Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Acceptance...Never Easy, Always A Choice

We've been talking alot about the faulty belief that being gay is a choice, that it can be caught by association with gay people, and that you can be "convinced" to be gay. All of these faulty assumptions completely negate the soul searching, denial, and overall struggle the average gay/trans person goes through to come to a place of acceptance just for themselves. To find the ability to say "I am gay"...nevermind considerations of acceptance by others.

Self acceptance is not a static event but more a process that happens to us as our lives progress. I can remember back into my grade school years how unhappy I was then. I was skinny and on the outside of the social pack, looking in. Everday I would look in the mirror and wish that my eyes were blue and my hair blond like the cool kid in my class that everyone fawned over. Of course, none of those things ever happened and things continued on this way for years. I hated who I was. Being gay added a whole new dynamic to this. What was once a shame, turned out to be the key to finding some measure of self worth.

Some people have an idea that there is something different about them from a very early age. For instance, one of the witnesses in the the Prop. 8 trial, Author Hellen Zia, testified in court that she knew from ag4. Her story is far from unique in that regard. I have a friend who knew since his preteen years. I had no such insight however.

Growing up in a home where your religion tells you its not right...where you parents tell you your going to marry a girl someday...and where sometimes threats were develop a hefty case of denial. That was me. Tons of things happened that should have clued me in to my sexuality. Pinning up posters of bodybuilders instead of women, private moments with the latest Muscle and Fitness magazine or those mail order underwear get the picture. Staying up late at night to find the softcore porn movies on cinemax to see the guys. Even finding my fathers dirty magazines...I didn't care a thing for the women in them. None of this was enough to make me look in the mirror and say "you know...I just may be gay". That' some deep denial. But whenever something happened I wrote it off as "temptation" and prayed it away as fervently as I could because it just wasn't possible to be gay....I thought those guys were all perverts and  Fems (awfull but true) and I wasn't a went the rationale.

So I buried it deep. and after waaaayyy longer than everyone puberty finnally showed up.  I spent it dating girls and as you already didn't go well. Even when I was having my first sexual experiences with a girl that I believed that I loved...I still fantasized about men....then tried to forget I did it.

Finally I buried enough that was no room for any more and the fantasies became louder and more persistant. I couldn't pray them away or ignore them anymore. I simply thought about men too much. That was the time I decided to go to a bookstore and read up on it. I was no stranger to book stores, they were my favorite place. However this time, I felt I needed to go in sunglasses and a trenchcoat..I was so scared. Walking into the gay and lesbian isle I kept scanning to see if anyone was watching me. As I began to peruse the books, I studiously ignored everyone else shopping around me. Then a funny thing happened.

This really young guy (he was 17, I was about 21)began asking me questions....."Oh hell" I thought. This is the last thing I wanted right then. My anxiety meter shot off the chart. But he was persistant and inspite of myself I got wrapped up in conversation with him. He turned out to be the first person I ever told I was gay and became a lifelong friend. We helped each other take those first steps out of the closet. We went to a youth group together and there, each of us  found our first boyfriends. Nothing more ever happened between us and we are still good friends today. I owe him a debt of gratitude for being so persistant on that first day and for getting me talking or I might have just chickened out and gone was the beginnings of my  first sense of self acceptance, not only as a gay man...but of any kind. The idea had begun to grow in me that I wasn't defective or an outcast....

now I only had to face the terrors of coming out to my family and friends who I thought with all my heart would abandon me. Thankfully 99% of them didn't but that did not mean that I did not agonize over telling each one. The thing is, when I told my parents and closest friends...I didn't care anymore who thought what about me. At this point I stopped playing the "pronoun game" entirely when talking to people about my private life....another hurdle cleared.

It needs to be said here that getting out of my home town and actually seeing gay people beyond the confines of a t.v. screen helped alot in throwing away my ..very, very bad preconceived notions of gayness. I met people with tremendous courage though they all seemed to also have broken hearts. They came in all shapes, sizes, and colors. I saw men that fit my view of what masculinity meant and exceeded it. In blew my roof I had to really think instead of just accept what I was told my entire life.

Then dating brought a whole new identity and power struggles. I had grown up in a home where "the man ruled the roost". While this caused some friction whene I dated women, I went into full tailspin when I dated my first boyfriend. Sex was the big there were positions to consider. What did it mean if I was the reciever instead of the giver. What if it was enjoyable? Did that make me less of a man? It took a while to completely throw out all the gender role stuff and just be me, to learn to enjoy sex without those associations, and find that strength and masculinity have nothing to do with it. Be who you are, love what you love.

