Wednesday, July 7, 2010

11. Now, hold on a minute! What's the big idea?

Yep, this is what I intend to take on with this post, or more using this post to introduce the thoughts I will be address.

"What is the big deal with sex?"

What separates sex and enjoying sex, from breathing, eating, singing, breathing in helium and talking like a chipmunk? Sex is something our body does. Sex is supposedly something that our bodies are designed to respond to pleasurably, but sex has taken on a new identity in the light of culture and society.

One side says that sex and sexual desire is natural, therefore it is good and should be expressed appropriately. Another side says that sex and sexual desire is nature, therefore it is evil and should be overcome. Being a virgin, I have no practical understanding of sex. I can only judge based on what I have been told., however, I have severe issues with much of what I have been told. As I see it, both sides are idolizing sex in different ways. One group looks to sex for fulfillment, and one group treats sex as if it is a deity that wields ultimate power over our souls. Sex is not a magical force that unites people, at least not by itself. Celebrities would get divorced far less often, and my parents would have a much better relationship. Sex, likewise, is not the source of human purpose and satisfaction. If it was, we would have figured that out in the last millennium, and everyone would happily be going at it rather than reading self-help books and doing drugs and searching for God or religion.

So then why do we have such a need to restrict and limit sex? I can understand that at one point it was a health issue, but what about now? I can understand that at one point it was a property issue, but marriages and relationships have changed. What about the fact that There is the "why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free argument" but this is BAD BAD BAD. It implies that he is only marrying you for sex, and if it weren't for the fact that he had to put a ring around your finger to unlock the chastity belt then he would have no reason to make vows. (Although I guess she could be the more desiring of sex just to be fair...) Shouldn't it be possible to have sex with someone and still choose to marry them simply for the fact that you feel that you are compatible life partners?

I feel like every time I talk to my parents or other Christians, I get the same laundry response. Rinse and repeat, without thinking. Not that anyone of them will admit to having had the experience to qualify them to think about sex outside of marriage. So many things I hear from them seem like they should make sense, but they don't. Supposedly, God has to be at the center of my marriage, or it will fail, but non-Christians have successful marriages all the time, and Christians get divorced everyday. I wonder if they are wrong about sex. I need to research it more, but I actually don't remember an explicit rule against premarital sex in the bible. Leviticus has lists of people not to have sex with, but these all seem to be speaking to married men or address incest. There is mention of adultery, but isn't that only applicable to situations where one person is married; once you have committed yourself, you are committed. There is also "sexually immoral," but that is so subjective that I am not sure what to do with it; it sounds like it shifts with society's ebbing tide.

I need to pull out my topical bible when I get home and look up the term "fornication." If anyone has the answer to this quesion, by all means let me know.

So I consulted my friends who have experience: from my college friends to my 30ish Japanese speaking partners. I have not asked my mother because I know what she will say (only because she has said it to me already) and I don't want her to worry about a hypothetical possibility like a random hook-up. (I will wait to tell her in person in August.) Most of them saw it as a natural part of life experience. It has no relevance or lasting impact on their emotions beyond any other dating experience. Some even suggest that what they learned was important for their current relationships. They have no regret for their actions.

These, the people who have been-there-and-done-that are telling me something that conflicts with the authorities within my faith who seem to be telling more of what they have been told than what they have learned. (Ok, that sounds like such a prejudiced, biased statement.) Maybe I have not mentioned it, but I have a growing distrust of the organized church and the traditions within. Among that is this perception that Christians know everything and the rest of the world are fools. If ever there is a discrepancy between the world and Christianity, it is because they are deceived. Last time I checked, Christendom doesn't have the best record, or even a record that is better than average. But I digress, and tearing at the foundation of the modern church with my questions is probably a topic for another set of posts.

To address the above concerns most succinctly, maybe Christians feel guilty about their sexual experiences because they are told to, and cannot discuss these ideas in a healthy, open environment, but rather face the knee-jerk reaction of the Abstinence Machine. Maybe.

