Monday, October 17, 2011

Deferring to Reality?

Reality is not always a neat little package. I guess for some reason I don't understand, I've always pretty much known that. I don't know why that should be. It's not that I'm the sharpest tack in the drawer. I'm not by any stretch. But I've always had a very well developed intuition. Even as a kid, my intuition was already serving me, and I think intuition played a part in my realizing at an early age that reality was often chaotic. I use the word chaotic to describe a quality of anarchy and/or lawlessness that, it seems to me, has always been a part of, reality.

People are funny. They really are. Art Linkletter recognized this fact more than 60 years ago and was able to parlay his insight into a personal fortune while proving the point on various television shows. To me one of the funniest things about people has always been that few have a well developed sense of reality.

This is funny because we all live in a real world that surrounds us completely, but then again we don't. We don't because we're always going to great lengths and to a great deal of trouble to deny reality of one sort or another. Even the laziest of human beings will go to a great deal of trouble and effort to deny reality and to build up some  fantastic alternate version of reality to cling to rather than do the simple thing and just embrace reality.

One of my college professors once told me that having a degree, even an advanced degree was not at all proof of ones intellect. Instead, it was simply proof one had the discipline to commit to a goal and carry out the steps necessary to meet that goal. I think he was right. Some of the dumbest people I've ever encountered have been people with PhDs. On the other  hand, some of the smartest people I've ever known have been people with very little formal education at all, including my Dad.

In the last few weeks, the world has seen the passing of a great man, an unusually successful man who is also an example of the principle that intelligence and success in life does not necessarily spring from higher education. Steve Jobs was a college dropout, but also one of the men most instrumental if affecting change in the lives of people around the world in our time.

Reading about Steve Jobs in the articles that were written about him after his death, one thing was pointed out over and over. It was not that Steve Jobs didn't fail. He failed often. But what made him different and what made him so overwhelmingly successful was he was a realist. He was quick to recognize his failures, kick them to the curb and start over.

That sounds simple, but its not; and most people simply cannot do it. Most people cling to their failures. They cling to their false hopes and desires. They cling to the way they have been told things should be and refuse to deal with things as they are. They get hung up on the seeming unfairness of the lawlessness and anarchy that are frequently a part of reality. They may even get sidetracked altogether and start devoting themselves to leveling the playing field to make things more fair for more people. Personally, I think this very thing is part of the problem in our country today. We're spending too much time trying to make things fair and level and not enough time preparing people for the realities of life and its inherent unfairness.

This has never made sense to me. I've never understood the unwillingness of people to adapt to change, the unwillingness of people to embrace reality. In my opinion much of what we are seeing play out in the current economic downturn is a refusal of most people to accept and realize the implications of reality. Of course there were a number of things that contributed to the current economic downturn; but one of the barely understood facts of the downturn is that many of the jobs that have been lost are simply not gong to come back. That is a reality people do not accept.

The reality is, what skills many of the unemployed in the country have are no longer needed and will never be needed within the economic engine again. Instead of facing that reality, people are sitting back collecting unemployment benefits rather than trying to acquire skills that will make them employable again. The fact is, the unemployment rate among college educated people who have a higher level of skills is less than half the overall employment rate. These people will eventually be called back into work. Those on the lower rungs can never expect to make a living wage again unless they accept reality and learn new skills.

To complicate the matter further, thousands of high school kids are dropping out of school every year and swelling the ranks of the unskilled and unemployable. These young kids simply refuse to recognize reality, something of value must be traded for a living wage, and in our society the accepted medium of exchange is a skill valued by the economic engine that powers the country.

Looking back over my life and my bisexuality, I have come to something of a realization. To the extent that I had a problem with my bisexuality, it was due to my inability to accept the reality of it. I was sexually active with guys from the age of six and continued to be sexually active with them.

I began to have a sexual interest in girls right on schedule at about age twelve. The truth is my sexual interests in guys did nothing to lessen or inhibit my sexual interest in girls. And my sexual interest in girls did nothing to lessen or inhibit my sexual interests in guys. In reality, it was as simple as the fact that I liked both beef and chicken for dinner. My appreciation of one did not preclude my appreciation of the other.

All through high school I functioned just fine as a bisexual guy. There were no real problems at all. Even though, at that time, I didn't know my sexuality by its name, bisexuality, I was dealing with it quite well.

The problems began when I married and tried to live monogamously. I didn't have any trouble staying away from other women. Staying away from guys was a big problem, even though I had a fantastic and fulfilling sex life with my wife. The sex I had with her simply did not satisfy my need for male/male sexual bonds.

Looking back, the lessons of reality are clear. For a bisexual man, the need for male/male sex and a male/male bond is real and there is no substitute for it. Society fails to recognize reality when it implies that bisexuality is a learned behavior and that one can make the choice to step away from it. Those who make the decisions on what are behavioral norms simply have not talked to enough bisexual men, or they have not talked to them with an open mind.

