I never intended to be a provocateur. It wasn't something I would have chosen to be. Yet, looking back at my life as far back as I can remember, its easy to see that my ticket was punched at an early age. In reality, long before I even knew I had a ticket.
John Lennon said, "Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans." I can buy into that, but there more to it than that. My own experience taught me that my life began to be molded for me long before I knew what planning was, indeed long before I could comprehend the concept of "next year" much less plan for a lifetime.
I have mentioned in earlier blogs that male to male sex was just a regular part of life for me. It started at such an early age and included so many of the males in and around my age that male to male sex wasn't provocative at all. It was just reality. But even within the context of male to male sex being normal and an everyday thing, I was one who was willing to push the envelope. For most of the gang of boys I ran around with in that small Texas town, male to male sex consisted of just mutual touching and jacking each other off. When we were really young, the jacking off was just for the joy of jacking off. As we got older, the activity was accompanied by a lot of brave talk concerning what we'd like to do with girls. As we got older still the jacking off began to include talk about exploits some of the boys had allegedly had with girls.
But jacking off, mutual touching and just getting naked and enjoying being a boy was about it for most of us, but for me and another kid there was more. We were into sucking each others cocks. He had taught me to do it at the very first. I'm not sure I would have thought of it, but I sure was glad he did because it felt good, very good, both ways, to give head and to get it. But this was something we didn't talk about to the other guys. It was just our thing. He and I had another common bond. We were the smallest two boys in the extended group by height and weight, but we were by far and away the owners of the two biggest cocks. I think that was a bond between us and I know for sure that it bought the two of us a great deal of respect and envy from the other guys.
Looking back, I think it was the oral sex between the two of us that was the provocative thing for me about male to male sex. I enjoyed the comradery of the group of boys as a whole for sure, but it was the size of my oral partners cock and the sucking of it and him sucking mine that really aroused me sexually and kept me coming back for more on almost a daily basis. At the time, I did not recognize it as provocation. I'd never heard that word at that point in my life, but looking back it was provocation without doubt.
Looking back at that provocation and remembering it and the absolute joy it brought, it makes me think, that from my own experience, at least, sexual orientation can, at least in part, be learned behavior. I certainly learned rather quickly to enjoy male to male sex in the group at large and especially the oral activities the two of us engaged in.
Fast forward a few years and at age 12 or so I found myself beginning to notice girls and perhaps just as important, I found they were beginning to notice me. It was a new and exciting time in life. At age twelve, I didn't now what homosexuality or heterosexuality was. I was just along for the ride as my life unfolded around me. I don't remember when I came to know the definitions of those words but it was probably at some point in my junior high days. There was a smidgen of concern, I guess. Could I be homosexual? But the answer seemed pretty clear to me that I wasn't. So many of the guys that were a part of my life played around together that it was just normal and by now all of us were quite interested in the opposite sex to be sure. It was just that the same sex was much much easier to find and far more reliable.
Just after my eighteenth birthday, I became engaged to be married. I was deeply in love and scared shitless. I was already in my first year of college having graduated from high school at age 17. My girl was at the same college and sex with her was at such a fever pitch that my past life with the boys had almost vanished from my memory. I certainly wasn't worried about being a homosexual. Not with the feelings I was having now and not with what we were doing together.
If there was a learned component to one's sexuality then I was no doubt going to be a straight heterosexual man because my girl could and did rock my world sexually. And what was even better I was destined to find that with practice she would get better and better at rocking my world. Nothing the boys had ever provided could match it.
My biggest source of fear was getting her pregnant. We had both seen it happen to friends and it was never a pretty thing. It was a road we didn't want to travel, so we tried to be very very careful. My life began to pass before my eyes once when she was a week late. I could see my plans for a college degree slipping out of my reach and I could see the disappointment that would be on my parents faces when I told them I was going to be a 19 year old father, that is if I survived telling her father and mother.
Luckily, we didn't have to go down that road. But together we decided that it would be better just to go ahead and get married. At least then if something unplanned happened, it would be socially acceptable.
So when we married a few months later, there was much going though my mind. I still had three years of college left and so did she. How were we going to make all that happen? It seemed daunting at the time. Looking back, it just seems crazy. At that time an 18 year old guy could not marry in Texas without parental permission. I don't know how my parents ever had the confidence in me to sign the license application.
