22 February 2009

Hypersexual Stint

In The Beginning...

When I first started meeting other mohos, it was all level and chill. We got along, no real drama, no pairing off, no awkwardness, mild flirtation was all in good fun. Then along came the one who was more "my type". And I crushed, and he crushed back. There was some pairing off. There was some awkwardness. Flirtation was no longer just fun; it was going somewhere. We decided it couldn't. We backpedaled. We got through it. My first mutual attraction with a guy, but not his. I found it easier to "move on" than he did. I could chalk it up to "I'm new and impressionable." He probably had fallen a little more eyes-wide-open than I had, so even though I truly cared for him, it was somehow easier for me to be pragmatic and practical about it: "we didn't want a relationship anyway, so we just have to turn that part of it off as much as we can."

Moho Supernova

Then I moved to the epicenter: Utah. I went to the Matises' and met dozens of new people, many of them attractive young gay guys close to my age. Go fig. At first, I was very reserved. I didn't know what to expect or whom to be wary of. I stayed a bit aloof, observing. I didn't want to "meet someone" or have another flingy thing. I just wanted to see what it was about, maybe meet some quality friends.

After the first couple of times going to the Matises', and feeling somewhat settled into social circles in Utah, I jumped in and flirted. I realized I could catch some people's attention, so I tried just to see if I was right but wasn't about to do anything about it. I knew people were watching here and there and might think me to be a wolf in sheep's clothing, but I thought, "What's the big deal? Have some fun and relax, and people will see you don't have to be sleeping around to be a little flirty and fun and comfortable with it." It was almost irresistible, this newfound ability to experience and even create sexual tension and flirtatious energy for the sheer fun of it, though I tried not to be whorish about it. I wonder how it was for my more established friends to watch me acting like a kid in a candy store? Were they disgusted? Slightly embarrassed for me? Understood it's just what many of us go through? Whatever they thought, I didn't much care because I was just doing what felt right at the time and enjoying the ride.

Looking back, I think I treated some good relationships dismissively to an extent because I was so distracted by the enjoyment of this enticing, flirty new world that I focused excessive attention on meaningless interactions that weren't going anywhere productive rather than working on developing lasting, meaningful friendships. I've never really been casual about friendships, and I don't think I was even during this more flitting, social butterfly time. But what I have done is ignored the more stable, deeper friendships because I know they'll just be there anyway, and all the new budding friendships (often with a hint of romantic and/or physical attraction) are just so fun that it's hard to resist.


Then of course there was the grand new world of cuddling...with everyone! OK, not everyone. If I was honest with myself, I had to admit that I generally cuddled with people I at least saw as somewhat attractive or adorable. But hey, it's all in good fun, no big deal, as long as it just remains innocent. It felt nice to connect with people in a way I'd never allowed myself to. And I'd never really gotten into much trouble cuddling someone. I could control myself, so others could, too.

In hindsight, there were probably situations in which my cuddle-lust made things awkward for others. I'd cuddle someone in the presence of a friend who wanted to cuddle but wouldn't allow himself, so he may have been quietly tortured. I'd cuddle someone who someone else in the room wished they were cuddling. I'd cuddle someone who felt more of an attraction than I did, challenging them to keep emotions or hands in check while I was blissfully unaware of their conflict. But I was too busy enjoying it to even notice. I like to think I would've cared had I noticed. But I wasn't all about other people and their feelings then, though I've never been totally nonchalant, I don't think. But it was mostly about fun. Besides, what are you going to do? Live in a convent or monastery to avoid emotional awkwardness? No, you adjust and deal with it.

An "Ah-ha"/"Hubba Hubba" Moment

One day, at the gym, I was looking around specifically to find the hotties, to scope out the tightest physiques. No, I intended not to take them home and play with them, and I was not about to pursue anyone in the locker room...ew. But hey, looking and enjoying was another thing, and I did it...almost incessantly. After twenty-some-odd years of forcing myself not to look because it might make me gay, I guess it's natural to soak it up. I don't think I was staring at people like some sort of creep, just taking in eye candy where I saw it and quietly raising an eyebrow or laughing at my own horniness.

I knew, at that time, I felt somehow "different" from how I'd been most of my life. I realized that I was not exactly seeing "people" around me. I was not seeing humanity. I was seeing flesh. Hot, sweaty, sinuous, sexy sexy sexy flesh, sometimes with a cute smile or dreamy eyes to boot. Before I'd "come to terms" with my sexuality and "allowed" myself to look and be attracted, I would look around a room and yes, notice some hotness, but I also focused on the person, who they are, how they acted, whether they seemed nice, genuine, in need, or sincere. If they didn't seem like someone I'd like to get to know, the hotness melted away. Now, I was skipping the eyes and apparent personality traits and going right to the pecs, the hair, the abs, the jawline, the butt... I felt almost perpetually intoxicated with sexuality. And it felt empowering and virile.

