Saturday, March 10, 2012

Of Self, Sex, Love, and Relationships

I ask the question, “Why?” I keep thinking about why I would be attracted to other men, why I would always have had this inner wish when I was little to have been born a girl, why I would have so much difficulty throughout all of life relating to other men, why God would so strongly disapprove of me being in a romantic relationship, and I can’t help but wonder for what purpose it is all for. Why, of all things to struggle with in life, do I have to struggle with gender identity/sexual orientation issues? Why not something a little more common that doesn’t influence the very nature of my being? Why not just pornography, masturbation, greed, gluttony, anger, alcoholism, lust, jealousy, etc.? Not that any of these things are any less difficult to fight or deal with, but none of them bring into question the physical aspect of who you are. No, I have to struggle with the very nature of my identity as a human being. I don’t feel nor think of myself in very masculine terms most of the time, even though I do recognize many of the masculine traits I do have. A lot of the time, I don’t relate fully to being male or female, but something in between. And that in between reality pulls me in both directions so much of the time. I know I am male, and I like that I’m male, but my mind and perception of self is so female it isn’t even funny. This impacts the way I relate to others in virtually every possible manner, including sexuality.

When I think of sex, it is not at all from the typical heterosexual male’s point of view. On the contrary, my first instincts are very much alike to the typical heterosexual female’s point of view (me being in one of maybe three sexual positions with a man on top of me). And, also, like the typical heterosexual woman, even though there is certainly physical pleasure to be enjoyed during sex, it is the closeness to the person making love to me that I desire the most (this isn’t to suggest that no straight men feel the same in this regard—remember I’m talking about instincts and I’m basing this off of past conversations with straight men and women). That’s what I think of whenever sex comes to mind. Those are my first instincts, and that’s pretty much always been the case (spare for a select few occasions).

I’ve had sex with three different people in my life. I know that may come as a shock to some of you, but it is the truth I have to live with, and I do feel regret for. When I was twelve years old, I became sexually active with a boy that was a couple of years younger than me. For the most part, we were only experimenting with each other. We were learning about sex together. I know this had little to do with attraction, but I was still drawn to do those things with him. It just seemed natural to want to, and he was willing.

Sometime during this two year course, I also had sex with a girl. That was a onetime event, which I have no illusions about—I wanted to prove to myself I could be with a girl.

Neither of these people do I wish I’d have had sex with, and I know they feel the same. I wasn’t in love with either of them, nor did either of them love me. But I look back at that time in my life and see how incredibly stupid I was (and how stupid they were too). The things I did during those two years filled me full of regret, sorrow, and self-hate. I layered those feelings on top of me for years. I knew it was just about sex, wanting that physical pleasure.

I allowed those feelings to pretty much diminish any thought of ever actually being with anyone in any sort of relationship. I just thought there wasn’t much real possibility of that happening. But, in spring of 2010, I began (reluctantly) dating a woman that I went to school with. I wrote about that relationship many posts back, calling her Eve.

I loved Eve. There was a lot about her to love. But that relationship fell apart. This happened for many reasons. The biggest reason was just that we didn’t have any of the same long term goals for our lives. Even though we knew this, we still wanted desperately to be together in the short term.

Eve was the third person I became sexually active with. I could give a lot of excuses for why this came about, but I won’t. This was just another reason our relationship fell apart though. After awhile she thought she’d become pregnant. Like most people hearing this sort of news, we wizened up more than a lot. I know both of us really looked much more seriously at the relationship we had. It turned out that she wasn’t pregnant, but we both realized we’d made some very wrong decisions. We both knew that neither of us was willing to give up some of the dreams we’d carried for ourselves for so long. And if that was true, then we never should have allowed ourselves to go so far with each other. She accepted, before I did, that if we weren’t going to be with each other in the future, then we shouldn’t continue being with each other at all. And that’s why she broke up with me.