Sorry about the length of this post and its rambling nature. I had a lot to say and a small place to say it in. It may be too much information for you but I felt it was all neccesary to tell the tale correctly.....Even though I came to terms with my sexuality...and my sexism...the road to acceptance still leads on. I still struggle with the attitudes of the world toward me and my family. I alternate between Zen acceptance and wild rage depending on events. Also, growing older also teaches you some lessons as well. Those first signs of gray in your beard and the growing tummy signal that you are now leaving young adulthood...please take all your baggage with you. In an image obsessed culture, its another lesson in self acceptance we have to go through. I have my battles still...we all do...I'm gonna get back to that washboard stomach someday :)    But I know longer wish for the blue eyes and blond hair ...I like being brown haired, brown eyed, gay, and married me.


  1. The fact that the trial is going on, made me have to research genetic involvement in homosexuality. I never wanted that to have to be a justification: they were born that way.

    I firmly believe it is genetically determined, but, even if it were a choice (though no one would opt to be killed), I wouldn't care. As long as two consenting adults are involved with no signs of abuse, I see nothing wrong with it.

    I am known to do some kinky role playing with my man, and I accept that it is not the most traditional, but I will never assume any shame because of it.

    Marilyn Manson said on Politically Incorrect in 1996, "No sex equals violence. It is the oppression of sex throughout history that has made people so violent." and then he goes on to speak about guilt associated with sex.

    .... and he went to a private christian school.

  2. I honestly wish was closer to that point and had shed much more of that baggage already. Alas I still have quite a ways to go on that winding path. (now If I could at least get the washboard abs)

  3. Well... You know... I was very much asexual in my 11/13 years old... and then one night looking for info on Green Lantern and Flash led me to my first gay encounter... First time EVER i´m going to tell anybody this, Gay fan fiction. At first i didn´t understood anything... and then... Batman pulled off his junk and green lantern wasall over it. I think My face in that moment was priceless. Needless to say my bones was there... And I did it.. Then it was the pictures.. the like ou said watching straight porn just to watch the guys. Then big time gay porn watcher on the net.

    The I cameout to my best friend,and he was "So?" Not that he saw it coming ( Yes in the moment i was so fucking weird, but i was too much of a good liar/actor) And that was it. i came out to almost alll my friends. Nothing much of it.

    My parents is a whole another story... long story.

    But... yeah. I pretty much accepted Myself a long time a go... well 4/5 years, for me that´s long since I´m only 20

  4. For me it was a bit different. For a number of reasons.

    I’m from Russia, a country where nobody even talks about homosexuality, it virtually doesn’t exist here, it’s one of the rarest topics people discuss. So I was kinda lucky that no one ever told me about homosexuality; no one told me it was a bad thing, a disease, a mental illness (yet I’ve read it myself in some book that contained a chapter about sexual perversions, and there it was, one of the perversions — homosexuality); my parents never told me “Don’t you ever become gay! It’s a sin! You will go to hell!” There was no pressure to hate it, or to even suspect it in me.

    On the other hand, the fact that I didn’t even know about it, obviously, did not help me to realize who I am until way later. So, when I did realize it, I wasn’t hating it, wasn’t fighting it, I just knew that all those lies I’ve heard about homosexuals being child molesters and whatnot were not true, because I knew I’m not that and will never be. But I couldn’t do anything about it, so I ignored it. It wasn’t a denial, I was completely aware I’m gay, I just put it away and… well… became a straight-acting guy. I’m not physically attractive, so no one cared if I had a sexual life or didn’t, which was cozy (no questions if I had a girlfriend, for nerds do not have girlfriends); at least there was an advantage of being… um… ugly.

    The other reason. I’m from a different generation, younger generation (I’m turning 25 next week, mid-twenties! I’m so old!), so the younger we are, the better informed we are in the end, the more examples are out there for us to learn from. I’ve had internet, I’ve had access to new information about homosexuality, and I’ve learned all those things that homosexuality was no longer considered a mental or any other kind of disease, that people finally agreed it’s OK to be gay, that homosexuality has nothing in common with child-molesting, and, most importantly, that it’s not communicable or acquired.

    There was no point for self-loathing, only for being sad that people live with lies they’ve been told decades ago, and they’re not gonna change their believes overnight. So, I had to hide. I don’t think I ever hated being gay. I always knew that it’s just what makes us different, like the color of our skin, or eyes, or hair. But, of course, there were moments when I wasn’t sure if it’s natural because it’s kinda not; and I agonized over thoughts like “what if there is something in what people are saying? there’s no smoke without fire!”, and the fact that I was almost molested by a pedophile contributed to those misgivings.

    What’s important is that seeing other gay people helps us all (gay and straight) to get rid of preconceptions. We see real people, we see them in their everyday life, and we understand that they are normal, just like everyone else, and this gay thing is just a teeny part of who they are, not a defining feature of the whole personality. And that is why we should be coming out.

  5. I still have quite a bit of baggage, A lot of mine relates to "masculinity" (or as a lot of my friends and coworkers like to joke my lack of it, as much as i don't like it but don't really say any thing)
    I will not ramble on here about it, If any ones actually interested its on my blog.

