I was recently hanging out with someone for the first time since meeting him, and I felt the urge to kiss him. I felt the urge pretty strongly. To be frank, I was having quite a horny week. I also felt the urge to pull his shirt off and appreciate his beauty with my eyes, my hands... I'm inclined to think, judging from body language and what was said, that it could have happened. Wondering whether he would reciprocate was not the issue. We were very close on the couch; a kiss was a matter of inches. Body language was indicating openness.
But I had prepared for this possibility. I knew I found him physically attractive and that we would likely end up close while watching a movie. I kept friends around to "keep it real" and keep me accountable. I reminded myself that I only just met the guy and that to breach certain physical boundaries too quickly would be to entertain physical attractions that were more intense than the emotional attractions or rationale. I kept boundaries enough to not lose my brain about things as I had done to some degree in the past. There's something to be said for not stifling life with excessive reservation, but there's something to be said for not stifling life with excessive abandon.
Maybe it was the horniness, or maybe I was just recently "over" certain feelings/reservations enough, but I was feeling very flirtatious for the first time in a long time. I knew that I needed to be "wise" about this because my hormones surely would be urging me along. I knew that when the hormones took back burner again, reason would set in and remind me that I'm not ready to decide, in my more sober moments, to pursue a gay relationship, so I'm certainly not ready to snatch the benefits of one without actually having one, as if that's some sort of compromise for being unfairly denied such a relationship. Really, the way I see it, whether or not I was to remain active in the church, I'd want to maintain caution and deliberation in physical matters because I think too many people go about relationships bass-ackwards, especially among gay circles. Call me nutty, but I think guys often stink at developing real, genuine relationships because they're too busy thinking with their crotches. But I'm digressing, as I so often do.
I talked to the guy that night and the next day about various things, and among other conversation topics, I addressed a few things:
a) My holding back was not for lack of impulse or rejection of him but was done simply to maintain boundaries I feel the need to keep right now.
b) I don't think cuddling equals having a relationship, but I also am not interested in using anyone for my own gratification because they're attractive and available and am not interested in being used that way, not that I thought that was his intention. I'd just like to build friendships without any confusion potentially caused by physical affection, and I acknowledged that it may seem weird or prudish, but that's where I am right now, take it or leave it.
c) I find him interesting and am open to getting to know him better, regardless.
d) I'm not ready to act against the doctrines and practices of the church (of which, by the way, he is not a member) by pursuing a same-sex partnership, so I have to be honest with myself and others about that fact and try to avoid sending or getting mixed signals or "toying" with the idea without intending to follow through if anything DID develop.
That is one of the harder things to get the gumption to say. It's so much more fun when I can flirt and cuddle and wonder where this might go but then put the breaks on as needed when things start to speed a little too fast. It's blissful keeping things ambiguous and tense, teasing and enticing just to see what might happen. It's much less fun to come out in the open with the fact that my flirtations are not intended to go anywhere and to dispel any hopes the flirt-partner might have of having a little tumble, as bad or arrogant as that may sound. Believe me, I don't think all every guy I meet wants is a piece of this. It's just something I'm more aware of and cautious about than I used to be for various reasons.
Keeping the curiosity alive is very fun and very effective when it comes to maintaining a male's interest, I think. But I've had a couple of friends actually get burned out by my persistent flirtation that never really went anywhere. They "didn't know what to do with me". I thought lots of people flirt that way, just for fun with no intention of follow-through. I guess I was wrong--there's most often a little expectation of follow-through. There's my naivety. And aside from that, I am generally not interested in friendships based on that kind of flirtation anymore.
After getting everything more in the open, the fantasy, day-dreamy quality of the crush went away, which is always interesting to me because it feels somewhat like being released from a spell you were rather enjoying. Part of me thinks I'm just really fickle to be crushing on a guy one day and then done crushing two days later, but another part of me thinks I'm just more proactive in making decisions with both my heart and my head and less with just my penis.
You know, some people might say you shouldn't over-think things when there's an attraction involved and should just enjoy the ride life offers you. But as I see it, I for one am not in danger of my penis not having a fair say in any decision-making process. That ol' boy is gonna make his opinion known whether anyone likes it or not. Seriously, guys, most of us do NOT have to worry about our nads sitting quietly by and being ignored. I can't remember a time when I've looked back and thought, "Oh, hm...yup, my mind got carried away, and I ignored the good advice my penis was trying to tell me all along."
Now, the heart is another matter and is more easily ignored by heady folks such as myself, and I'm trying to ignore it less. I think there's a balance to be struck between the heart and the mind, as both have their blind spots, and both truly matter. So maybe there's a trick in recognizing the difference between matters of the heart and matters of "let's get it on".
In any case, regardless of where such a friendship were to go in the future or if anything should ever develop, it felt good to feel I'd been deliberate and accountable in my decisions without pretending like I didn't want what I wanted. I think that's what "keeping it real" means to me.