So there was much on my mind as we married, but my sexuality was not one of them. I was a horny devil but the object of my desire and my drive at this point was all about my new wife. It stayed that way through college. The answer to how we'd get through it evolved. She decided to drop out of school and get a full time job (here degrees were delayed until our children were in their teens). I fast tracked my education enrolling in Fall, Spring and Summer classes taking as many hours as they would let me take in each and working full time at my own job along with part time jobs when I could find them and work them into my schedule. My wife worked some days and some nights on a rotating schedule. I wove day and night classes in and around a job that also required day and night work. All I did was work, go to class, study and eat and sleep. Entertainment was an occasional movie and sex. The sex made it all worth while. It was great.
I had plenty to worry about, keeping my old car running, paying the rent and passing my courses at school. Any worries I had about my sexuality were simply buried under the pile. I didn't have time to worry about such things and those worries seemed far away now.
A few days ago, I ran across a blog for straight married women who have found their husbands are interested or active in male to male sex. The lady who writes the blog has had more than her share of provocation from a homosexual husband along with a boat load of hurt and pain and down right incredulity about how she managed to get into the situation in which she finds herself.
She's human. She has expressed her pain in the blog. She has given into righteous anger; but she has also maintained a sense of balance in her life and in her belief systems in spite of all she has been through. That sense of balance is clearly visible in her most recent blog concerning Secretary of Defense Panetta's decision to end the United States Military's reliance on "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" and join many other of the world's nations in allowing homosexual persons to openly serve in the military where they have been serving closeted for as long as the United States has had a military.
This woman, who has plenty to hurt over, ends her current blog by saying, "All I can say is, "It's about time!" Now if we can get same-sex marriage okayed in all fifty states and repeal that idiotic Defense of Marriage Act, we'll be headed in the right direction. Nothing will ever stop homophobia but if there are laws in place to allow gays to marry and live an openly gay life, maybe they'll be less likely to marry straight women and ruin their lives."
She's absolutely right, of course, in her feeling that gays, given the right to their own lives and a sense of respect for what they can do for the world rather than being denigrated for whom they have sex with, will marry and live their lives openly and be much much less likely to marry straight women and ruin their lives and bring pain and hurt to the lives of the children they share together.
What she's wrong about is that homophobia can be stopped. Homosexuality cannot be stopped because as she states elsewhere in her blog she, even as a Christian, believes that homosexuality is not a choice. It is a birth assignment. But homophobia can be stopped. It can be stopped in exactly the same way racial discrimination was stopped in this country. Now, of course, those of you who are quick to say that racial discrimination still exists are correct; but it exists in a form very much different from the racial phobia that was a part of this country for so long. This country was not afraid to elect a black President in 2009. We are no longer afraid to sit by blacks in restaurants and schools. We work side by side with them. Racial discrimination exists but only among the most ignorant and recalcitrant among us on both sides of the racial divide.
Such will eventually be the outcome of letting gay men and women lead their lives openly and enjoy the rights and privileges of all Americans. Not a single solitary straight marriage has ever been affected adversely by two gay guys getting married in one of the six states which such a thing is legal.
Thousands and thousands of marriages have had adverse outcomes and thousands and thousands of women and children have been hurt because they found themselves, through no fault of their own, in a marriage in which one of the partners was a homosexual man.
I am actually very optimistic that the future is brighter for marriage between a man and a woman because marriage between same sex couples is becoming a viable and open option. The only caution we should be taking when we try to find solutions for keeping traditional marriage alive and well is to remember than more than half of all marriages in this country end in divorce. Most of those divorces have nothing whatsoever to do with homosexuality. There are real live challenges to traditional marriages today. Same sex marriages are part of the solution, not part of the problem as the right wing radical Christian community would have us believe. Even the straight Christian woman who has been so hurt by her gay husband understands that and writes about it in her blog. Hopefully more and more Christians will throw off the misinformation and the rhetoric of those who choose to hate in the name of God rather than love and support in the name of God and we'll be able to see the progress this woman believe can come about.
So, I see hope for the future where so many in the Christian Right see nothing but sin and despair. But as the father and grandfather of girls the fear that haunts me is the fear I am closest to and it is not homosexuality, it is bisexuality.