    But dang I wish I totally threw the excepting my self totally comfortable with being a gay guy thing at 22 special since i came out are around 19 but I still have issues I need to work out.

  6. Happy birthday, leXXi!
    You shouldn't be so down on your looks. Even if you are hideous, which I doubt, you seem like a very intelligent and sweet person, and it has been my experience, over and over, that geeky people who don't fit mainstream standards of beauty tend to be the best people to know.

    It bugs me how you belittle yourself all the time, mostly because I do it, too. You're fucking brilliant. Who cares what your face is here? You say amazing, insightful things here all the time. Maybe it is different for guys, I'm told they care about looks more than women, but any guy who would disdain someone as awesome as you is not worth your time.

    I have pretty crippling self esteem and I have to constantly correct myself when I start thinking self depreciating lies. It's hard work, and sometimes I don't do a very good job at convincing myself I'm worth anything at all.

    I guess my point is that I hear you voice a lot of the same self-doubt that I have, and I just want to pass on things people have told me that have helped.

  7. Reading this made me think "Hey, that jerk stole my story." Change a few minor details and that's basically my life growing up, including the underwear catalogs :)

    It took me until well after college to get over the self-hate and shame of being gay. And I can't blame my feelings on religion. Society and culture instilled those feeling in pretty much every gay child.

    I wish the experiences you described were rare, but it depresses me to remember how common they are.

  8. Wow, very very good blog. I feel like I'm in the same path, somewhere in the middle of your story. Even after telling the close people around me I am gay though, I still care. I think I have a lot of self hate still because the only way for me to survive growing up was to just see it wrong and go with the crowd. So I found it interesting that you mention how you really didnt care anymore after the close people knew. I hope I can get over the self hate because it is hindering on me getting relationships and just life in general really. Ive spent so much time and effort changing and accepting myself its hard to even know who I am anymore really. Im just turning 23 and I only pray that I have my shit together by 25. Anyway, thanks for the details, it helps me to identify and see Im not totally off the track at least.

  9. @Noelley

    Thank you so much for your words!

    Yeah, I’m not hideous (I hope), but I’m not an eye candy either. :) I used to be such a sweet boy when I was 7. I look at those photos and almost cry: why have I changed so much in the wrong direction?

    I belittle myself because I’m afraid to think more of myself than there is. It’s the worst thing for me — to think I’m better than I am in reality (and reality should be measured objectively, however we cannot be objective about ourselves, at least I can’t). But I hear you: when we think less of ourselves, we start to believe we don’t deserve a better life, so we act like we don’t deserve a better life, we don’t fight for it, we don’t ask for what should be ours. I’m afraid I’m doing all of these things. But I’m working on it, I promise. A year ago I was like a hundred times worse, that’s when I almost killed myself. But I decided to give myself a chance, so I started to work on myself, I lost some excess weight (over 35 lbs) and I felt so much better after that (physically mostly, and only after that psychologically), now I’m bulking up. *blush* I know, it seems shallow, but that’s what makes me feel better, and I’m not doing it “to become hot” (it won’t make me that anyway), I’m doing it because it would make me healthier and stronger, maybe I won’t even have to be afraid to be bullied or gay-bashed. I’m not comfortable with my body not because of societal perceptions, but because of my own perceptions, and that one is hard to fight, easier to change something. I guess, being a gay man has something to do with that, too.

    I believe we all need that special person who always would be there for us to tell us that we are beautiful (whatever that means) and loved. I don’t have that special person, but when I do I’ll be just fine. I guess, that’s why this fight for marriage equality is so important: it’s about recognizing the most important thing we need in our lives — companionship of someone we truly and deeply love, someone who makes us better people, someone who validates us when we feel we cannot be objective about ourselves.

  10. @K!r!lleXXI

    "I belittle myself because I’m afraid to think more of myself than there is. It’s the worst thing for me — to think I’m better than I am in reality (and reality should be measured objectively, however we cannot be objective about ourselves, at least I can’t). But I hear you: when we think less of ourselves, we start to believe we don’t deserve a better life,"

    I do that to...after so many years of "we don't want him", from the people around me, I believed it myself. You get afraid to think any better because you just waiting for the next person to come along and reiterate your worst expectation.

    "battle scars" I call them. Momentos to remind me where I've been and that I got through it.

  11. I just thought since we are talking about being openly gay I would share a break through from last night.
    I can honestly say that last night was the first time that someone asked if I was lesbian and my pulse didn't go shooting through the roof. It was no different then any other thing that we had talked about throughout the night and it felt so amazing to just finally be able to be cool about it.
    So yea, just sharing some happiness :-D

  12. @lexxi

    You hurt my heart! I am not very good looking either but don't feel bad about it at all. People turn out better if they grow up a bit ugly and unpopular.

