrong With a Little 'M'?

For those of you who don't know, in the online mormon discussion world, 'M' is the oft-used abbreviation for the all-too-fun-to-discuss topic of masturbation (AKA 'self abuse' in church manuals). I figured it was about time to 'go there' and bring this up when I was looking through some old discussion group posts and came across the following, which I wrote a couple of years ago:

I've been thinking for some time about it. I think a problem with masturbation is that it is...well...sort of akin to blasphemy...in a way. How to explain...? The power to procreate is magnificent and sacred, right? But we aren't 'procreating' when using birth control within marriage, so what of that? That's not condemned by church policy, right? Maybe there's another factor.

When you're making love with your spouse, what you are hopefully doing (yeah, I'm inexperienced and idealistic...bear with me) is giving yourself completely to him or her. You are sharing the most vulnerable parts of you, emotionally and physically, with the purpose of helping them achieve, with you, an intensity of emotional and physical and spiritual feeling and intimacy that the two of you can share as a precious and deeply personal experience that brings you together in a way completely unique to your relationship.

Intercourse is meant to be selfless and aimed at pleasing your spouse...as well as being highly pleasurable, no? So taking that and saying, "Forget commitment and focusing on her--I want to take that most special of experiences and keep it for myself. I want to focus on ME and pleasing ME." This self-satisfying, almost animalistic approach contributes to killing the sacredness of sexuality.

Now, stamping out the special nature of sex is done so relentlessly in every media form and in daily conversation that masturbation may seem just one small step...but it's an actual, voluntary, deliberate action, often mixed with "impure" thoughts and entertainment that degrades the beauty of humanity to base, spiritless lust, not just an off-color remark made in passing.

I guess I'll stop trying to expound. My main point is that I believe it IS, to some degree, wrong (no soap box--no pretense of perfection--just what I think). And no, I don't think we should feel immediately and irreparably hellbound for giving in to the natural, biological urges in us. But as with any impure action, one should tell him- or herself, "I will do better next time." ...and no, I don't mean 'do better' that way, sickos.

We pick ourselves up and move on, determined to eliminate impure and unholy practices from our lives, recognizing our imperfection and need for a Savior, and repenting by feeling the need to change, asking for help and forgiveness, and moving on. Our direction and attitude make all the difference, I think.

Yeah, it's probably not a holy practice. Yeah, you're probably not in the minority if you do it. I don't think anyone should be too hard on themselves over it (I tried to think of a better way to word that--work with me, here). But it's most often the subtle things that slowly lead us into places and attitudes we otherwise would not have approached. And I just wouldn't want to be controlled by it or let it foul my perspective on what it means to 'make love.'


I originally had some other thoughts but decided not to make this post longer. However, in response to a comment on this by iwonder, I've decided to include those thoughts, plus some, tacked onto the end of this post:

Regarding the fact that I often post past thoughts, I do feel pretty much the same now on a lot of these things as I did then. It's just that since I've already written out a lot of these thoughts, rather than rehash by rewriting, I just repost what I've written, slightly edited.

I understand the feeling that those of us who hold little hope for future "appropriate expression" of sexuality can't reasonably be expected to abstain from this form of "self-expression", if you will.

And I think that in that sense, as long as it's not accompanied by pornography use or lustful fantasies, it's still best to avoid it but also to move on if you engage in it, without feeling guilt-ridden. Even if it's not good or ideal, it's not the sin next to murder, either, folks. And if your past indicates that you're less likely to go have sex with strangers if you take care of business by yourself at home, then by all means, use it as a stepping stone to a better place. Again, even if not ideal, it's a lot better than the alternative (e.g. scratching your number into bathroom stalls or booty calling a Craig's List contact). Now, remember that you do, in fact, despite past experience, have free agency and need not always be a slave to your sexual appetite, so always have progression in mind.

In short, I'm a bit agnostic as to how bad simple self-stimulation, independent of degrading images or thoughts, is. We don't have ample doctrinal declarations or scriptural basis for such. Only sporadic mention. So that's why I didn't go in-depth into whether you should never engage in it but focused on the principles around the act I believe are helpful to keep in mind.