I was devastated when that relationship ended. I know I really did love Eve. And I know she really did love me, too. We’re still on good terms with each other. But in hindsight, I know the love we had was, at least in part, conditional. I also know there were problems with our relationship extending beyond those I’ve already mentioned. I was never really able to feel comfortable being physically intimate with her, in any regard, or to ever lead in that relationship, even when she wanted me to. I couldn’t be what is required for that sort of relationship—physically or relationally. I felt so awkward so much of the time, as though I was a straight woman trying to be with another woman. It just seemed to completely unnatural for me to be with her. This inner sense kept coming up while we were together. I often think Eve recognized this, too, though she never said anything. She did know I was attracted to other men, and was always very understanding about that. But I do think it impacted our relationship. And I never thought it was very fair to her.

I learned several things from that relationship though. One was that sex can ruin something beautiful. Another is that just because you’re in love doesn’t mean you have to have sex. And a third is that I will never again have sex with anyone unless it’s the person I’m going to spend the rest of my life with—and I’ll give that more than a few months to figure out—because the pain of doing otherwise is just too great.

I also learned a great deal about myself though. I was able to see how a relationship with a woman could be possible. It could work, and I won’t rule out the possibility of that ever happening again. But I do see how unfit and unmatched I was for that sort of relationship. I know I was always on the wrong end of it. My best match is to be with another man, romantically and relationally speaking—that’s what works. Being with Eve, I saw that more clearly. I also saw who I really want to be with.

I’ve suppressed my love for a male friend for a very long time now. I loved him even while I was with Eve. And, unlike with Eve, I know the love I have for him is unconditional. We’ve had many ups and downs, but our friendship has survived (longer than any other I could mention). I think he is handsome, though I doubt few others would think of him beyond average. He is smart and witty. He loves to write and talk about religion and politics. I love that he challenges me in my thinking, that he is always patient with me, always willing to listen, always willing to be there for me. And I love his faith in God. We have so many things we share in common. And I know if I could choose one person to spend the rest of my life with, he would be my pick. I would choose to give everything of myself to him, without regret, and I don’t doubt that for even a second.

It hurts knowing how much I love him, knowing I’ve found the person I want to spend the rest of my life with, knowing that he could share those same feelings with me, but knowing that that can never happen. I’ve struggled so much trying to figure out how to respond to this love. It is not just the love for a friend. It is beyond any measure a romantic love as well. It’s both, really. I want to be able to look him in the eyes and tell him I love him, and for him to know that beyond God, that holds most for him. I want to be able to come home to him every day. I want to embrace him. I want to hold hands with him. I want to hear his voice and feel his presence every day. I want to take care of him when he’s sick. I want to grow old with him. I want to feel my soul connected with his. I want to do all those things a married couple can do together. And, yes, to even make love with him. And yet, I resist.

And I ask, “Why?” Why do I struggle with this thing? Why is it that I’ve come so far to learn so much what true love is all about, and to truly love someone in this manner, just to be told that it’s an unholy love that God would never approve of? Why is it so wrong for me to want to share myself with someone that I love so much? Why and for what purpose would God ever allow me to go through such a thing? Love is one of the greatest things in this world, something that Christ himself advocated more than anything else, and yet I’m denied the love of another?

I know I can be loved, but there are different kinds of love. I want to be able to love someone where I can give everything of myself—my body, my mind, my soul, my time, everything, and to know that it is all out of love. You can’t really love a friend like that. And there’s the difference. My struggle isn’t one of wanting sex. It is one of wanting to experience that sort of love and being told no, and that answer making no sense at all anymore.

I want to do what’s right, but I know I want to do it because it makes sense. Not just because it’s what I’ve always been told, which is based so much on what others have always thought, who had no real idea what sort of thing they were talking about. I don’t want to accept a teaching that I honestly do think may have come about only out of prejudice and misunderstanding.

I look at the story of Adam. God saw it wasn’t good for man to be alone, and yet He’s asking me to be alone? I look at Jesus’ commandment to love, and yet I’m told the greatest of loves isn’t okay for me? It just doesn’t make sense.