    Over the years I have found ig just as easy up attract people with charm as looks. And a pretty face is not very often a solid foundation for s relationship.

  13. Great posting.

    You might be interested in this coming out blog post I saw today;

  14. I know all my responses are way too long walls of text but your entries inspire me to write a lot. This is going to be so long I have to make separate posts...

    I relate so much to that entry Bryan. I’ve always been skinny too and had self-esteem issues due to that as well (which still linger a little even though I’m older and more secure with myself). Since effeminate-ness is often conflated with homosexuality, and since size is often considered an aspect of masculinity, small wonder us skinny gay guys develop neuroses over our body images.
    And yes being gay made my masculine insecurities 10x worse. I probably wouldn’t care about it if I was straight, but since I wasn’t, I always worried if people knew I was gay just because I wasn’t masculine enough. Compared to many others, I am fairly normal—not too effeminate but not macho either—just in between. However, what made me more “feminine” than I’d like was my skinniness. That kind of automatically put me in the “nerd” camp even if I was decently athletic. I looked frail and weak no matter how I performed athletically or how masculine I acted. I couldn’t even go to the gym until college for fear people would automatically know I was gay for dare going into a gym to work out and feared people would assume I was just going there to check guys out.
    Just in case there’s still that part of you that wants to be blond and blue eyed, I can definitely say you’re perfectly fine in the looks department Bryan. Your hot and I don’t say that just to be nice or raise your self esteem. I looked up a bunch of different coming out videos one day and of all the guys I watched, I found you to be the most attractive. That’s how I even found your videos about your family (I saw your coming out story first, then saw you had made family videos). I literally created my YouTube account just so I could subscribe to you guys. And while I would love to say that I watch your videos because of your amazing family and political efforts (and I do), I’m not going to lie maybe a good 50% of the reason I watch is just because it gives me more opportunities to oggle at your hotness.

  15. My recognition of my homosexuality sounds like it was sort of like your experience too Bryan (and others who’ve posted). While I didn’t grow up in a religious environment, it was taken for granted that you marry somebody of the opposite sex. My family never talked about gay people. For a long time, I didn’t even realize they existed. The earliest I heard about it was junior high school when people would make jokes about people sucking dick and other juvenile games like asking kids if they, “Spit or swallow”. I didn’t think there was anybody who actually did those kind of things, so I just thought they were making outrageous jokes as junior high schoolers do. Unlike you though Bryan I didn’t have that self-denial period (probably because I wasn’t threatened or had to deal with religion like you). At least in terms of recognizing what I was. When I found out I was attracted to guys, I knew pretty conclusively that I fit that deviant label. I didn’t like it, but I certainly knew what I was and that teh gays did in fact exist.
    Sorry I have to laugh at the pinning posters of bodybuilders thing lol. I relate in the sense of those being the guys I’m attracted to. But I would NEVER have put up posters of them! I’m kind of shocked that you didn’t realize it after that, but yeah shame can be a powerful thing! I totally relate with the private moments with the Muscle and Fitness magazine thing too. I used to like going to the market just so I could go to the magazine aisle and look at the them. Same with being attracted to the underwear models. It’s sort of weird but cool to read about the experience of somebody you’ve never met and have so many similarities and connections with them about a private life you’ve had. I didn’t have the porn channels, but my late night watching was tapes of guys I was attracted to from shows like wrestlers lol. I relate with thinking that gays were perverts and fems too (I blame the media of the past for that). So while I wasn’t in denial as much about the label of being gay as you were, I was in denial in terms of accepting that it was alright to be gay. In some ways I guess I’ve been just as in denial about it as you or more so, because while I recognize I am homosexual, I have had no serious desire to come out or do anything gay with somebody until relatively recently. I still wanted to marry a woman until like last year and I’m in my late 20s! I never had sex with a girl like you though. I don’t know if I could even though I’ve wanted (not sexually, logically) to…Maybe you have a little bi in you?
    Your bookstore experience is crazy. I’m surprised somebody actually noticed what you were doing and called you out. That’s great that you stayed in touch with him. When I hit puberty and came to terms with my sexuality, it was right when the internet started becoming popular. So I never had to do the bookstore thing. My education has come mostly from the internet, and for better or worse it’s a big reason why I’ve been able to lead such a private life without coming out or asking people or looking to books for help or what gay is being about.
    This was a great entry. I love hearing about your life and thoughts. No need to apologize for the length! The longer the better to me. I’ve met very few gay people both in person and even on the internet (I’ve been so closeted I never chatted with gay people in chat rooms, on message boards, etc. like many others. YouTube and now this blog has been like one of the few things that I’ve started actually talking with other gay people). So to me hearing about the experiences of other gay people is fascinating and very insightful.