And in addition, I am not yet among those who holds no hope for a future marriage, so that affects my perspective, but I think I'll expound on that in another post.


Addendum (2009-09-27): When I first wrote this, I avoided making comparisons with other habits for a reason, but I'll just say I might compare the severity of the simple act to something like using crude language. It's not exactly virtuous. It's crude. It's certainly not indicative of self-mastery (somewhat like eating too much junk food). And in the case of masturbation, it may in many cases or for many people equate to committing emotional adultery with yourself against your spouse or degrading another human being to nothing more than an object for your self-gratification, and while occasionally indulging in such to a small degree is probably not going to turn you into a sociopath or a black-hearted hedon, I think seeing or thinking of people as playthings rather than living souls or taking sexual energy away from a spouse are best avoided. But in moderation, you probably don't need to prostrate yourself in lowly repentance for an hour because you "took matters into your own hands" for a moment.

I do still think pornography and fantasizing are more troublesome issues, but perhaps that, too, is another post for another time. One of my bishops told the congregation that, in response to questions about when porn and masturbation become "a problem", he said if it's more than once a month, come see him. I thought that sounded pretty fair, and I eagerly went home marked the first day of every month on my calendar as the monthly "my bishop told me it's OK" day...

22 July 2007

Men Are From Mars; Little Boys, on the Other Hand...

I think there are some inherent personality traits and characteristics that we are born with, and I think there are general trends tied to gender. But how much is inherent and how much is learned?

I don't decorate well, I'm not titillated by dressing up, and I certainly won't consider wearing women's jeans (come on--there are simple structural/anatomical problems there), but I was a sensitive kid and have some tastes and interests that are not of your typical macho variety.

I think the world could certainly use more men who aren't friggin' afraid of showing tenderness towards their wives or their brothers. More women who know how to be truly assertive and confident. I like seeing little girls play in the mud, and I like seeing little boys baking. Not because I gain some perverse pleasure from seeing the little ones become twisted to make me feel less freakish. I like it because what I see is little individuals becoming well-rounded and shedding the imposed shackles of meaningless, popular tradition.

Many traditions are good. Good traditions are good. And change for the sake of change is a frivolous ideal. But I suggest that to stifle a child's natural development and slap labels on non-'normal' behavior is probably destructive. Parents are there, in my opinion, to direct their children's interests in positive ways, not to stomp out the interests the parents don't understand.

I remember a study we learned about in a college Sociology course in which they gave children stereotypically masculine and feminine toys to play with and watched their behavior from behind one-way mirrors. When they did the study with toddlers, they found no statistically significant difference, if I remember right, between what the little boys chose to play with and what the little girls chose, indicating that gender roles may be largely defined for children by the models they see around them from a very young age; that many preferences may, in fact, be primarily taught, not inborn.

Maybe those differences develop naturally as the biology advances, much like the anatomy becomes more and more dichotomous with age, but that's pretty hard to research ethically (I mean how do you really study that--make sure these 50 children are raised around only women, without ever seeing a man, and those 50 children around only men?).

Don't get me wrong--again, I tend to believe men and women have inherent differences. I just don't think those differences have much to do with whether or not you let your boy have a doll or your girl a truck if they ask for one.

Why take those inherent male/female differences and entrench ourselves in them? Why not embrace and accept our respective roles or uniqueness while learning from each other? Why do you think we hear (admittedly mostly from church leaders) about how it's so important for families to have two parents? Of opposite sexes? Is it so dad can teach his boys to be 'men' and disregard what mom can teach them? Is dad to raise the boys and mom the girls? I think not.

My two cents, but then, I'm a boy who's attracted to boys, so you should probably ignore any thoughts I have on the matter.

Besides, easier said than done, right? If I ever have a boy who wants a doll, I'm probably going to have a bit of hesitation...and I might have to eat my words. I understand the gut reactions, the "feelings," but do they really make sense? Should I really let the fact that I like to bake cookies define me as gay? Come on!