And so I struggle on trying to make sense out of it all.

13 comments:

naturgesetz said...

"It hurts knowing how much I love him, knowing I’ve found the person I want to spend the rest of my life with, knowing that he could share those same feelings with me, but knowing that that can never happen. I’ve struggled so much trying to figure out how to respond to this love. It is not just the love for a friend. It is beyond any measure a romantic love as well. It’s both, really. I want to be able to look him in the eyes and tell him I love him, and for him to know that beyond God, that holds most for him. I want to be able to come home to him every day. I want to embrace him. I want to hold hands with him. I want to hear his voice and feel his presence every day. I want to take care of him when he’s sick. I want to grow old with him. I want to feel my soul connected with his. I want to do all those things a married couple can do together. And, yes, to even make love with him. And yet, I resist."

The only thing I think you need to resist is that last bit about making love with him. As I see it, the rest of it is okay. You don't have to call it anything. You can just let it happen, if he's willing as well.

"Why is it that I’ve come so far to learn so much what true love is all about, and to truly love someone in this manner, just to be told that it’s an unholy love that God would never approve of?"

I don't think the love itself is unholy. All true love is of God, so God does not disapprove of any true love.

"Love is one of the greatest things in this world, something that Christ himself advocated more than anything else, and yet I’m denied the love of another?"

Of course the love that Christ was talking about wasn't simply romantic love. He was talking about the love of benevolence. That said, it seems you are conflating having the love of another and having sex with that other.

As I think I've said before, there have been people in my life that I wished I could be with forever, but I didn't think our happiness would require sex.

Brandon said...

N, I'm not sure what to think of your response. I know I can have love without sex. I know I can live without sex. I'm not confusing sex for love or love for sex. I want to be married. But I want to be married to another man. I'm in love with another man.

Imagine telling a straight man he can never marry a woman, and even if he did, he can never have sex with her. Why, for what purpose? How is what you describe two people coming together? And how in the world could I ever be so close to a man (based on what you said should be okay), and not eventually get weak enough to make love with him, because I guarantee it'd happen.

I don't understand. All I hear is that restricted friendship is okay, but that's it. Wanting to share everything of myself with him, including my sexuality, is too far. So friendship is the best I can ever hope for. But I want more than just friendship with someone.

gaypk said...

Hey Brandon,

Gaypk here. Don't know if you remember me (haven't been active in the blogosphere recently).

I've read you last few posts and I definitely get what you're saying. I feel almost the same way.

I've spent a large part of 4 yrs examining my faith. My motivation for this is due, in part, to a desire to know whether I'll ever be able to pursue a relationship with another man.

I hope to post more about that faith journey on my blog, but I can say that I'm not nearly confident enough in my faith or in my interpretation of Christianity to abandon all hope of a loving, lifelong relationship with another man.

In fact, if I were in your shoes (knowing I’ve found the person I want to spend the rest of my life with), I wouldn't hesitate to pursue that relationship.

Anyway, just my thoughts.

Brandon said...

Gaypk, of course I remember you! And I'm glad to see you're blogging again.

Yes, I have found the person I want to spend the rest of my life with. I'm torn between knowing whether or not being with him would be a sin though. If it is, then I'll do my best not to persue him, romantically. He's sort of in the same boat right now though, trying to figure things out. But if he asked me, I really don't think I'd be able to resist at all. At least it'd be the hardest question I'd ever have to say no to.

But like with Corrie Ten Boom, who I wrote about, I recognize he might not choose me for certain reasons. If that happens, then, like her, I will definitely have to pray and work on how to love him as just a friend.

It's good to hear from you. I wish you the best in your own journey, and will be keeping you in my prayers as you go through some of these same things. :)

Andy said...

Boy do I know what you're talking about!
Many times I ask God if this is really the best possible outcome.

It does not make sense to me either, but I simply cannot be convinced otherwise. So I am left really at a standstill.