  16. @U3Q2V Great Response but: "50% of the reason I watch is just because it gives me more opportunities to oggle at your hotness".

    I do have to live with him do you have to make his head any bigger then it already is ;OP


  17. @ carolyn

    Yay! Carolyn! /cheers...we need to celebrate those small steps.

    @K!r!lleXXI, Swampex, and orangegoblin

    I'm not going to put this delicately because, quite frankly, I think all three of you are nuts in thinking that you are not attractive. I have seen your pictures(with the exception of lexxi) and I need to tell you that if I were a single man and in your area, both of you guys would be the subject of secret crushes. And you Lexxi with your damned fuzzed out profile pic. You guys need to realize that others don't neccesarily see you the way you see yourself.

    and no Jay won't get upset reading this because he and I have always been able to talk about stuff like this and not have it be a threat to "us". We often share with each other who we think is hot and who we might have accidentally developed a crush on...thats part of why I love him..because theres not much in this world I can't tell yeah....stopped downing yourselves....I won't have it.


    No worries about the length of the reply. I like the conversation that takes place. I like hearing others peoples stories also. I get just as much of a sense of connection to other gay people as hopefully you do...we need that connection just as much. Otherwise we live alone with our histories and think we are the only ones to feel the way we do....nothing could be further from the truth.

  18. Wait... WHAT? the only place i can think that you´ve seen pictures of me is in facebook... and i tought you weren´t a fecebook guy ¬¬

  19. Wow, great post! You know I've already completely came out to myself...but not to anyone else. This is because I live in a country that's really homophobic and there's a good chance many of my friends would stop being friends if I told them...I also have NO idea how my family would react, they rarely talk about stuff like that.

    But there's something that really bothers me...I'm not Brad Pitt, but I'm not ugly either...but I've never even held hands with a girl. Not cuddled, not kissed, nothing. And I see that Bryan did all those things even if he was gay...

    I don't know, I feel like, sexually, I'm really "late". I don't want to be 18 (when I'll go to college, which I will do everything I can to ensure is in a gay-friendly country) and go onto the "gay scene" for the first time and not even have kissed anyone! How pathetic is that...


  20. @Matt I did add that I was in my early twenties when all this stuff was going on right? Everyone else around me had more notches in their bedposts than they had bed to notch. I counted myself late too...but thats nothing to measure yourself by. Meeting someone and falling in love has nothing to do with you age or when the people around you do those things. Partially because I think comparing yourself to others that way is more hurtfull than helpfull...but I admit to feeling the same way at that time.

    @swampex ..Yes I looked you up on me a stalker if you will. You were downing yourself then too and I went to see what you felt so bad about. What I found was a very handsome man who would have gotten my attention had I been in that place in life. You have nothing to worry about in the looks department...neither does Goblin ..or, I suspect, Lexxi.

  21. @Bryan
    Other people being mean to you is one of the aspects to doubt yourself, no doubt there, but, believe me, I am my own worst enemy, I am my own worst critic, so I have to fight myself. :)

    Wow, lucky you, I would freak out. The other day I’ve run into my female classmate from school (we had same classes in 90s, now she’s a teacher in that school) and my Literature teacher from the same school. And I was a bit freaking out on the inside, worrying if they know, if they notice something, if they ask me about something (like if I’m married yet). I can’t imagine if someone would ask me directly about it. But that’s mostly because I have no backup plan (in case this whole thing becomes known to my parents and they’ll throw me out of their house). So, to the point, it’s great when you don’t have to consider those things anymore, when you have your own life and you don’t depend on anyone anymore.

    Oh, yeah, there is this trend that if someone’s good looking, he’s self-absorbed, narcissistic, egotistic. But who wouldn’t wanna look a bit better?

    Is that what happens when you have a hot husband? :)
    Ah, jealousy! That’s one of the arguments why I don’t believe in polygamous marriage (and polygamous relationships, so to speak). I mention that because of those silly people who like to say, “Gay marriage? What’s next? Polygamous marriage? Prostitution? Sex with children?” — I mean, really, what would you say about polygamy? The rest is too easy, but polygamy? Well, I have my answer.

    @Bryan again
    OK, I’ve sent you a link to the unblurred version of my profile picture (it was blurred out intentionally by me, to hide my identity, well, whatever’s left of it after everything I’ve told you, guys, here), so you could see for yourself, and we’ll be done with that. :) Stop downing ourselves? Aye, aye, sir! :)

  22. @Anonymous
    that would not be latter then me, um I did not hold hands or even have my first kiss till I was almost 19, then nothing "physical" till I was over 21 (I'm 22 now)
    There is nothing pathetic about it. Just go at your own pace that you are comfortable with.