P.S.--If I remember right, there may even have been a statistically significant difference in the behavior of the children when they were left completely alone in the room versus when they were with other children...again indicating learned behavior and social pressure...but I'd have to look the study up to find out for sure. I don't like quoting things incorrectly, so I'll acknowledge I just don't have the study in front of me and am not sure about it--I could be way off. Anyone have any sources? I'm too lazy right now to look them up myself. I'll just settle for spouting my rhetoric.

18 July 2007

Many Mohos (and Homos) in Mormonville

So there are simply a LOT of gay boys around here. I don't really have anything deep to say about this, but maybe it'll be an interesting glimpse into moho life for our 'non-challenged' friends.

I just can't get over it. At the mall, at the gym, downtown...there are a lot of good-looking, clean-cut guys who totally set off the 'dar. And TWO gay pride festivals per year? Seriously. Once you start looking for homoness, you see it EVERYWHERE here. I also realize not everyone I suspect is, in fact, homo. My 'dar is sometimes overly sensitive. But still...

Case in point: a while back, I went to a musical theater performance of one of my local mohos, and in the audience, I spotted two guys I was sure were 'family'. Now, my little moho buddy AtP insisted one was not. "You just want him to be," he insisted. "True as that may be," I replied, "I really think he is." Well, after the performance, guess who came up to our performing friend to give him a big ol' queerlike hug. Yup. I raised an eyebrow at AtP, who was very upset with himself for being mistaken. As well he should be.

The point is...actually, that was just fun to tell, but if I had a point, it would probably be the thought I had just the other day: there are probably more opportunities to get into trouble here than in other places I've been.

Why, you ask? I shall tell you.

I, for one, tend not to be interested in the more flamboyantly queeny types *rolling my eyes*. Or the butch leather 'n chains types *fighting gag reflex*. Or the edgey, indie, druggy types *face of complete disinterest*. I tend to be interested in your average, clean-cut, well-presented guys. I don't imagine I'm unique in this aspect, nor do I think it's uniquely a moho phenomenon. I'm just saying I find more gay people I relate to on a basic level here than other places I've been. And I most enjoy the company of people who do not drink, smoke, or watch harsh or vulgar entertainment. Needless to say, the prominence of LDS cultural influence here fosters many such mostly 'well-behaved' gay boys who most people probably would just explain away as "soft male" or "a nice guy". Ladies and gentlemen, many (not all, but many) of your soft male, nice guys you probably just think of as remarkably sensitive and respectful of women are, in fact, homogays. Or, to put it more mormon-culturally correctly, they have an unusually strong affinity, sexual or romantic or otherwise, towards members of the same sex and/or gender.

Now, I'm not about to hook up with some hot stud on the street or give a little wink to hot "Number 7" (that's his shirt--"7") at the gym. If the really cute guy with the amazing physique and a seemingly great personality came up to me in the sauna and offered to make out, I'd tell him to back off and find someone more sexually desperate than myself, and his slutiness would probably kill most, if not all, of any attraction I felt.

The danger lies with the "nice boys", of whom there are many here. Temptation is more subtle and enticing with those with whom I feel comfortable. Maybe this is what people are talking about when they say girls feel free to make out with a boy, around here, if they feel a garment line. I always used to say, "How twisted is that?" Maybe I get it now, to some extent.

So there you have it. Is San Francisco a safer place for your average moho than Mormonville? To me, it just might be. Who knew?

Afterthought: Having seen melodramatic over-reactions to other people's blog posts on occasion, let me just prevent such by clarifying that no, I am not referring to anyone in particular, and no, I am not on the verge of fornicating with a nice mormon gay boy or trying to do so. You needn't lock up your friends and neighbors to protect them from the irresistible seduction of O-Mo. I think this was sparked by a conversation or a 'gym epiphany'. I get those sometimes. There's a lot of time to reflect on matters of life between sets at the gym. And there's a lot of eye-candy at my gym to spark reflection on the gayer matters of life...

15 July 2007

Moho Road

We've sent our investigators across the globe, combing the world for further signs of far-reaching knowledge and awareness of mohodom.

