23 January 2008

Is It Really Just About Sex?

I had a conversation with a heterosexual friend (a mobro?) a few weekends ago in which he probed with questions about how much I put myself in situations where I could connect with a girl to whom I could potentially be attracted. He talked about his marriage and how he didn't have some of the chemistry, perhaps, with his wife that he has had with other girls, but that he is fully committed to the relationship and how it's the communication and commitment that matter most. He talked about how men tend to objectify and focus more on the physical aspects of relationships than is helpful or healthy and that those are going to fade anyway. He mentioned some other things. What he said was good, and most of it rang true, even if the application was hazy.

I told him I understood what he was saying, and on an intellectual level, it makes a lot of sense. I understand choosing to invest in a relationship and basing it on deeper principles of communication, trust, commitment, respect, pure love/affection, etc., and letting go of the transient, temporary feelings of "chemistry" and infatuation. I think, at least, I understand that.

But I also told him that it's not just the physical that is different. It's the most obvious, describable difference, but it's not all there is to it. Why is this so hard for so many people to understand? They think it's just a sexual preference, nothing more, and since sexuality fades with age, why not just stick to what's important? Is that all it is? Really?

It doesn't feel like it. But is that mainly because I've had that "sexual preference" for so long that I've trained myself to wrap up all romantic attraction and point it in the direction of my penis? Or has it just taken this long to strip away the cultural constructs enough to realize that my attraction to members of my gender is more than a sexual thing?

Maybe that doesn't matter. In the end, isn't it really the part of us that chooses which determines our direction and places value in that in which we invest?

Still, my friend had mentioned that he had a friend with whom he seemingly effortlessly connected, and they used to joke about how life would be easier if only they were gay and didn't have to worry about finding a girl, and how that was an example of how you can have a great relationship without a sexual component (because, being straighties, they didn't feel a desire to get it on with each other). I asked him to consider what it might take for him to marry this close male friend and make babies with him (assuming physiology cooperated with such an endeavor), then, if that's what his religion and society demanded. He didn't seem stunned by the thought, but he didn't have much to say about it, either. I'm sure we would've continued the conversation, which I was finding very intriguing, but we ran out of time and each had to go. Maybe later.


One of So Many said...

It is truly more than sex. This attraction IS based on love. For some reason that love is made available in a relationship that isn't "the norm" it seems.

No matter how much my wife and I may be friends...there's always something missing for me in the relationship...true love. I know it sounds cheesy, but it's like there is something missing that would complete the relationship and it just isn't there.

It makes it really hard most times.

Peter said...

No. No, it is really not just about sex.

Although, sex and attraction is not something that a good relationship can really do without. Ask any straight Mormon male who doesn't know you are gay if being attracted to a girl is important before you pursue something with her and he will say yes. The spark is important.

P.S. I LOVE the term mobro and vote for it becoming regular terminology amongst mohos.

MoHoHawaii said...

I think "sexual orientation" is a weak term for something that is so deep inside of us. For me, it's about who I can take as my partner in life to share my heart and my bed until I die. For me, that person has to be a sweet and gentle man.

On the other hand, the sex part of the equation is more flexible. I predict that I still could perform sexually with a woman if it came to that. However, I could not fall in love with her, no matter how hard I tried.

It's hard for our straight mobros to get this. Their little mobro hearts just beat faster for women, and that informs their perspective on this topic. We don't hold it against them.

You might say that we claim the privilege of loving the Object of our Heart's Desire and allow all men the same privilege, let them love how, where, or what they may.

Shades of Gay said...

I like the blog.

Post-It Boy said...

I have a Mobro who I talk to on occasion. A rather liberal thinking, very intelligent straight married guy. He finds it interesting that while HE can imagine having a close emotional relationship with a man which COULD end up as a romantic or sexual relationship---although he doesn't lean that way---he thought it was interesting that a romantic and especially sexual relationship with a woman, to me, was not even something I'd consider.

I don't think marriage is all about sex. Nor do I think our Moho-ness is about sex. There's something deeper at play in both situations--our sexual preference and marriage with a woman. There's like a missing chunk from my brain which doesn't grasp what I'd need to do to get married any more than what I'd do to figure out why I am attracted to Orlando Bloom over Keira Knightley.

And yet, I still know Keira is gorgeous. I just would rather brush her hair than make out with her probably.