In the end I cannot know until I judge for myself. I have to be willing to step out and learn for myself without hiding behind the my fear of the anger and judgment of others. Even if this is wrong, I am ok with making a mistake in the name of self-examination and understanding. I won't shrivel up and die. Many others have premarital sex and they live normal lives. I am not saying that I can just do whatever and it doesn't matter, but I consider this to be a good reason to step outside my bounds.

My solution; my scientific, logical, experimental solution: have sex in a manner that is completely devoid of romantic involvement. Very business-like.

Are my expectations even realistic. I have no idea what their expectations for the experience are. In my mind, I envision some sort of wind down, but it could be that once they are done it is back to campus and test tubes and listening to the OTHER people down the hall doing it. (What is that called, blow-and-go, right?) I want an emotionally neutral experience with all the trapping of enjoying the emotional side of sex.

Can I have sex in a "sterile" environment? Can I insulate myself from my own humanity? I can only engage in that act with someone I respect and trust. Even if I rapidly (maybe even quixotically) arrive at the state of trust, that respect, that admiration are elements of a my own affection for another man. Maybe I could be selfless and say that I am doing this for their enjoyment, and disregard my own desires. Maybe I can find someone kind and gentle that I don't find more than mildly attractive. Somehow that all sounds difficult to arrange.

Here goes.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

10. Now for a Little Internet Dating - Craig's List Style (Part 1)

Yes, you did read the title correctly, but bear with me.

It all started with my big mouth.  Being in college, it is not surprising that my friends and I discuss (the lack of) our sex lives.  Typically, I assert something along the lines of "I'm gay, so I really wanted to have sex, I could get sex, and find a fairly attractive partner.  Bam."  I don't think that many of use are surprised by this opinion; women are generally perceived as the more sexually withholding in our society, and the gay community is not stereotypically abstinent.  This time, one of my friends called me out.

(Random note: cooking pasta in an electric water kettle is disadvantageous because there is no way to avoid getting burned by the steam except to tilt the pot on its side...which is also dangerous.  I suggest turning the pot on and off and stirring while the water is not at full boil.)

The truth is, I have no idea.  I don't go looking for sex, and it certainly hasn't been waltzing up to my front door.  Ok, so I don't give it a lot of opportunity, just based on my schedule and activities, but one might expect a little gay-leakage into my tightly insulated daily habits.

The test was chosen: make a Craig's List M4M personal ad which links to a fake gmail account with a fake name on it, and just see what wandered by my way.  Now, internet dating always seemed sketchy to me, and CL is about the epitome of sketch.  Most of the ads with pictures have picture of penises (and only penises), where the 2-3 lines of text basically say "Let me fuck you, but I don't want to get an STD, and I am not attracted to fat people or guys who are openly gay."

"Virgin GWM Seeking Asian Top"
-Slender young guy looking for someone to show me the ropes.  Never done this before. friends know that I typically like Asian men...oh, and GWM stands for gay,white male.  The is actually a lot of code that one has to understand for these things.  GL-good looking; ddf - drug and disease free; discrete - I'm a closeted jock; 420 - marijuana; poppers - alkyl nitrites that make you feel a little loopy and relax the anus; there is more, but you get the point.

Three days takers.  Maybe I am not as attractive as I thought; maybe guys are scared away by the virgin part; maybe I was totally wrong about the availability of sex.

And then I get the most interesting reply I could have ever imagined.  A young Asian man, just about to graduate high school (a little more than a year younger than me), who says something about looking for chill, sane (another word you see often) guys to hang out with.

I was a little shocked that someone younger than myself would reply to my ad (and I didn't exactly picture him as a top), but I immediately perceived that this young man was very genuine and kind.  Thus, I replied to him with an explanation of my purpose in posting, and that I wasn't actually looking to hook-up with anyone.  His next response seemed a little terse as he assured me that he was not looking to hook-up, but rather to find someone that was interested in chatting, etc.