Our most recent discovery is sent by an affiliated investigative researcher (Addendum: We shall call the secret investigator "Tara" and thank her immensely for her sacrifices to obtain said photo at great peril) who reports to an agent we shall call "Greg" for anonymity's sake. This image shows the support and commitment of the Hawaiian people for mohos everywhere: Moho Road.

We're on the map, baby.

Addendum: check out this post for more information.

Changing Orientation vs. Maturing

So...a random but not-so-random thought I've not blogged about yet: to what extent are some of the changes people undergo regarding their same-sex attraction attributable to orientation, and to what extent are they attributable to finally leaving behind the angst and intensity of teenage-style sexuality?

Maybe a tiny bit more explanation is called for. A lot of the time, when I hear guys (sorry, ladies--I haven't spoken with many of you) talk about how they feel like they're changing, it's framed in the context of not wanting sex with every attractive guy at the gym or not fooling around with their gay friends anymore. So because they no longer have a seemingly uncontrollable urge to get it on with every attractive guy they meet, they consider themselves somehow less homo than before.

Now pardon my bluntness, but isn't that simply what we call maturing? I really don't mean this to belittle those changes in any way. They're great, they're very important, and they're huge to the person undergoing them. I love seeing those changes in people because I'm pretty sure their quality of life will improve, and they'll have more control over themselves.

This thought was partially spurred by an old radio interview I heard a part of today in which the interviewer asked the "ex-gay" mormon subject how he reacts when he sees an attractive male. He responded with a sufficiently vague response about being able to appreciate the beauty of all people, male or female, and I just didn't know what to do with that response. It seemed entirely evasive. He and his mom made some valid points about our culture's oversexualization of attraction, but I was just left feeling like the question went completely unanswered, which is how I sometimes feel when talking to people who have undergone reparative or otherwise change-oriented therapy. It seems they have gained control over their appetites but are afraid to then examine their remaining attractions honestly. This isn't the case with ALL people I've discussed it with, mind you. But it most often is.

So I guess that's it--just how much is an actual change in sexual orientation or diminishing of attraction, and how much is simply a maturity most people reach at an earlier age?

Bill O'Reilly Strikes Again

I personally bristle at probably the majority of what Bill O'Reilly says, partially because of what he's saying, and mostly because of how he says it. Nevertheless, my beloved roommate is struggling--and we, his roommates, are trying to help him--with a growing Fox News addiction, so The O'Reilly Factor was on the other night, and I was subjected to his inflammatory rhetoric, and it was a doozy of a night.

They were discussing "gay gangs" and a story of someone who was badly beaten by a supposed gang of lesbians. The guest he was discussing this with insisted there was no proof it was a "gang" but was a group of women. So Mr. Bill quickly retorted with something like, "OK, fine, not a gang. A pack of lesbians..."

My eyes widened at the hugely offensive nature of his comment in a moment of disbelief and amazement that he could be so viciously inflammatory. Then I remembered who I was watching, and I could only gawk in amazement. "No Spin Zone" indeed.

Yet I'm only human--I cracked up until I cried.

14 July 2007

The Winds of Change

I never did post this when I first wrote it several weeks ago, so I thought I'd post it now.

I feel them. I'm not sure when or to where or for what, but I feel the winds of change. I have for a while now. It hasn't gone away, this feeling so appropriately matched by the fresh, warm breeze rushing through the living room window behind me as I type this out. I feel I could change jobs easily. I could move to another city, even one in which I know nobody. I love where I live, but I could move too. It's that feeling of being cut loose and floating in space above a world of limitless opportunity but being so high above the earth that none of those opportunities are clear. OK, so the feeling is hard to describe, and I'm tired. The imagery isn't really working.

Sitting in the gym today, numb to the temptation of the beautifully sculpted physiques being flaunted in sleeveless splendor and a bit bored with life in general (yesterday I felt great...maybe I have a chemical or emotional imbalance going on...or just have plenty of emotion secretly wrapped up in my friendships and interactions), I realized this is a familiar sensation, this liberation of the winds of change. It seems to often come when I'm just beginning to find depth in friendships and falling into a routine.

