23 January 2011

Heteros do it too (and what I really think about most therapy of homosexuality), Part 4

Back to Part 3

As for gay guys who "experience a decrease in homosexuality" after therapy, I know a lot of straight guys who had naive, unhealthy, or oversexualized attraction to women until they did this amazing thing as life, time, and experience taught them to do: mature. I imagine feeling like you wanna jump on every hot guy you see is downright troublesome at times. Tempering the overpowering sexual appetite aspect of attraction, or realizing that not every hottie is the one you want to be with forever, is refreshing and liberating. But I'm not sure it's that different from what straight men go through in their sexual and personal development.

Oh, and then there's that pesky issue of age. Funny how many guys I've known have experienced "diminished homosexuality" after their mid-twenties. Go fig, right? I wonder how my straight friends would feel about me calling their diminished sex drives and more mature perspectives on attraction and relationships "diminished heterosexuality"?

I wonder what straight men would think if you tried to tell them they fall for women because they want to internalize their traits, and that if they'd only become more sensitive and nurturing, learn to decorate and bake, and maybe even wear make-up once in a while, they'd feel a diminished attraction to women, having assumed those qualities for themselves and therefore not needing to seek them in sexual gratification.

Maybe they just need some healthy, non-sexual touch with mother-figure women (some who are young and very attractive) in a safely monitored environment, to get the intimacy they really want, and it's OK to get an erection as long as they don't use it and that they'll eventually get erect less and less as they practice this holding therapy more often, and the healing influence starts to hold sway. Maybe they'll never stop going to holding therapy, but as long as it still feels centering and grounding to them, and nothing sexual happens, it's all good. Don't let them think it's just about connecting on a trusting level with another human being. It's about healing wounds.

And they need to learn to overcome their nervousness in women's lockerrooms by going and just talking (without flirting) with the women in the lockerroom. If you straight men will approach a woman as a friend, constantly downplaying the perverse sexual attraction and reminding yourself that she's a daughter of God and a fellow human being not to be objectified, the sexual tension is diminished, and you'll find that she is a person you can relate to and be friends with rather than some Venus you want to possess.

Actually, there might be more healthy mixed-sex relationships if more men thought like that. Of course, if healthy mixed-sex relationships were viewed as wrong, we'd need more than that healthier approach to relationships to quell them and open straight men up to same-sex pairing because unless the woman he becomes friends with is a lesbian, one or the other of them is likely to crack and get all romantic at some point. So we should encourage friendships with lesbians, ideally. But for some reason, most straight men undergoing this therapy prefer straight women. We can deal with that, maybe.

Perhaps if they go shopping with women and do womanly things, they will learn to relate to women on a more natural, personal level rather than objectifying them as sexual idols. I'd bet certain men going through such programs would proclaim a "diminishment" of their heterosexual attraction as they learned to identify with rather than seek to possess women. Maybe they'd even experience an increased curiosity in men if you could raise them since birth in a world in which the bulk of society were built around facilitating and nurturing monogamous same-sex partnerships as favorable over other relationships. And if their family disapproved of them dating women, and laws didn't protect mixed-sex relationships, and some people got beat up or killed for being heterosexual, that might help motivate them to develop same-sex feelings even further. Tah-dah! They're changed to homosexual! Some of them, anyway. ...Or at least adapting consciously and behaviorally to what works best for their situation, upbringing, social and family life, legal status, and sense of security, even if it's not what they would have chosen had things been different.

And for those straight men who were able to find happiness in same-sex partnerships, why should they have to call that anything other than the hard-earned change it was? Why should they be blamed for the straights who couldn't go gay? Sure, there are many who get over their "experiment", realize they've been heterosexual all along and were just convincing themselves, and it breaks homes and tears apart (adopted) families, but their failures or self-deceptions are not the problem of the still-happily-married-to-a-man formerly-straight man who has shed the label "straight" because it doesn't seem appropriate for a guy who deeply loves his husband and is living a gay lifestyle and wouldn't have it any other way after 15 years of commitment, investment, intimacy, and happy memories. Ha, taking it too far? OK, retreating from the completely abstractly theoretical...

I think we're generally or often attracted to people whose traits complement and fulfill ours. I think that's why an "effeminate" (exhibits an unusual abundance of traits and/or behaviors/expressions more commonly exhibited by females of the species) but straight man is better off marrying a more "masculine" woman than trying to act more like other men and finding the ideal "feminine" wife to make himself feel more "masculine". One relationship is built on frank assessment of strengths and complementarity, while the other is built on creating a contrived persona and finding a complement to that facade. Yes, I said contrived because even though I do believe we can each develop certain traits and strengthen our weaknesses and adapt our behaviors, I do think there's something "right" about identifying one's core personality and innate (not needing constant effort and refinement) strengths and finding someone who complements THOSE. In that way, both people are reinforced in the best way, finding a true complement to their weaknesses and building and balancing each other accordingly. But maybe not everyone can afford that. Maybe I can't. Maybe there aren't enough people in the world who truly complement me, so I can either hold out for what I want and die single defending that conviction or put on the appearance of strengths and, as Tim Gunn says, "make it work", and see if a masterpiece doesn't come of it.

I guess part of what I'm getting at is that there are many gay men who, when they hear the prepackaged explanations about how gay men are attracted to men because of their ideal masculine traits, think, "Oh my gosh! That's so me! I do that! I've always felt like I lacked confidence, so I've idolized guys who had it! I've never been good at sports, so I've been attracted to athletic guys!" Well aside from those kinds of traits being generally attractive to most people, male or female, gay or straight, there's something very natural about being attracted to someone with traits that complement yours or might help you strengthen weaker aspects of your personality. Abundant romantic versions of this dynamic aside, there's no shortage of movies about the small, wimpy nerd befriending the strong, popular guy and learning from him while discovering he has a thing or two to teach him as well, and they become best friends because they grow from that friendship. I think your average therapy client regards that as how it should be, with his attraction being a perversion of that desire, and I think that's bullcrap. A lot of gay guys experience it because a lot of guys in general experience it. Same with the daddy issues. The gay guys just also had all this other stuff mixed in, not because it was the result of it but because it's just how it was. I guess it's a chicken and egg scenario, and everyone has to decide for himself whether he believes his homosexuality was really born of masculine detachment or whether he was experiencing a very normal growing pain with the added element of homosexuality from the beginning, exacerbating the feelings of being different, and not the other way around.

Continue to Part 5...


Anonymous said...

I do not know what your vocation in life is, but if you are not an attorney, you well should be. You write great arguments.

And, you make me laugh. Thank you!

love and respect, always.

Lee said...

With no intention of detracting from or marginalizing the seriousness of the subject at hand, I've known you since childhood, and I've ALWAYS believed you'd be a great attorney . . . and standup comic . . .

Evan said...

Wow.. My mind is blown. I've thought about so many of these arguments myself, but you put those thoughts into words so nicely. You also have brought up arguments I have never even considered. Keep at it.

Original Mohomie said...

Eh, it's been on my list of career possibility finalists. Along with gogo dancer. But between you and me, I think I'd make a better lawyer.

Original Mohomie said...

Evan, glad to hear it. I don't suppose my ideas are particularly mind-blowing to some people, but I published them with the hope that they might get some people thinking about things I think ought to be considered. Sometimes I have the tendency to assume everyone has seen and considered what I have, and I forget that's just not the case, and I haven't necessarily considered what they have, hence my desire to lay more of it on the table.