I can tell you that every time I ask "why"; the answer that seems to come back almost uniformly (in different ways)is related in some way to service to others.

If I'll hazard a guess as to what I think God might be trying to say that my unique position puts me in a place where I can relate to the less fortunate. Same-sex attracted people could potentially be (that is, have the potential to be) the most considerate human beings around because of their unique experiences.

Andy said...

But who knows?

Just don't run ahead Brandon. Everything will work out better if you let God set it up.

And who else have you got in this world besides God?

TheTrutherSceptic said...

Hi Brandon,

Came across your blog & wanted to comment. Nice effort you have here. I invite you to read my profile on Zippcast: http://www.zippcast.com/user/TheTrutherSceptic

About the quandary you find yourself in, I'd like to offer my $0.02. Firstly, there are a LOT of things about SSA & its perceptions that come from the masses & the media that are UNTRUE. The glbt lobby has everyone is hysteria, partly due to society's (esp religion) failure to take care of these ppl and offer them support for their feelings.

Keep in mind that the majority of ppl who "come out", like celebs, that marine etc, do so under pressure from what their so-called friends. They know little about the facts of the issue, but cannot be blamed as they simply seek relief for what they THINK they understand.

SEcondly, you need to internallize the facts of your SSA and its nature; the http://narth.com site is filled with scientific info as well as real testimonies with strugglers that can help you. You MUST put your physical & mental health above the opinions of the masses.

Thirdly, only you can decipher what your SSA means, from where they originate and how you want to deal with them. This isn't an easy decision. Remember that feelings can & do change.

Whatever you do, you must remember to obtain the facts, keep healthy & understand yourself & your inner needs. No one can be blamed for feelings, experiences & life situation, so don't let that get you down. But act rationally & keep yourself safe.

I have some more info on this topic, but it's too much so I'd like to email it to you if you'd like.

TheTrutherSceptic said...

Hi Brandon,

Forgot to say that you should try not to feel bad about your past actions, but make certain that you LEARN from them; they only become mistakes when you don't learn from them.

Brandon said...

TS, thanks for commenting. I appreciate your concern. :)

Jack said...

I think he is handsome... He is smart and witty... I love that he challenges me in my thinking, that he is always patient with me, always willing to listen, always willing to be there for me. And I love his faith in God. We have so many things we share in common. And I know if I could choose one person to spend the rest of my life with, he would be my pick. I would choose to give everything of myself to him, without regret, and I don’t doubt that for even a second.

It hurts knowing how much I love him, knowing I’ve found the person I want to spend the rest of my life with, knowing that he could share those same feelings with me, but knowing that that can never happen. I’ve struggled so much trying to figure out how to respond to this love. It is not just the love for a friend. It is beyond any measure a romantic love as well. It’s both, really. I want to be able to look him in the eyes and tell him I love him, and for him to know that beyond God, that holds most for him. I want to be able to come home to him every day. I want to embrace him. I want to hold hands with him. I want to hear his voice and feel his presence every day. I want to take care of him when he’s sick. I want to grow old with him. I want to feel my soul connected with his. I want to do all those things a married couple can do together. And, yes, to even make love with him.


I find myself LITERALLY in the same exact spot with a friend of mine. It's uncanny how your words echo my own. As of right now, I've been honest with him concerning my feelings towards him, and we're just letting our friendship go it's "normal" course (whatever that looks like). For me, being honest with him will help both of us in the long run regardless of the decision we make concerning the furthering of our relationship; if we pursue each other, then he already knows how I feel about him so there's not that scary "what if he doesn't feel the same way" thing. If we just stay friends, he knows how I feel about him so appropriate boundaries can be set in place to keep our friendship healthy (though I don't want ANY boundaries with him).

I just wanted to say that I can relate.

Brandon said...

Jack,

Thanks for commenting. It's good to know I'm not alone in this sort of struggle. I wish you the best in your own journey.

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