There is so much one has to understand to live a successful bisexual life. Looking back what amazes me is that I pretty much instinctually knew what I needed to do to live a happy and successful life. The problems didn't come from me living life as a bisexual man. The problems came from trying to fit my living life as a bisexual man within the false notions society has about male sexuality and all the implications of male sexuality.

The fact is sex for men is kind of a wild thing.  I think at some level society recognizes the wildness but makes it its business to tame male sexuality and make it suitable for heterosexual monogamy and it is at that point the problems begin.

Admittedly, male/male sexuality can get to a point that even I consider it to be out of bounds. There are things that go on in male/male sexuality that are simply not healthy and rather sadistic and depraved. But I think the real question is what came first, the sadistic and depraved behavior or society failing to recognize the realities of male sexuality.  I think it was the latter. In failing to recognize male sexuality and male/male sexuality for what it should be, society has helped to contribute to making it something it shouldn't be in many cases. The little fetishes we all  have and the big sadistic and depraved fetishes that some of us have result from our having to deal in some way with what is denied us and even what is denied about us by society.

For men in particular sex has several functions. It has the procreational function which is the only function religion really recognizes as legitimate. It also has the recreational function which society condones within the bounds of heterosexual matrimony. But it also has the male/male bonding function which society does not recognize at all and does not admit exists much less condone.

Yet, if one talks to men who have sex with men, he will hear over and over about the need for bonding. Society simply refuses to recognize the reality of the need.

Personally, I believe society's wrestling with this issue is just beginning. The fact is male/male sexuality has been repressed for some time. But just as the internet and interpersonal communications via the internet have played a part in revolutions around the world in the last several months, I believe the internet is helping to arm a revolution in male/male sexuality. A subject that has been repressed and taboo is now open for discussion in tens of thousands of blogs and groups and one to one male encounters on the internet. Men are quickly coming to see that the urges and desires they have had all their lives are not unique to them. They exist in many if not in most men at one time or the other. Knowledge of such a thing cannot be contained. It will spread like wild fire and it already is.

The implications are profound. I believe that they will result in a new order of things and in a new awareness of the normality of male/male sexuality. The implications are so profound that I believe the may even transcend the terminology we currently use to describe men as straight, gay or bi. In talking to the number of guys that I do, I am beginning to see signs of something I had not really thought much about, the straight guy that is capable of a sexual encounter with another man. This seems to be particularly common in young guys today who see themselves as unquestionably straight but who also have no qualms at all about a sexual encounter with a trusted friend.

Once we would have written such a thing off simply by saying the reality was clear, the guy was never straight in the first place. I'm beginning not to be so sure of that. It is a phenomenon that is going to need a great deal of study, but I'm becoming more and more convinced that there are such things as straight men who can and do act sexually from time to time with other men in a frot type of sexual exchange and yet retain all that essentially makes them heterosexual. The sex is secondary to the bond and the bond is all male.

This bond is not new. It has existed only on societies before. It has simply been repressed now for several centuries. I believe that repression is coming to an end.

Reality is a complex issue. To understand reality, we must be willing to contemplate that which transcends current concepts of reality.

Jack Scott


  1. Jack — Wow, quite a post! You covered a lot of territory there. I couldn’t agree with you more that we bring about so much of our own suffering when we are unable to embrace reality. Too often we spend our lives living in the past or fretting about the future, and we spend very little time living in the moment and bringing awareness to “what is.”

    I only have two other comments to make. The first one is in regard to your statement, “Personally, I think this very thing is part of the problem in our country today. We're spending too much time trying to make things fair and level and not enough time preparing people for the realities of life and its inherent unfairness.” I do agree that we have become a country obsessed with immediate gratification, where we want everything NOW and we want there to be a minimal amount of pain or sacrifice involved in getting it. However, your statement comes from a perspective of privilege. I too used to think (and was raised to believe) that if people would just pull themselves up by their bootstraps and work hard they could improve their lives. I have learned over time however, that the reality just isn’t that simple. The institutionalized systems we have in this country significantly disadvantage a large segment of our population while protecting the privileges of others. There are many unemployed that would love to upgrade their skills, but are impeded from doing so and even if they did would find it impossible to find life sustaining work. Granted there are those who take advantage of the systems we have in place to assist those in need, but they are far fewer than the media would like you to believe. The dominant culture wants us to believe that it is the individual’s own deficiencies that are the cause of their plight — that perception helps to secure their privilege.

    The other comment I would have to make is in regard to the labeling of some sexual behaviors as “sadistic and depraved.” This is not the first post where this has appeared. Now I can totally appreciate that there are some sexual practices that are not your cup of tea, there are plenty that I certainly don’t understand; however, do we bisexual married men really want to be casting the first stone? I mean there are plenty in society that would and do label our sexual practices as sadistic and depraved. Do we really want to join that judgmental world? That said, I couldn’t agree with you more that it has been our repressive culture that has forced men (and women) to seek sexual need fulfillment in ever expanding ways. There have been studies conducted on individuals who use online pornography as their primary sex release and they have found that similar to drug addiction many users continue to seek out greater and more diverse highs. They are drawn to sites and sexual activities that they would never have dreamed of when they first began using online porn, often living out those desires later on (Out of the Shadows: Understanding Sexual Addiction by Patrick Carnes ). I am of the camp that what two consenting adults do in the privacy of their own home is none of my business and who am I to judge?