I hate routine. It sucks the life out of life. Is this why I'm such a vagabond? I crave change yet often fail to actively make change in my life. I defy myself in a way. Yet I value my friendships greatly. I love my friends but want other experiences...so I move on and maintain the closer friendships, albeit from a distance, while distancing myself from the more challenging ones.

Maybe it comes when I feel like those around me are moving on when I am not. Maybe I just want to abandon the game to avoid being the guy who's left behind. Geographically. Emotionally. Socially. Developmentally.

Or maybe it just really is time. Maybe I've experienced what I was supposed to experience here ("here" meaning in my current situation, not necessarily geographically), and I'm being released for my next journey. Up until just a couple of weeks ago, I felt there was still a reason for my being here, that I was to stay a while longer. I haven't felt that much at all lately.

I'm not saying I'm about to pack my bags and trek off to uncharted lands. But it is interesting to me how these things work, and I do wonder how much of it is simply my M.O. Arrive at the new place. Experiment: what can I conquer? Can I get a job? Can I assimilate into the culture? Can I challenge some norms? Can I make good friends? Can I keep them? Then when I feel like I've pretty much conquered my curiosities, I'm bored. The experiment is over. And I'm ready for another. I have to ask myself that. It's not about being non-commital; it's about getting bored.

I'd bet I'm exhibiting some sort of classic textbook homo symptoms, here. Feel free to enlighten me. *wink*

Note: I since have not really felt this to any strong degree. I'm just left with the memory of it and the puzzlement over what to do with it. True to form, I have done nothing proactive to figure it out. *sigh* So I'm left to wonder if I haven't felt it because an opportunity has passed, or if I just needed to be spurred by it and now it's up to me, or maybe I'm just to wait and see what's around the bend. But I can't know which of those options is true, so for now, I'm just keeping my eyes open and looking for opportunities.

01 July 2007

Desire Assuaged by Familiarity

My previous post, Sexualized Attraction, is related to another discussion going on in the online group at the time I posted it. I've included some of those comments along with additional thoughts, so this entry is a hybrid of old and new ramblings:

I've seen other mohos say they're surprised how diminished an attraction has become when they actually get to know the object of their affection, and the object becomes a person. I've experienced the same thing. Heck, it happened at the last shindig at the Matises' (no offense to the hottie of whom I speak, who probably will never read this anyway *wink*). And yet I've questioned, isn't that pretty much what happens anyway, gay or straight? You want most what you can't have or what is, in your ignorance, able to be idealized, and when you get it, it's not the fantasy you might have pictured, and reality sets in. It doesn't mean the attraction wasn't real and romantic. I think most of us have also experienced the opposite, where the more you get to know the object of your affection, the more attractive they become. But most people aren't going to connect that well with everyone, so the majority of attractions probably will diminish as you get to know the person and realize you don't mesh as well as you'd hope but can still be friends.

As for getting to know someone you're attracted to (thereby alleviating the sexual tension created by your overactive idealizing imagination when reality stifles your passion), I think I tend to err towards excessive caution. I have, at times, over-focused on the attraction until it has interfered with the development of perfectly healthy friendships with other guys. When I was younger, I wasn't good at relating to other guys at all. Then, before my mission, I got better at it, and by a year or so after my mission, I really felt like one of the guys like never before.

But when I really faced my attraction to members of the same sex and began to deal with it head-on, my ability to develop those friendships seemed to freeze a bit for a while. I could still have and make guy friends to an extent, mind you, but I was letting the whole "when will homosexual feelings or prejudices about homosexuality come into play?" attitude stifle normal interactions. I probably still do sometimes. I've become more comfortable with "straight" guys again. Now, it's more a matter of remembering how hetero guys relate and interact fairly differently from homos. *grin*

I may have a tendency to be cautious, but on the other hand, I'm no longer afraid of my attraction to other guys. Call me past feeling, if you will, but I figure attraction is something I don't necessarily always have control of, so if I happen to find myself becoming so physically attracted that I'm likely to make an idiot of myself, I just back off and take a mental cold shower. Don't ask how.

