Friday, December 3, 2010

To Love or Not to Love

We all have our strengths and our weaknesses. We all have our blessings and our gifts as well as our burdens and our crosses to bear. The trick of building a successful and happy life, I am convinced, is to identify and play to our strengths and  to identify and constantly try to overcome our weaknesses, meet our burdens head on and carry our crosses with a degree of dignity.

My father spent years drilling that concept into me though my father never would  have put it in such terms. My father was a very successful though uneducated man who had a PhD from the "school of hard knocks." He simply drilled into me that the world didn't give a damn about me or my excuses and that my job in life was to pick myself up by my own bootstraps, kick my own ass and do what had to be done both for myself and for the benefit of others.

I was not always the person, I now am. As a boy and as a young man, I was pretty shy and pretty reserved. I was the quiet guy. Friends that have only known me for the last 30 years laugh at me when I tell them that. The change from that quiet shy guy to the guy I am now is fairly dramatic and the causes  for the change were fairly complex.

A big factor in the change was that I ended up on a career path  that demanded the ability to lead under stress and under a great deal of pressure. It demanded the ability to deal with people who were not always happy to be dealing with  me. It was exactly the situation my Dad had prepared me for. I simply had to kick myself in my own ass and force myself to perform.

For years I contributed the the change from introvert to extrovert to the demands of my career. It was a matter of providing for my family. I had no choice but to make it work and I did.

I have talked often with guys  who are curious about male/male sexuality, but who are scared to death of it at the same time.  I always assure these guys that the fear is completely normal and even a good thing. Better to be scared and careful, in my opinion than blase and careless.

Often during the course of these conversations, I'm asked, "But what if I fall in love with my Buddy?"

My answer is, "I do love my Buddy." I love him dearly."

"Doesn't that cause you confusion?" I'm asked.

In reality, the true bisexual male is not likely to be confused about feelings that may develop concerning his buddy. In my opinion, one of the biggest reasons so few men have successful male/male relationships is that they try to base those relatonships solely  on sex becasue they are so scared of the "L" word. In most cases, sex alone is never enough to sustain a relationship. And there is good reason for that. The bisexual male is not just craving sexual activity with another male. What he is actually craving is an intimate friendship with another male.

There was a time, not all that long ago, in our society when intimate  relationships were the norm between men, even American men! Life was hard  on the American frontier and it remained hard when the frontier began to be settled into small family farms. Neighbor depended up neigbor for help. Frontiersmen depended on their partners for help in almost everything they did. It took cooperation to meet the demands of life on the frontier or on an isolated small farm. Men who depended upon each other for help and protection and meeting the demands of a hard life came to know each other with an intimacy that is rare between modern men. But the fact is, men are hard wired for such relationships with other men. Biology and evolution  designed men to run in packs, to hunt together and to provide for their families together. Men who tended to be loaners simply did not surivive to reproduce themselves. Modern society tends to isolate men from one another. Each man is responsible for his own job and for his own familly. Machines are our helpers now and equipment is our protector. Women are still allowed to have their girlfriends and are even expected to do so. But, at least in America, a strong open bond between men has become suspect even though it is a biological norm.

Many guys seem to have the idea that if they fall in love with a buddy their love for their wife will automatically self destruct. In reality this is no more an inevibility for a bisexual man than the love of his second born child destroying his love for his first born child. The truly inevitable thing is that he will come to love his second born child in a different way than he loves the first. A good father loves his children as individuals and his love for them evolves to meet each of their different needs.

For a truly bisexual married guy who loves his wife, there is no problem at all in loving a buddy and loving his wife. My love for my wife is totally different from the love I hold for my buddy. The needs which my Buddy fullfills for me are totally different than the needs my wife fullfills for me. My relatoinship with my wife and my family is a love steeped in deep emotion. My feelings for my buddy are much less emotional. They are simply the expressions of a primeval need for for a male/male bond. Indeed, the love of one bisexual man for another  is probably more appropriately defined as a bond than as love.