    Thanks again for an interesting post. Lots to think about.

  2. Compared to what we all grew up with, it does seem that sexual mores are changing. Yet to me, it seems agonizingly slow. Ironically, I think it's due to too much information, too soon. Because of the times we live in, we've all been exposed to a grand array of lifestyles, religions, and cultures. Many of which involve sexual practices both mild and extreme, which the conventional straight American society finds repugnant. That's a reality, and it's something we've brought upon ourselves, I'm sorry to say.

    Under an anonymous identity, people are much more willing to admit to such things. But in a real, identified environment, I doubt if most people would be as honest. A good indicator of this is how many anonymous commenters there are in ANY of the adult blogs, as well as how many named bloggers won't post a true profile or photo of themselves. I'm also not so sure how unwise a move that is. It might be quite prudent.

    Whatever the direction is in this matter, I think we need to always have and expect perimeters in human behavior. As a result, there's alway going to be a certain degree of judging involved when it comes to sexual activity.

    Consider any of the bizarre fetishes we've heard of. To label them as "bizarre" might seem unfair or judgmental, but it's simple reality that some of these practices go above and beyond what is feasibly safe physically, hygienically, and mentally.

    You've seen or remember the video tape series, "College Girls Gone Wild!"? There was nothing bizarre or kinky about it, and it all seems quite tame compared to what we are talking about. Yet no upstanding parent wants to find their little Susie in that film. Imagine the stigma and scandal! Some of the girls in that film have come forward to divulge what a mistake it was, how humiliating and damaging it was to their futures. In turn, some went ahead with law suits. If something as simple as exposing your breasts publicly during spring break could have such negative and damaging effects, imagine how people would respond to "FISTING! FAST AND FURIOUS!" [Or whatever other name or type of kink website you can come up with...]

    To condone them is simply irresponsible and detrimental to future development within a civilized society. Isn't that what we need to achieve? An acceptance of sexual diversity within a civilized society.

    Unfortunately, the exposure and exploration of the secret, lesser known sexual venues that are out there has set the acceptance movement further back than it needs to be.

    DMG, you know I'm behind you and your cause, and I hope you can understand what I'm trying to convey. Sometimes, too much of a good thing is bad, and to be judgmental isn't always uncalled for.

  3. Thanks DMG for your comments. I always appreciate comments that make me think and yours do.

    We seem to agree on much but disagree on some details.

    I admit I speak from a position of privilege. But it was not always so. I had to overcome many obstacles to get here. I simply think others must do the same thing.

    I had help along the way and I think society has an obligation to help anyone who is striving to better himself.

    As for throwing stones at those who are sexually different, I am much aware there are those who would throw stones at me as a bisexual married man.

    But my being a bisexual man is not inherently physically or psychologically dangerous to me or to others. There are sexual practices that are dangerous. I don't think anyone is served by pretending these practices are within the bounds of normal human sexuality.

    I appreciate your comments.

    Jack Scott

  4. Thanks, Jack. I find this a simply tremendous post. You seem to have reviewed all the pertinent issues and said some very clarifying things about the role of the internet. Before you were shut down I think I was a follower on this blog. This enabled me to be notified on my dashboard when you had made a new post. But the "become a follower" option does not seem to be available on your blog as it now is.

  5. I have just found out how to become a follower on this blog. You have to click on "Contact Me". So now I am a follower again.

  6. I have been coming to some of the same conclusions you mentioned. While I agree it isn't a choice, I do think that there is a curiousity in ALL males. Of course there will be a continuum of responses. From denial it even happens to acting on with great desire. I believe most men fall in the middle somewhere. So it would be like a bell curve. Which would be expected. I am quickly approaching 60 years of age. Married for almost 40 of them. Comments made by my male friends all seem to contain some variation of "Women seem to want sex less as they get older" And in the last few months have been exploring my options. In doing so, I have spoken with more than a few men who thought of themselves as straight UNTIL, straight sex was cut off. Like you, they had no problem with not cheating with a woman, but do now consider men. It is something I wouldn't have thought possible before. I mean, I knew I have always been attracted to men. And have acted on this attraction. I have been lucky in that I have had a friend in very similiar cirmcumstances so we have been F Buddies for 30 years. Once sex with wife stopped about 6 years ago, I find myself over time to not even attracted to women in a sexual way anymore. I had decided to just come out and leave things at that. Then I meet a guy who has been married over 40 years. He plays around. A Lot. Same story. What you said about M2M sex seems to apply. I long for the day when who we have sex with is not such a big deal. And I think that day is coming at a much faster speed that people realize. Even those of us waiting on it.


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