So we exchanged out instant messaging screen names, and over the next couple of days we talked about ourselves and our backgrounds what it is like growing up gay in conservative parts of the world.  He told me that he didn't have any gay friends, and he couldn't come out to any of his current friends because they were all Asian, and he was afraid they would "treat [him] like and animal."  I suggested he join the LGBT group at the university he would be attending next year, and he asked me if everyone would have to know that he was gay if he did that.

I thought to myself, this is time for a serious intervention.  This kid is just as lost and unaware as I was at that age, and probably more so.  I invited him to lunch with me, and we met about a week later.  When we met, I opened up to him about myself and my history, and he seemed more comfortable after that.  He told me about his own instance of molestation, about his parents (their faith and their divorce), about his first sexual experience with ah school friend when he was 13, and how he had had been meeting up with (typically much older) guys from the internet ever since then.

This young many had no idea that there were LGBT support groups; no idea that there were Christian LGBT groups; no gay friends in person, but he knew that he could look online for hook-ups.  Why?  Because that was all he had been told.  He hadn't been told about the positive options, he had been told about all of the secret back-alley dealings that are perpetuated by homophobic stereotyping.  And I realized that if I had grown up where I could have gone out and met people like that, I would have.  When I was 13, I was desperate for understanding, explanation, community, and affirmation.  I looked to porn to explain what it meant to be gay.  I wanted to see guys naked because I thought that would tear down all the mysticism, and maybe sex/nudity really was the same thing as intimacy (as it is so often treated...I have had to spend a lot of time shedding that myth).  I even went so far as to sneak peaks in shower rooms and locker rooms because that was what people were telling me gay people did, and I wanted to know what being gay was all about.

In my hometown I used to get hit on every week by some old guy, but even though my mother was certain that a professor would try to sleep with me, I haven't had that problem when I moved out of that conservative region.  Why?  Because these people have healthy and normal routes for addressing their sexual health/desire/life.  When people are relegated and oppressed, that is where you get instances of pedophilia and abuse, because there are no other options.  Why is it always a hypocritical Republican or church leader that gets caught in a gay sex scandal?

There is something wrong with this picture.

The young man and I continue to talk, even though he is back in Asia for the summer.  I hope going to a new university gives him a chance to start over in a more positive direction.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

9. Now, Normal Teenage Experiences. Now?!? I just turned 20...

Ok, I have been telling this story in long form to so many people that I am tired of it.

Short form:
  • My friends tried to set me up...on Valentine's Day. (Actually, it was at a birthday party, so the date is completely accidental...I would like to believe.)
  • This is a young man that 6-7 of my friends have be talking me up to for about half a year.  No one bothered to let me know until 2 months ago.
    • There was a good deal of hype before we met, and I admit it made me curious, and piqued my interest.
  • At the fireworks.
  • We work in associated clubs...I get to drop in on him on occasion.
    • How have I never met him before?  Half of our friends are the same people.
    • We stayed up in the club office until ~4 AM talking about patent law and the pharmaceutical industry.
      • I can think of nothing more attractive than a man who can engage me in conversation.  No lies.


We both work just as hard the other.  (We understand each others ambitions and priorities.)
We have common interests and common talents. (Helpful in a relationship...for my part I really enjoy talking to him.)
We are on the same intellectual level.  (This is like the first hoop for me in a relationship.
We are both independent and easygoing.
I respect him now, and I respect his goals in life.
I understand his parents line of work. (Yay scientists!)

He enjoys drinking at parties.  (Hmmm...but he is quite responsible.  I grew up in the South where there is a fairly strong taboo against alcohol.  Here in the North the leaders of my church openly talk about alcohol they enjoy, even to the point of expressing the comfort of an open bar during long wedding receptions.)
Not a virgin.  ( I said, with my strict definition of virginity, I am not sure I am a virgin.)
Thinks pre-marital sex is natural.  (RELATIONSHIP CONTROVERSY ALERT...see more below.)
We both work all the time.  (So who has time for each other.)