I can see answers for homosexual men and women in the form of same sex marriages and the adoption of children by same sex couples or even having their own children with the help of science and/or surrogates. The future for bisexual men and women is not as clear to me and I think there may be plenty of pain still waiting to be unleashed because of bisexuality and no clear way to handle it in our society.
At this point in time society cannot even agree that bisexuality even exists. Many straight researchers and therapists do not believe it does. Many in the gay community do not think it does either. Because of the pain they endured on their journey through their homosexuality, they see men who claim the label of bisexuality as being cowards who simply cannot bring themselves to admit their homosexuality. And, of course, the Christian Right is steadfast in their idiotic belief that anything other than heterosexuality is just a sinful life choice which can be "fixed" if one simply acknowledges the sin and seeks redemption. As bisexuals, we seem to provoke denial every where we turn. Perhaps it is because we provoke the worst in every community's fears. As I have said, I consider myself a bisexual man and it causes me fear for my own daughters and grand daughters. I don't think I'll ever be completely at peace with my own bisexuality. Unfortunately, I have no doubt it is real.
I have no idea what the answers are for bisexual men and women who want families and marriages and a normal life. I do know that no answers will ever come as long as bisexuality itself is denied even to exist.
In my own case, my wife knows. It's not the happiest thing she's ever found out about me, but neither has it put an irreparable strain on our marriage. Perhaps part of that is because, as a psychotherapist, she sees the real reasons why more than half of all marriages end in divorce. She sees the mental, emotional and physical abuse that men inflict on their wives, but that also wives sometimes inflict on their husbands. She sees the affects of men who have no idea what fidelity means. She sees those who sink into and are devoured by the whirlpool of drug or alcohol addictions. But the thing that is worst of all is that because she has exercised her right to make her own decisions and evaluate her own situation in light of her own beliefs and experiences, she is denigrated by some of the women who comment on the blog for straight women who have found they are married to a homosexual man.
If there are answers to making bisexuality work, and at least in the study of other societies there are such answers, one of the areas in which these answers lie is in reaching a point in time for bisexuals in which they feel they can be up front about their sexuality with a woman they are considering marrying.
Currently, I know men who make it work by telling their wives. I know men who make it work by accepting their bisexuality but who through self restraint refrain from acting on their desires much as a straight man who is a priest restrains his own sexual desires. I know of bisexual men who are married to bisexual women and both enjoy each other and the company of others. I know of men whose wives have broken their marriage vows by withdrawing from any sexual activity with him leaving him reluctantly to turn to sex with another man. And then there are bisexual men who are much like promiscuous married straight men. These guys burn through other men and other women as fast as they can identify and bed them while managing to keep everything balanced at home. Sometimes they get careless and leave evidence behind that cannot be ignored or explained away and the marriage of another straight woman is suddenly in crisis.
I've always been aware that no married guy is in this thing by himself. There is always a woman who is in it and may or may not know. I have a great deal of empathy for those women. In the blog for straight women who have found their husbands to be homosexual, there is a lot of anger expressed and rightfully so. Some of the women get locked in the anger stage and locked in their sense of "me." They become locked in pain and embarrassment. They fail to see his anger with his situation, his embarrassment about being less than a real man, his self hate, his downright fear of loosing a wive he often really does love as well as his kids and his home. They fail to understand that their has often been a lifetime of despair and not knowing what to do with an intractable situation he did not ask for.
A few of the women who have come to see the hurt and anger on both sides have written to me. It is this reaching out across the divide that separates yet binds us that holds the ultimate answers to the problem.
I don't know all the answers. If I knew them, instead of writing this blog I'd write a book and sell millions of copies and make lots of money. I don't know those answers. I do know there is no answer in hate no matter how badly one's been hurt. I do know there is no answer in being a victim and choosing to stay a victim no matter how much of a victim one is. I do know there is nothing to be gained from sitting and grieving for what might have been but will never be unless one gets up and tries again to find it regardless of which side of the equation one finds himself or herself.
I do know the only way to live life is to see reality and go for it. And I know the reality of life is not always, in fact seldom is, a neat little package. Life is always provocative.
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.
I look forward to hearing from each of you.
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.