  23. @K!rr!llexxl
    I know what you mean about self doubt, I to this day absolutely hate the way I look. I know a big part of it comes from the fact I'm still overweight. I have to lose about 30lbs still(lost 255lbs from my high of 255 when I graduated HS) , to get down to 165 which is the top end of my ideal healthy weight

  24. Ah polygamy...I actually sat down and thought about this one for a while.

    I have know basic objection as long as all participants are of legal age and consenting. Far be it from me to judge who or how we love. Though I do question if you can be in a relationship with more than one person and have it contain the same depth that a standard relationship can reach. Jealousy would just be the start of the problems that could happen.

    The major reason I don't believe in that "slippery slope" argument is what happens when a polygamous relationship dissolves?...especially if child custody is in question. Who gets the house, the dog, and the furniture is easy to work out...but kids and their wellbeing would be alot tougher to address methinks.

  25. @Matthew (aNothWestView)
    Well, you can send your picture to Bryan, he’ll tell you if you’re being too hard on yourself :)
    And about losing weight… I’ve been through this already, and I wanna tell you and everyone who wants to, but unsure: it’s easier than we think. I always thought it would be really hard, almost impossible, but I’ve calculated everything into my system (to make sure that I take metabolism into account), and I’ve lost twice as much in the same time frame I outlined for my workouts. Now I’m doing the opposite — gaining weight by growing muscles (my lowest weight was 152 lbs, now it’s 158 lbs). I recommend to first lose fat (if it’s really visible), and then do muscles (if you even want or need this at all).

    I feel like I should share my “wisdom” on my system somewhere, because it was brilliant: easy, effective, quick loss and special protection for muscles! It’s not posted anywhere, I had to go through many websites and medical articles to collect it all in one place and make sense of it.

    I don’t have any objections about polygamy, too, and I was really surprised to find out that in some states of the US, and even in Canada, polygamy is against the law (in Canada you can go to jail for 5 or so years just for being in a polygamous relationship). Such a nonsense! Anyway, that’s why I said that I don’t believe in polygamy, not that I’m against it. Maybe some people can make it work, dunno. But I’ve actually watched this one threeple (or whatever they call themselves) — three gay men who lived together; they claimed they were happy about that arrangement, but their body language clearly indicated it’s crap; basically, it was one hubby and two wives — wives did not like each other, but both were in love with the hubby and were jealous of each other, while the hubby was all “there’s enough of me for everyone.” So, I didn’t buy it.

  26. @K!r!lleXXl
    I really do need to lose weight i swear I feel that I look like the freaking good year blimp and its a wonder people don't mistake me for it. (195 and 6 foot is very very overweight!!) Plus I absolutely can't stand the way I look. My legs are stock my arms are puny, I was doing well at continuing to lose weight till my work schedule got flipped upside down, now I'm finally sort of getting adjusted (its only been almost 4 months) from going form working 2pm-11pm to now working 10mp-6:30am. I just need to get back into throwing in the exercising more. (and eating less then I do now cause obviously I'm still eating to much, I really do have a love hate relationship with food, but on the bright side one of the new Rx's I'm on has a side affect of killing your appetite so that's been helping things out)

  27. @Matthew (aNothWestView)
    ♦ 195 lbs and 6’ is not so bad, BMI* = 26.43 which is overweight, but not obese.
    ♦ I was 192 and 5’10, BMI = 27.55 which is overweight by US standards (obesity starts at 30), but almost obese by European standards (obesity starts at 27.6).
    ♦ The important thing is to achieve the feeling that you’re comfortable, nothing dangles (well, except, you know…), nothing sticks out (that shouldn’t stick out), but at the same time you’re not dizzy and not about to pass out (when I got to 152 lbs that’s how I felt, it was a wake-up call — I hit the bottom).
    ♦ My legs were really fat! I couldn’t get my jeans (that I got 3.5 years prior) farther than to the middle of my thigh, and now they are several sizes too big :( I need a completely new wardrobe.
    ♦ Eating. At first I told myself I’ll just eat less. Yeah, right! It’s impossible. Only when you really start to work out you realize how much effort you put into this, so that’s when your will actually works and you can handle it. First week is the worst, hell, first day is the nightmare (you go to bed and all you think about is food, your stomach won’t shut up, and you’re scared this is how it’s gonna be from now on). But after two weeks it’s like it never happened, you’re on a healthy diet and you’re fine with that. Killing appetite will probably work, too, but you gotta be careful with that.
    ♦ Funny that I always was like the skinniest of all, and 3 years ago, out of the blue, I started gaining weight, no more all-you-can-eat buffet… Well, after some time you realize that you don’t really need all that food, and don’t even miss it.

    * BMI — Body Mass Index (in case somebody doesn't know).