Looking Upon the Heart...Or the Butt

I knew, intellectually, that if I was going to find someone with whom to have the quality relationship I really wanted (particularly if it were to be with a girl), I needed to stop looking around with my lustful eyes and starting seeing souls, not just bodies. I needed to look into people's eyes and see who they are, not just at their shapes to see if I wanted to bounce pennies off of them. But despite that intellectual realization, I also realized I finally felt "normal" in a way, and I shrugged and thought, "It's not like I'd ever go fooling around with some random guy from the gym. I'd have to have a real connection of some sort and would still be monogamous. So what's the harm in looking around for the heck of it? I may not be looking beyond the surface most of the time, but I know it's the personality that matters most." But I realized that was something I was now having to force myself to remember instead of it being my natural way of seeing people.

I felt a tinge of disappointment that I might be reducing the people around me to objects of lust just as I'd hated other guys doing most of my life. I could no longer scowl at guys who didn't seem to grasp that a quality relationship does not necessarily begin with "I'd tap that" but instead only look for hotties because I was doing it, myself. Then again, most guys in their twenties probably aren't even interested in healthy relationships. They're interested in playmates and getting laid. Oh my gosh, was I on the path to becoming just another clueless, relationship-stupid dude?

Playing the field is a natural step to getting to know yourself and others and gaining skills for a longer-term relationship, but does playing the field mean dating people based mostly on sex appeal and finding out if they're real people underneath, the reverse of what I'd always thought appropriate? I'm pretty sure playing the field should still be with people you want to talk to, not just lick. But playing the field could include having a little sexual fun along the way, right? And I certainly wasn't getting any younger. Look at me, I'm still alright for my age. It'd be a shame to lose all of my attractive, energetic years without ever putting all of this to use. Am I really going to miss out on experiencing the heights of sexuality until my youth is spent or, worse, I've lost my body entirely? And what if there's nothing after death? And I never experienced that kind of intimacy with someone? Wait, was I really asking myself this? "Who have I become?" I wondered, "Just another guy thinking with his crotch?" And I laughed and shrugged because dang it, after twenty-some years of being so practical, I was allowed a little relaxing of the ol' laces, as long as I didn't ruin my integrity (i.e. act against what I believed for the sake of what I wanted) or hurt people in the process.

Looking For Love In All The Wrong Places

I always knew, in the back of my mind, I did NOT want to become like all these guys I saw around me cruising gay dating sites or MySpace for hours, looking for hot guys I might want to date or hook up with. If I were ever going to date, I wouldn't want to talk about my dates only in terms of how good-looking they are or whether they're good kissers or good in bed (straight and gay guys alike do this) but rather talk about their actual, personal qualities. I did not want to join what seems a frivolous, empty world of models and hook-ups and drunken clubbing and orgies in the mountains. And I couldn't imagine looking at relationships, even casual dating, as anything other than personal and at least somewhat substantive, but I've never been ready to decide to have a "real" relationship, either. That made it tough to even think of having the fun I thought I'd like to have. Curse my inability to be more casual with relationships! Why couldn't I just see making out like I saw flirting: something you do that's fun but doesn't have to go anywhere or involve "real" emotions?

Sobering Up

After a while, probably somewhere around a year, I realized that I was not portraying and magnifying the parts of myself I most valued and respected, and I had "had my fun" enough to sober up a bit. Realizing that I didn't want to dive into the realm of sexual experimentation or actual dating helped me realize there was only so long I could play around before I was known far and wide as nothing but a tease. I was very glad I hadn't crossed certain boundaries in certain moments of abandon that would not have matched the nature of the relationship, even though I had really wanted to. I admit part of me still wonders, "what if I had _____ when I had the chance?" but I'm still glad I didn't, given it might have inaccurately shifted my perceptions, been against my beliefs, and put someone in a tough situation I didn't want him to be in (either ecclesiastical/academic sanctions or lying about it to avoid them).

Stop the Insanity

I started changing my habits, once I was actually ready to let go of the "fun" of them. I flirted less. I had come to realize a couple of things: 1) I flirted as a way of "toying" with the idea of more without actually following through, and 2) some of the people I flirted with actually intended to follow through, unlike me. I decided I didn't want to send signals that misrepresented my own intentions or messed with anyone else's emotions. I'm not on a total flirt fast, mind you, but I am more discriminating. I started cuddling less: physical affection often promotes development of attractions and passions I didn't want to develop, either in myself or in others, unless we intended to do something about it, which I did not. I hadn't been sufficiently sensitive to that. I decided to keep cuddling to a real, friendly expression of affection and connection with people I'd known for a while and with whom I felt fairly certain things wouldn't get complicated. I've fudged that rule here and there, but in general, I'm more judicious. Sometimes, I've momentarily questioned my wisdom when I've passed up the opportunity to be pressed up against hotties I didn't feel close to but who appeared willing. Dang.

