I have no idea whether I’ll even hit Publish on this one, it’s pure speculation and wondering. The audience is me, not you.
But I know to make it as honest as I can, to get the most out of writing it. It’s funny, I have a fictional character (Kent) who doesn’t always know what he feels or thinks until he says something; then he thinks, “Wow, did I just say that?” His lover Jamie always thinks before he talks.
With this post I’m more like Kent than Jamie. I’m exploring some ideas, trying to pull together some vague emotions until they make sense. Writing often works this way for me; it’s why teachers often advise students to keep journals. (H/t Miss Carole France, WLHS.)
Something weird is going on with my lustometer. This has been happening for several days now. My body wants sex but my mind isn’t satisfied.
Every guy on the far side of puberty knows what his body feels like when it wants sex. There’s this sense of unease, of anticipation, of restlessness. We come to recognize it; we’re horny—rather an ugly word, but still. If we can’t satisfy the physical drive, it comes out in other ways, in dreams, increased aggressiveness; our gonads start churning, sometimes over unexpected stimuli. It’s like hunger or any other physical need. We get antsy, we shift our weight from one foot to the other, we can’t concentrate. At work we start making mistakes and making excuses. The lunch whistle can’t blow fast enough.
As the blogger D’Jam’l says, you want what you want COZ U NEED IT!
The need for sex is built into our bodies, and therefore is a blessed thing according to God. That’s Lesson #1.
What we do about our physical needs, of course, is a question of morality. According to St. John Cassian, the seven deadly sins are Pride, Envy, Gluttony, Lust, Anger, Greed and Sloth.
Gandhi’s 7 Sins differ. He listed these:
- Wealth without Work
- Pleasure without Conscience
- Science without Humanity
- Knowledge without Character
- Politics without Principle
- Commerce without Morality
- Worship without Sacrifice
I notice that his sins are as much communal as individual. He wasn’t obsessed with eating or sex, but with the public impact of private behavior. Both lists seem helpful to me.
So there’s my second lesson about Lust; some thinkers don’t even list it at all.
However, it’s indisputably true that unbridled lust can lead us to very bad consequences; HIV, broken relationships, wasted time, self-destruction.
So how do you bridle it the right way? Christians would say you get married.
(Insert discourse favoring Gay marriage here.)
Monastics might say you channel it into your love for God—although in my experience this is less a matter of our choosing and acting than of receiving God’s gift and allowing lust to merge with divine longing.
I’m not sure if the latter is happening to me or not. (If so, I blame Julian of Norwich!)
My body’s going all kinds of crazy—but wait, that’s not right; my mind is wondering why my body’s NOT going all kinds of crazy. It’s been days now. I’ve never been through this before.
Is it some kind of spiritual growth? Or just the “male menopause”?
According to WebMD:
Since men do not go through a well-defined period referred to as menopause, some physicians refer to this problem as androgen (testosterone) decline in the aging male. Men do experience a decline in the production of the male hormone testosterone with aging, but this also occurs with some disease states such as diabetes. Along with the decline in testosterone, some men experience symptoms such as fatigue, weakness, depression, and sexual problems. The relationship of these symptoms to the decreased testosterone levels is still controversial.
No fatigue, weakness, depression or other sexual problems for me; no underlying disease process. What if it’s spiritual???
In the past couple of weeks I have stopped visiting erotic websites, including one that is actually fairly thoughtful and witty. They leave me cold these days, or even halfway disgusted. This surprises me; since the early days of AIDS, I’ve belonged to the camp that argues that porn is good, when it enables men to relieve themselves safely. You can’t catch a virus from it, that’s for darn sure. And no Gay man should ever worry about the “sin” of Onan. We’re not making babies in the first place, so that old crazed teaching doesn’t apply. As a planet we need to be concerned about population control—the ultimate reason God made Gay guys, and keeps cranking us out as fast as quality assurance allows.
But more and more I dislike what porn companies are producing.
It’s in their financial interest to promote a subliminal message that says, in Gandhi’s words, pleasure without conscience. In a sense this is the objective state of Gay men: no babies to worry about, no marriages to break up, no reason not to.
But so much of porn is dehumanizing, and that’s a very grave consequence indeed. We need not, in this hugely mechanized culture, any more inducements to become, or regard others as, less than human, just a means to a selfish end, a cog in a wheel.
So the rap against porn remains what it’s always been, commerce without morality. The only difference is that the moral argument has changed.
There’s no excuse for bareback videos, and a Christian cannot support them. Haven’t we lost enough porn actors already? How many more have to die to get you off?
There’s no conscience either in purported “Straight guys for Gay eyes.” All these scenes do is reinforce homosexual inferiority—and I don’t care if there is a sizable market for that. You can’t love Gay guys and tell them they’re worthless; one way or the other you’re a liar.
Back in 1994 when I first invented Kent and Jamie, I had to ask myself, What is my sexual ideal? It’s a useful question everyone should ask. Fantasies are one thing, turnons that aren’t real. Goals are entirely different. What do I want?
Over time I refined my answer to six male characteristics. None of them involve inanimate objects, group sex or interchangeable parts.