  28. Very nice article Bryan. Some of the stuff you talk about sounds similar to what I am currently going through. Like you I come from a religious background and for years I told myself that "it's a faze" and told myself that it would someday just go away if I ignored these feelings. The kept telling myself this since the church I grew up in considers homosexuality (or any form a pre-marital sex) is the worst sin next to murder. I was also taught that it was a life trial and that a person can overcome it. Finally at 20 and a half I could not take it anymore and my friend who saw I was obviously bothered by something asked me what was wrong and I told him the truth finally, well not exactly since I said bi not gay, but he picked up that I was more gay than bi. Every friend I have told so far has been ok with it. I still have not told my family except one sibling who is not religious. I feel that I am late in coming out, but I am still glad I have started to. A lot of weight was lifted for my shoulders doing so.

  29. I have mixed feelings about polygamy. I’ve been raised to be monogamous. For those of you talking about your sexual inexperience, I’m right there with you. I’ve never kissed, had sex, or had a relationship with a guy or girl. Part of that has to do with my non-attraction to females, and not wanting to lead a “gay lifestyle”. Part of that has to do with wanting to have a monogamous relationship where there will be no serious temptation to have any infidelity. Also like what others have brought up with the complications of jealousy and other things, I have some questions about it.

    That being said, I realize I’m largely uneducated about it, and overall I think if consenting adults find more happiness in an unconventional relationship arrangement and it’s the optimal one for their self interests, I’m all for it. I also learned that man’s true nature is promiscuity and that was eye opening. I know some here are religious, so this is not to offend, but for those who do believe in evolution, this might be enlightening like it was for me when I heard about it.

    I had always thought monogamy was human nature, but I learned that it is more of a social, and cultural, and religious construction. Biologically, men, like other organisms were meant to be promiscuous to spread their seed and have sex with as many women as possible to impregnate them and ensure the survival of their genes. Women had more of a monogamous orientation to care for and raise the children they did give birth to. Sex wasn’t just about pleasure it was about reproduction and getting one’s genes out there to be carried on for future generations. That’s why when you hear about earlier societies, you actually can see how polygamy or relationships that mirrored them were more widespread. For example, there were those tribes where a guy has multiple wives or has a harem of women as his sex partners. Or a king who while married to a queen also has a stable of mistresses or courtesans he does things with and everybody knows about it and is okay with it. When I see all the cheating and infidelity in our society and see just how predisposed certain guys seem to be in having sex with multiple individuals DESPITE being taught not to do those kind of things, this makes perfect sense to me. When you watch the Bachelor or Bachelorette you sort of see this polygamous dynamic in action, and you can see for yourself how people really CAN have feelings for more than 1 person at 1 time. Whether you see cheating as a result of man’s true nature being sinful (if you’re religious), or man’s true nature as being promiscuous (if you believe in promiscuity as a vehicle for evolution and genetic fitness) will depend on what you decide to believe.

    BTW, I know promiscuity and polygamy are not the same thing, but the 2 concepts often get conflated, and there is a little overlap. The point is that from certain perspectives, monogamy is far from the most natural relationship institution even between men and women, and is a product of culture versus some natural result of our biology or the way us humans are created.

    Concerning working out, the toughest part for me (besides my insane metabolism which I bet is way faster than any of you other ectomorphs) is eating. On top of already having a fast metabolism that converts the food I do eat to energy (instead of fat or muscle), I also don’t like to eat in the first place. It took me a long time of working out and making little to no progress to eventually learn that my personal problem was my diet. To me, working out and sleeping enough is the easier parts. The hard part for me was diet and eating! Not only was I not eating the right foods, I was also not eating nearly enough. Once I learned that I finally hit the “normal” level of the BMI scale. Before that I used to be in the unhealthily skinny zone. For those of you who feel too fat though, I can’t really help there since I’ve only really learned how to bulk versus getting cut up

  30. @u3q2v

    I believe things are a bit more complicated than that, notably both men and women are both polygamous and monogamous at the same time.

    Men are polygamous for the reasons you’ve mentioned — they want to spread their seed and ensure their genes are being passed on to next generations (if they are successful, it means they were healthy enough, strong enough, handsome enough to attract females, and nature is interested in spreading those good genes that make you all those things). On the other hand, men are monogamous because they have to take care of their children and the mother of those children, get them food and protect them from all the evils of the world — that’s when love comes along.

    Women are polygamous because they seek for the best candidate to father their children, so when a better looking guy comes along they move on to that guy (it came to my knowledge that during ovulation women are very prone to have sex with the best candidate, no matter if they love them or not, or if they are in the relationship with someone else, because that’s when nature turns that polygamous machine on; as a result, about 10% of men raise someone else’s children and don’t even know about it — their wives cheated on them because of that ovulation sexual heat they couldn’t resist). On the other hand, women are monogamous for the same reasons as men — they need men to supply them with food and to protect them from dangers.