For a guy who is in reality a married homosexual, the threat of falling in love can be somewhat more problematic. That is why, in my opinion, a guy should very carefully explore his true feelings and be honest with himself about his sexualtiy. In any circumstance, with or without falling in love with a buddy, a married homosexual guy is likely to have many more problems than those of us who are bisexual. By definition, a homosexual man is wired to respond sexually, emotionally and romantically to another man. Married homosexual men relate to their wives to different degrees. But I have never talked to a married homosexual man who feels that he can fully meet the needs of his wife for an emotional connection. On the other hand, it is quite common for a bisexual man to meet his wife's need for an emotional connection with her because he needs that emotional connection with her as much as she needs it with  him. Though there are exceptions, it is rare to find a strong marriage in which the male is a homosexual man. It is quite common to find strong marriages in which the male is bisexual in the sense that he needs a discreet intimate bond with another man.

I am quite aware, and evey bisexual man should be aware, that there are those who insist  there is no such thing as bisexuality. Many homosexual men feel those men who admit to bisexuality simply have not come to the point in their lives in which they can admit to themselves that they are homosexual. And, of course, such men exist. I have known them personally. But I also know men such as myself who have strong and successful marriages in every way, who relate fully to their wives emotionally and meet her emtional needs and yet who need an intimate bond with another man. I define that as bisexuality.

Every man, regardless of his sexuality, deserves to be comfortable in his own skin. Every man deserves to be free from guilt over something for which he has no control -- his sexuality. The recognized fact by those who study human sexuality is that our sexuality falls along a long line from exclusively and emotionally homosexual to exclusively and emotionally heterosexual. Those of us who fall out along the mid portion of that line are bisexual men. Our numbers are relatively high though societal and religious norms keep many of us from acknowledging our true sexual nature.

Not long ago in talking with another guy, he mentioned that once he accepted his sexuality he became a better man in many ways. He became more outgoing. He became more involved in life in all its activities. He actually became a better husband and father because he was no longer immersed in self hate and guilt. Listening to him, I realized, for the first time, it was not just the demands of my job that led to the change in my personality. The changes evolved along with the demands of my job, but they also evolved along with my growing self  understanding and self acceptance of my bisexuality. More than likely, I was always extroverted. I was always energized by involvement with other people which is the definition of an extrovert, but the guilt and disgust that I felt for myself had kept me isolated and quiet. It had kept me feeling alone and monstrous.

True, if I could simply choose to live my life as a straight guy, I would. But I can't. I tried for too many years and failed. I'm happy with my life now. It has meaning for me. I contribute as I am.

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I deeply regret that I must reinstate the verification process for those who want to leave comments on my blog. This is due to the intolerable amount of spam that spammers are attempting to leave on the blog.

At the same time I am changing settings so that those of you who have a Google Blogger ID or other recognized blogger ID will not have to have your comments moderated. My hope is this will encourage more readers to take the time to comment. The fact is I want to read comments with those of you who disagree with me as well as those of you who agree with me. All I ask is that you keep your comments clean and non-threatening.

The only reason I take the time to write this blog is to spur your thoughts and comments. Please do not let the spammers cause you not to comment. I know entering the verification words and numbers is a pain in the ass, but I hope you will not let the spammers cause you not to comment.

I still very much look forward to hearing from you.

Jack Scott

Anyone can comment on what I write in this blog. Regretfully, the recent amount of spam in my email account as required that I reinstate the word verification process for comments which I personally hate.

But at the same time I have loosened the comment moderation process so that those of you who have a Google Blogger ID or other recognized blogger ID will no longer need to wait for your comment to be moderated. I'm hoping this will tempt you to take the trouble to comment.

The truth is I want respectful comments both from those who agree with me and those who do not. All I as is that you keep comments to the point, clean and non-threatenting.

I look forward to hearing from each of you.

Jack Scott