For that matter, none involve sex with a stranger. (I have now eliminated 98% of Gay pornography.)
I saw a video clip the other day of two guys getting it on in an RV; I guess they’re on a camping trip, meaning they met more than five minutes ago. They’ve got “good chemistry,” which is a mechanistic way of saying they like each other, are attracted to each other, pay attention to each other, appreciate each other. “Well,” thought I, “this might be good.”
Then a couple of other guys started banging on the door, demanding to be let in. I hit Stop.
Since the door is locked, I am hoping they stay out. Letting them in would say to the partner, “You’re not good enough, I want more.”
Is that a message you want from your partner? Or would you put your clothes on and walk off?
I’d scram, because I’d stop being attracted to a guy who did that to me. My bodyparts are mine, and they’re not interchangeable with anyone else’s.
This has nothing to do with traditional “faithfulness,” but everything to do with how one person treats another. (I think now I’ll click Play to see what happens.)
They ignore the interlopers.
The best sex happens when two people are into each other. Over time I’ve come to believe that, regardless of traditional heterosexual teachings, this means that the best sex occurs in a committed and monogamous relationship—monogamous because otherwise, the message is “you’re not enough, I want more.” If people love each other they can learn how to be “enough.” Don’t believe the easy lie that says one person can never wholly satisfy another. It’s just an excuse for “I wanna trick around.”
Being bored says “I’m boring myself.” The Pet Shop Boys have the answer for that.
We were never being boring;
we were never being bored.
It’s not my fault that hot, committed and monogamous happens to align with what the Church has always said. As far as I’m concerned it’s half-coincidence. The ancient wisdom isn’t wrong because it’s ancient and we’re cynical; maybe the problem is in us.
Let me come at this now from a different place: I believe that one of the reasons I’m on this earth in this time and place (in other words, the vocation that God has given me) is to help liberate my people, and thus all people, from the scourge of anti-Gay heterosexism.
From the Jews in Egypt to the women’s suffrage movement, from Dr. King to anti-colonialism, God has been working to free the slaves. So it only makes sense that this includes Gay slaves too. We are not here to pay higher taxes and get fewer benefits from being “unmarried.” We are not meant to be the Heterosexual Subsidy Plan, which is right out of South African apartheid.
We can’t liberate Gay people without entering into/enabling their sexual liberation. But what happens after that is very much up for grabs. We can easily expect that liberated Gay people will run after every false god they can find, and will only turn honest when those gods turn out to be lifeless and powerless.
I very much wish the Church—the liberating (not there yet) Episcopal Church—will learn to devote real time and resources to teaching people, Gay and Straight alike, how to integrate love, sex and spirituality.
Such work could be enormously popular, because it’s desperately needed.
By “teaching” I don’t mean imposing the old morality, but exploring with participants what the issues are today, helping us to come up with our own answers as well as listening to the ancient wisdom already revealed. Even Gay men can profitably study the Song of Songs.
We make a big deal in this church about not just marrying people because they want to get married; we make them jump through hoops, we have requirements, including pre-marriage counseling. Then once the big day’s done, we drop the subject like a hot potato.
What heteros need is post-marriage counseling, and it’s best done in groups.
What homos need is some enlightened Bible study starting with Cornelius the Centurion, whose “boy” was sick.
Of course, we need post-marriage counseling too, and it would be nice if that could be done in mixed groups. Currently we’re too obsessed with Gene Robinson and schism and external political concerns to respond to Gay couples with any depth.
My blog of course doesn’t fill this gap. But I figure that talking about Gay sex and Gay spirituality is a start.
Do other men come to a point where their relationship with God begins to crowd out all other concerns? If so, we don’t stop being human and having hormone drives.
Julian describes Christ as our Lover. She’s quite deliberate about that, and she knew what she was saying. Her whole revolutionary theology (from the 1400s!) was built on Divine Revelations that upend every human assumption about gender and God and the nature of love.
In ideal lovemaking, two bodies and souls are one’d to each other.
This is why marriage is a sacrament. The love of one person for another reveals the nature of God. The physical one-ing of two persons in mutual delight is a prefigurement of the soul’s union with God.
Whether you’re Straight or Gay you can see the light of God in the eyes of your lover.
Anything less is fast food, empty calories, a cheap thrill that doesn’t satisfy our needs. So why settle for it?
Hell is full of sex machines, which keep going long after your ass is grass.
My tentative conclusion is this: Gay or Straight, Christ is our soul’s Lover.
The human love we find in this life prepares us for the one-ing yet to come.
If we think sex is wonderful now, we can only imagine what Total Union will be like.
We know it includes the resurrection of the body, which is a fairly shocking circumstance; I don’t know what it portends.
But I know that true, gentle, selfless love is holy; and it doesn’t preclude, but actually invites in this life, hot sex.
If we could find out more of what that means as a Church, not just individuals, humanity would break down our red doors.
We should pray that God reveal Herself more and more, and give us the courage to look and listen.
It may well be that the “end of time” will not be an apocalypse, but a mass, giant and uniquely personal one-ing of human and divine. After that there’s not much need for mortal life.
But oh, is humanity slow to catch on…++