And there has been the very occasional friend I wished wasn't so freaking hot so I could hang out with them without always wanting a striptease (though I've never felt that way with my closer friends...maybe because I only let myself get close to the less hot ones? *wry grin*). But even with the freaking hot ones, the more I hang out with them in small groups where we actually interact, the less I want to shove money in their G-string and the more I begin to think of them in a fraternal sense. It hasn't always worn off completely, but it becomes more manageable.

So back to the earlier question: is it really that different for heteros? I'm not so sure it is. Maybe a hetero could comment on this...if any ever find, let alone read, my blog. *wink*

Sexualized Attraction

While I was reading through more old journal/discussion group entries, I found the following which I thought might be of some use for my humble blog:

Fall 2005

After a recent fireside, I went to someone's house to hang out, and lo and behold, the guy I couldn't take my eyes off at the post-fireside 'mingle' was there. "Of course he would be here," I thought, "Great, I wonder if he caught me admiring him after the fireside? How awkward." I had been captivated. This guy seems like one of those ideal types: intelligent, engaging, good-looking, nice, fit, spiritual, great smile, relaxed, fun...I mean, everything you're either attracted to or want to be, right?

I remember thinking it was silly I should have my attention so arrested by a guy, so I forced myself not to stare and instead glanced often. It was fun to see the way he seemed to woo the ladies...or was it that I was being wooed? It still sounds strange to even suggest that possibility 'out loud'.

I was flustered. They were all playing a card game I wanted to learn, but I felt hesitent to interact with the object of my attraction. I felt inadequate next to him. I felt worried my attraction would become obvious and reveal my 'SGA'. I wanted to just sit back and watch. But I realized I was being a boob and decided to bite the bullet and jump in the game.

I'm glad I did--it was a fun game! And as we played, the feeling of being distantly and powerfully drawn went away, and I realized he's somebody I could quite possibly be good friends with. I realized the 'attraction' I was feeling may have been mostly a desire to get to know a cool guy as a friend.

Yeah, he's a looker for sure. Yeah, I think some of the stuff he does is totally endearing. But I'm not so sure that type of thing has to be sexual or romantic. Have you never found habits of siblings totally endearing? Is that romantic?

A female friend of mine once brought up the concept of 'friend crushes,' where you're sort of infatuated with a new friend during a sort of 'honeymoon' stage until you spend enough time with each other for the newness to wear off. Does this mean you're romantically attracted to that friend? Not at all. It does mean there are many types of and elements to attraction, and they needn't all be lumped into 'romantic' or 'sexual'. This made me wonder how often I've over-reacted to my attraction toward other guys and how often I freaked out and ran away from potential friendships for fear I would awaken a monster inside of me and beecome a raging queen.

So my question: How often am I feeling sexual or romantic attraction, and how often am I sexualizing attraction? Sometimes, I'm just genuinely attracted to someone, male or female, in the sense that I would really like to get to know them and get close to them because they have qualities I like or would like to emulate. But because I'm aware of SGA, and that person may also be a physically attractive guy (and I may very well be sexually attracted, as well), I seem to have been ascribing, in a blanket way, inappropriate attraction I shouldn't pursue to completely healthy and appropriate attraction towards potentially beneficial friendships, which isolates me more from healthy, constructive male interaction in the process!

I'm not proposing same-sex attraction is nothing more than misplaced feelings of friendliness or longing for masculine identification. I'm not trying to get into a discussion of whether SGA consists largely of misplaced and twisted senses of attraction and attachment disorder and early weening and got-made-fun-of-too-much-for-being-a-wussy-boy and seeing your mother naked as a kid, yadda yadda yadda.

I'm just wondering if anyone else has found him- or herself wondering the same thing...am I blurring the line between sexual attraction and 'friendly' attraction? And could it be costing me perfectly healthy, normal friendships because I am unnecessarily afraid of being attracted?