Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Stories from the other side

You guys are great. What a wonderful, healing exercise this is (at least for me!) - to learn I am not alone, to learn that so many of us had parents who pooh-poohed every little idea about sex until we were pretty sure a stork had actually dropped us off! I'm so into this. I hope you are too and I'm not losing you.

I just had to share a couple of really moving, brave stories from persons of the male gender. Thank you to the guys who are joining in.

1. Episcopalian
2. Christian Sex? Hmm...the quite rational side of me says "sex had either by or with Christians" and leaves it at that. But then there's all the guilt and exclusionary baggage about sex that bubbles up from my traditional upbringing that I still carry around, even post-closet. I won't speak for the whole community, but it has often been a challenge for this gay Christian to reconcile. On the occasions that I feel more like a gay Atheist or Agnostic I tend to do fine, unsuprisingly, but in all my incarnations I try to understand sex as experiential, that is, we understand what best serves us emotionally, spiritually, psychologically, by the experiences we have, the mistakes we make, just like any other human endeavor. The scripture can be one source to which we look for guidance, but just as everybody has a different professional, relational, or educational path to travel, why must all Christians adhere to a strict, moralistic, and frankly somewhat outmoded social code, especially when it is culturally impossible for a good portion of us to do so? Of course, I tend to get righteous about these things right before I start to dismiss it all as just excuses for bad behavior, but come on, we all have common sense, right? Obey the law, be respectful of others, try to make wise decisions, resolve to try harder when you don't, that sort of thing. Is that un-Christian? I don't think so. Is it too permissive? Then my apologies, but as much as folks like Antonin Scalia, George W. Bush, Rick Santorum, and James Dobson may wish to regulate my sexual orientation, they thankfully have no say in the orientation of my spirit.

When I was a little boy, I discovered that some things (usually certain thoughts) would make my penis get long and stiff like a rod. I had no idea why this was happening - but it kinda felt good - so I pretty much accepted it as being normal. Looking back, however, I see that some of the thoughts I had were anything but normal. Many times I would imagine scenes of violence and suffering that I had seen on the news or in movies - and that would give me a hard-on. Later in life (but not much later) it would devolve into fantasies about bondage and mutilation that were difficult for me to understand. I was a good kid and I didn't want these things to happen, yet thinking about them felt good. Maybe my little brain was trying to express some deep anger or frustration. I don't know.

The violent thoughts went away when I was about 12 or so. I had a pretty normal "Christian" teenage life, with the exception of a brief flirtation with homosexuality. As I grew older, I also gained an increasing awareness of God and a desire to serve him. I started going to Church under my own volition rather than being forced to go by my parents. I was finally becoming a man, a real, normal, Christian man -until the dreams came back. I couldn't tell you when they came back, exactly - but back they came, and with a vengeance, too. Now I'm 21 and plagued with these hurtful fantasies. I don't want to sound self-absorbed, but people have told me that I'm a really great guy. I believe them, sort of. I'm involved in my Church, in my college ministry, in Bible studies. I tithe when I can and I try to read my
Bible daily. Yet, deep down, I'm evil. I haven't the slightest desire to follow through with my fantasies, yet they still turn me on.

I keep telling myself that I'm not a monster - that I'm not some serial killer or psychopath. Maybe I'm writing this to try and convince the anonymous people who will read this letter - or maybe I'm trying to convince myself.

Will I ever be able to tell my future wife? Can she ever see the dark side of me? I hope I can get it out one day. I hope I can tell her everything, and have her smile knowingly - to have her smile with grace and compassion. I hope it works out like that. I really do.


Anonymous said...

To the writer of the second story:
I had a traumatic childhood when it came to sex, and did things that I felt (sometimes still feel) horribly guilty about (not just thought them, did them). I want to tell you that my husband not only accepted this, he thought it wasn't nearly as big a deal as I thought it was. His love saw a different person in me.
So take heart.

Anonymous said...


Thanks so much for your encouragement. I truly have taken heart thanks to your kind words. If we need one more thing in this world, it's definitely love.

Again, thank you.

-Second Writer

Catholic Girl said...

Feminarian: This is fascinating and eye-opening. It's about time someone brought the subject out into the open -- it seems like the status quo is that either you're a Christian or you can talk openly about sex, but not both. Projects like this might help us change that.

Brandon said...

This project makes me love this blog. Officially. Love.

Stasi said...

Hey, yours is cool too! Thanks!

Jeremy Pierce said...

I don't know of anyone seeking to regulate anyone's sexual orientation. There are people who want to regulate the institution of marriage, and there are some but not as many who want to regulate certain sexual acts. That's not the same as regulating someone's sexual orientation. Confusing sexual orientation with sexual acts and/or certain kinds of relationships is exactly what the right gets accused of doing. It doesn't win you any points in an argument to do the same thing.