So this makes me consider two points?
1) Is this a viable option?
2) How to make sense of the controversy around pre-marital sex?

When we were discussing some mutual friends dating, he made the comment that
Sex is natural.  Sexual desire is natural.  But there are many natural actions that we restrict, and many natural emotions that should not be acted on.

What is even the big deal about sex?  Why is it so restricted?  Why is it so revered?  Why is something so primal and basal considered something holy and sacred?  Granted I am a virgin, so maybe there is a good deal that is flying over my head.  I think that there are rules in the bible for a reason, but I don't think that those reasons are completely outside the realm of human logic.  I hear statements like "Sex within marriage is a holy communion."  But WHY is it a holy communion?  What separates sex from eating and drinking and riding rollercoasters?  Yes, sex is an emotional experience.  Yes, sex can be intense.  Yes, sex can be dangerous.  But this is true of eating and drinking and riding rollercoasters.

Ok, my reasons at present for abstaining from sex:
Respect for my future spouse.  (Ideological)
I can't come up with a reason for pre-marital sex that doesn't stem from a selfish desire for gratification, although that really
Lack of a partner.  (Practical)

Yep, let's face it.  I can talk about my ideals until the cows come home, but what happens in the heat of the moment is entirely different.  When my mother and I were discussing this (Have you read one of the times that I mention that after I came out, I made a promise to tell my mother everything?)

My ideas and opinions change based on my experiences.  The more I live, the more I realize what is my own belief and what is my ideological heritage.

 So, I know what I want to do: I want to date this young man, and if it goes well, I will probably want to lose my virginity with him at some point.  That's what I want to do, but is that what I should be doing?  I don't know.

It doesn't seem that he is that interested in my though, so I guess my thoughts will remain thoughts, but it is a good think to think about all of this now, before I get more emotionally involved than I already am. 

Most of this was written at the end of March, 2010.  I am keeping it as it, but I want to return to the question of what is the big deal with sex in my next post.

Update on the boy situation.  A little flirting here-and-there throughout the semester, but nothing dramatic and nothing developed.  We are not in the same city for the summer.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

8. Now, the Birds that Fly Overhead Leave a Trail

So here is: I have rape fantasies.

I think this is why: I want to experience it.  I want to dip my fingers in the water.  I want to do what everyone else is doing, but I also do not want to have the responsibility for my own actions.  I want be able to cry "Foul!  Not fair! Not my fault!" and still get to try on the sexual side of being human on for size.

In my mind, it happens with someone I know, and in a way that is not traumatic (clearly, because I want to have consensual sex without the responsibility of making a choice).  I realize it doesn't happen this way, especially as the victim of child molestation, but this is a reoccurring observation of mine. 

More reflections to come, but for now just this tidbit.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

7. Now, the Final Frontier

I am weird.

I do strange things.

And while I could tell you about all of them, let's not for now.  The one I do want to tell you about as I am letting my hair dry before bed is my habit of arguing with myself in the shower.  Typically I do this on important things.  Sometimes I am arguing between what I want to do and what I feel I should do, and some times I am debating my impression of a person or political viewpoint that I disagree with.  I often argue about gay Christian issues in steamy squatting poses at the end of the day.

Tonight, I was again thinking about the many arguments that I have heard against gay marriage.  Tonight, in particular, I was thinking more about the claim that allowing gays to marry will open the door for anyone to marry whoever they want.  Fathers will marry daughters, 3 women + 2 men, 1 woman + 3 men, cousins marrying cousins, stepparents marrying stepchildren, pedophiles and young children, and let's throw in a goat or a dolphin into the mix for good measure.  They are saying that allowing gay marriage will allow anyone to marry whoever or whatever they please.

Well, I actually agree with this, but probably not in the way they think.