I also decided that at the Matises', for example, I'd look for someone who looked sort of quiet and alone, someone I wasn't at all attracted to but who obviously could use someone to talk to them. I used to be so sensitive to the underdog, the outcast, or the shy kid. But I'd gotten caught up in less significant, more self-serving interaction as a habit. I also made a point to reconnect with those people with whom I felt I had related in important ways. And life started feeling more whole again as I started acting not out of attraction but out of compassion and as I tried to not just follow my natural inclination to talk with cute, fun-looking people but to act deliberately and try to find worthwhile, meaningful interaction.

Another "Ah-ha"

Well, the other day, I looked around the gym, and I realized I was seeing people, not shells. Don't get me wrong, I still notice the hotties and bite my knuckle at times. Hey, it's gotta be done. But it's not the same. I think I'm coming to a confluence of the two. Perhaps it's because I never let myself fully jump on the flesh-focus bandwagon and tried to keep that in check. Perhaps it's because I'm feeling in need of quality connection myself and am therefore more sensitive. Perhaps it's because not long ago, I fell for someone I probably wouldn't have looked twice at on the street but for whom I nonetheless felt so much affection and even passion as I got to know him, and it was hit home that I would never trade a person I loved for a shell that turned me on. Perhaps it's just the natural course of things for someone my age, with a decreasing sex drive and diminished "newness" in this whole "Whoa! I'm attracted to men!" thing. But whatever the reasons, it felt really good to feel more human again.

And the Cycle Continues...

I look around and see newbies going through similar phases. We all seem do to it differently and on different timelines. Some seem to embrace the hypersexuality as what they believe they've been all along but were just stifling for the sake of fitting the mold or playing by the rules they never really believed anyway. Some seek out short-term relationships based on a high schoolish, hypersexual approach rather than acting their age and seeking out long-term relationships, even though they claim to want more. Some go full boar into sexual experimentation, sometimes as uber-sluts, sometimes monogamously, and then decide it's not what they really want and go back to a more tempered, personality-focused approach, sometimes with dating guys, sometimes with dating girls, sometimes only with friendships because they aren't ready to decide what to do or have decided to embrace celibacy. Some experiment even less than I did but let loose with flirting and maybe a cuddle here and there, and that's enough for them to figure things out. We all have our processes, I guess.

I do figure I have some more adolescence to work through. Sometimes I wonder whether I have yet to go through more phases, like maybe a "college" phase of sexual adolescence, with more temptation to face, more beliefs to sort out and sift through, and more decisions to make. I just count myself lucky that my sex drive is likely only decreasing from here. As for you late teens or early twenties folks going through all of this, all I can say is good luck, boys.


Matt said...

I like hearing about your past experiences. Not sure why, but there you have it. :)

Alan said...

Insightful, perceptive and wise. Many of us have been through similar stages. Thanks for sharing.

Ned said...

Great post! Thanks for sharing so many insights. Perhaps because I'm well into my fifites, I found your thoughts on aging somewhat amusing as you implied that your temptations might ease considerably in the next few years.

Sure there's evidence that men beyond their forties have less testosterone than someone in their twenties, but in my case (and apparently many others) it's not THAT much less.

Not only can a man often father children into his seventies or beyond, he can also enjoy all the sensations involved in the process, perhaps even more so. It's not just the physical thrill but the context which is made richer by the passing of time and the accumulation of life's experiences.

I'm lucky that I tend to crush only on straight guys. Perhaps someday my luck will run out before andropause catches up with me and I will face some real temptation in someone who feels as attracted to me as I am to them.

Or perhaps there will be a sharp drop in my libido and I'll be safe. I can just tell you that at this point it hasn't happened yet. :)

One Thousand Otonos said...

I enjoyed this from a completely different viewpoint. I went through an extensive nerd and "ugly duckling" phase, and upon emergence into being thought pretty, I experienced almost exactly these same actions/emotions/illuminations. (Upon reflection, I regret that I was in some of my more shallow "come what may" "get it while it's hot" moments when I first made your acquaintance.) Ah well, we all go through phases in our own time--hopefully just the once for the more shallow times! This was refreshingly 3D compared to the 1D "safe" version of you I initally knew back in the day.