Yes, I think you should be able to marry whoever you want.  That is a legal right you deserve, but then that requires a few points about marriage to be clear.  Or at least two points of my humble opinion on the matter.

Marriage is a life-long commitment between willing and commited participants.  It is an internal agreement.

There are a lot of reasons for marriage, good and bad, so I think that gay marriage will definitely send out a signal saying "Hey, we need to think more about what this actually means, and we should reconsider who has rights."

Let's start with Star Trek (thus the title), incredibly popular, even with conservatives, but unfortunately it contains bestiality.  Yes, that is right.  Think about it.  You have how many different half-humans running around the galaxy in our living room tv's.  It all started with Spock, and then there was Troi (plus some incidental characters), and well I don't know that many more off-hand, so you will have to comment with more characters.  Let's face it, the idea of a half-human is not new nor strange to us (Tolkien anyone?), but these would be classified as bestiality by a strict application of the conservative paradigm.  Why is there this discrepancy?

Simple.  It is because the idea of tow loving, sentient creatures making eternal vows (or sometimes just making babies) is a comfortable, happy, natural idea.  Disney even capitalized on this in Beauty and the Beast.  Sure, we know that he is human, but she has to see his nature through his exterior.  So long as the alien has human characteristics, we do not mind the love-making (which is also why we don't like when Leia is getting stroked by Jabba the Hutt), we see these characters as normal and equal.  They are independent enough to choose for themselves and engage in the relationship that they feel is best for them.  I bet there could be a church wedding scene for one of these "offensive" couples, and it would slip entirely under the radar.

The one group that has most to gain on the coattails of the gay marriage movement is the polygamists.  Now, before you balk, ponder this.  In many third world societies, a man who takes many wives is considered generous.  Not perverted, not evil, not vile, not greedy, but generous.  He is providing for more mouths and removing more financial burdens from more parents.  Now, don't get me started about the ills of a society that represses women, this is not radically-feminist-gay-man-blog.  But this does make me think that polygamy warrants another look.  If they think it can exist for a good reason there, maybe it can exist for a good reason here.  When it comes down to it, all of the people in the relationship have to agree to the arrangement.  Who are we to tell them that is not sacred.  And since when was pairing all the Christian rage?  It certainly wasn't started with Jacob or David or Solomon.

So, let's stop writing these people off on both sides of the argument.  Conservatives say that it will lead to all kinds of "debauchery;" liberals say no instinctively, and try to eliminate connections between gay marriage and other marriage; I say "Maybe. I'm just going to have to think about this a little more."

Sunday, January 31, 2010

6. Now, I Would Like to Apologize

“If we change our actions, we can change our attitudes.  If we change our attitudes, then our hearts will change too.”  My mother told me this.  This is true to some extent, we must reinforce good habits by sheer determination, but at heart these must be beliefs that one holds.  A belief that one holds yet fails to act on.  If you try to convince yourself of someone else's belief by repeating it in excess, you have not taken the belief to heart, you have only brainwashed yourself.  My mother told me this in regard to another matter, and I misapplied it.

That being said, I would like to apologize for my outspokenness during the time when I was told that if I condemned homosexuality, then that action would aid in my struggle against it.  It is very easy for me to call out others for their rejection of homosexuals, but I must also remember my own trespasses of this very nature.

I am sorry telling my grandfather that I thought homosexuals were confused. (Age 13)

I am sorry for not speaking up for the young man who performed a jazz dance routine at a choir camp.  Others praised his skill, but I just said he was not performing a “men's routine.”  (Age 14)

I am sorry for saying that “homosexuality is evil” to a teacher with many LGBT friends, a young man who I believe is engaged in my own struggle, and another young man whose brother is a homosexual.  (Age 15)

I am sorry for not treating a childhood friend graciously after he came out to me and expressed his interest in me.  Even though I was out at this point, I did not treat him with the respect and delicacy he deserved.  (Age 18)

I am sure there are more instances, but in these moments,  I tasted hypocrisy upon utterance, and the shame is etched into my memory.

Monday, January 11, 2010

5. Now for My Gay Agenda

You will hear from some that gays and lesbians have a secret agenda, one we don't talk about in public but one that we discuss freely in our meetings and conferences.    Well golly whiz!  These accusations range from the extreme to the absurd; I thought all my efforts to destroy life as we know it in America were committed all by my lonesome.   I didn't realize that every other gay man was secretly trying to do the same thing.  They have been hiding from me too!

Yet, some people believe that kind of conspiracy theory even today.  As for me, I would wager that most of these people are not well acquainted with the LGBT community.  Yet, even though their primary exposure to gays and lesbians is likely the frivolous caricatures that appear in the modern media, they still think we are a hostile and virile threat.

ALERTING ALL WHO ARE THREATENED BY HOMOSEXUALS: I am hereby going to post my super-secret agenda for all the world to see,  That's right, I used to speak of this only in private, but now I am going public.


1.    Understand God's will regarding sexual sin
     1.   Remain chaste
          1.    regardless of marriage or celibacy, single life is the same for all Christians
          2.    If I am to get married, I am already married as far as God is concerned
                 1.    vow is for life, not just life after the wedding
2.    Open dialogue with those who have questions about or do not understand homosexuals (starting with my family and my churches)
     1.    Listen to their view point and consider their arguments
     2.    Don't get if when they tell me I am a disease
     3.    Don't just shout my view point
     4.    Ask them the questions that I had to answer when I was a teen
     5.    Be more proactive about initiating these dialogues
          1.    Family – Check
                1.    need to branch out more into uncles and cousins
          2.    Pastor – Check
                1.    three cities, four churches, 3 pastors, 5 staff members
          3.    Church congregation
                1.    hometown conservative church definitely needs more focus
3.    Graduate from college with a degree in something other than fashion
     1.    (I have no problems with fashion majors, but I can't be stereotypical in EVERY way, and gays can be nerdy too.  I sure am!)
     2.    GRAD SCHOOL!
5.    Understand God's will regarding homosexual marriage
     1.  I think that God is giving me time to figure this out during this drought of interested prospective husbands
          1. NO PINING!!!
     2.    Yes - get married someday (note to self)
          1.    Determine what my role in the relationship is
          2.    Kids?
     3.    No – celibacy (It worked for Mendel)
          1.    More free time for me means more time for service...
6.    Learn to speak Japanese (more fluently)
     1.    I forget kanji too easily
         1.    fix that
     2.    My accent is occasionally-present at best
         1.    fix that
     3.    I don't live in Japan
         1.    fix that

My Gay Lifestyle
1.    Wake-up ~7:00 AM
     1.    Dress, brush teeth, etc.
2.    Go to class 9:00 AM – 12:00/12:30 PM
     1.    Eat lunch in the 15 minutes I have to spare everyday.
3.    More class 1:00 PM – 5:00 PM
     1.    4 hour lab sections are alternately draining and exciting
4.    Lab research, homework, food, and 1 30-min nap  5:00 PM – 12:00/1:00 AM
5.    Sleep
1.    Wake-up ~ 8:00 AM
2.    Lab research, homework 9:00 AM – 12:30 PM
3.    Club Meeting 1:00 PM – 4:30 PM
      1.    Food!
4.    Lab research, homework, food 5:00 PM – 12:00 AM
5.    Sleep

1.    Wake-up ~8:00 AM
2.    Catch Bus at 9:50 AM
3.    Set-up for Church A 10:15 – 10:35 AM
4.    Church A Service 10:45 AM – 2:00 PM
5.    Walk back to campus
6.    Lab research, homework 3:00 – 4:30 PM
7.    Subway
8.    Church B 5:00PM – 9:00 PM
9.    Subway
10.    Lab research, homework, food, nap 9:30 PM – 2:00 AM
11.    Sleep