    Ultimately, polygamy and monogamy live hand in hand in everyone of us. Promiscuity helps us to spread our seed or to have a child from the best candidate there is, while monogamy (a longstanding relationship) helps us to have protected families to ensure the survival of us and our offspring. These two are not mutually exclusive, because one deals with coitus only, and the other is all about love and commitment. So, my point is, it is a mistake to say that polygamy is the natural behavior, while monogamy is something invented by our society! The confusion about polygamous relationships comes from confusing spiritually inspired relationships with sexually driven relationships. It’s more likely to have a monogamous spiritual bond, while sexually it is more likely to desire as many partners as possible to have sex with.

    I think that nature (when creating love and commitment to ensure men stick around to care for their offspring) did not intend it to become a monogamous feeling, but that’s how it turned out for most of us because in the world of limited resources only a handful of us can support several spouses and all their children (you gotta be a warlord, a landlord, or a king for that).

  31. I totally agree with you. Well said. I didn't express what I meant quite right. I meant the predominance of monogamy and the reduction of polygamy in society is cultural based as opposed to nature based as many assume. Because one is so dominant in cultures, it's easy to think that it is the result of nature, just like some might assume that homosexuality is "unnatural" because it's in the minority. All of this is "natural"

  32. @ GayFamilyValues and @ u3q2v and @ K!r!lleXXI -

    Question about polygamy.

    I think we have all seen Hugh Hefner with his three or four girlfriends. And, I am sure we have all entertained a threesome here or there in our lives.

    When I read the news about polygamist compounds, you ususally find that underage sexual abuse took place.

    I think I am of the belief to love who you want, as long as it is consentual adults involved. I know that each family in life has different make-ups. Like some people have no father, but a mother, and a grandma. Or, two aunts or an uncle to help out, so I know that families differ, circumstance by circumstance.

    But, the only reason I am cautious about polygamy is because of the documented sexual abuse to minors (not the fabled sexual abuse used to paint homosexuals a certain way).

    I am just confused on how to feel about it.

  33. @ u3q2v

    Predominance of monogamy argument seems better, but still it’s only the perceived predominance because nature did not withdraw, it’s still here, so many people engage in extramarital sexual activities or simply have several relationships at once, sometimes openly, sometimes secretly. Polygamy and promiscuity are here, they work openly, but underground (it’s not as apparent as homosexuality); but this lifestyle is stigmatized by the society, no doubt.

    Personally, I don’t care if people are promiscuous or not, if they are faithful or not (I mean, they have a right to live their lives the way they want, but it’s not good to lie to people who want to be exclusive with you and expect you to do the same in return); as long as it doesn’t concern me — I don’t want to be in an open relationship, that’s my choice, I have a right to make that choice and I have a right to expect my partner to respect that or to leave me for good.

    @ ladybugmagic

    Ménage à trois is coitus, not a relationship. In modern world we have to admit there is this difference. When I say I don’t believe in polygamy I mean relationship, not coitus. Sex can be as weird as our imagination, whatever floats your boat as the saying goes. As long as we talk about informed consent of adult parties.

    However, I must admit you’re being prejudiced against polygamists (hereinafter I presume they exist and I assume they are people who are capable to be in multiple loving relationships and have true love feelings). It is the same thing as homosexuals — someone saw a guy fucking a boy, and immediately gay men are pedophiles. Same way, someone saw so-called polygamists fucking children, and immediately they are child molesters. Why so-called polygamists? Because that’s what they wanted people to call them, but in fact they were promiscuous sex addicts who wanted to fuck anything that moves — that is not polygamy, it’s just an addiction to sex. Polygamist compounds my ass! They might as well call themselves The Society To Preserve Mississippi Butterflies, or something else that has a ring to it.

    Talk about labels and their misuse!

  34. @ K!r!lleXXI

    I am glad you clarified. I thought I was being fed the similar scare tactics about same-sex couples.

    I don't know how to love more than one person at a time, as in a relationship, but surely, there are multiples that do, and I do have to appreciate the love.

    I can't hate love. :-)

  35. @K Yeah by "predominant" I meant the open enforcement and the perception of majority or correctness in society (not its actual occurence). While promiscuity and side partners obviously happens, it's generally looked down on in our culture. The general tone of our country's values is an emphasis on monogamy. Other relationship statuses tend to villified or viewed as deviant and unhealthy. And maybe they are. That's what's tough, because I'm not sure.

    Since plenty of people engage in promiscuity or polygamous behavior despite perhaps being "coerced" into monogamous relationships by culture, I wonder if it would be better to just allow people more options. That way maybe the people who want to play around won't feel compelled to trick more monogamous minded individuals into false or unstable relationships. Or not. Maybe they would do it anyways. I don't know.

    It goes back to the question of whether allowing more options and being open to diversity is a good thing or bad thing. Is it good to promote different lifestyles and behaviors or should we reinforce specific types and downplay others? If we don't censor violence in the media, are we promoting it? If we allow polygamy, is it going to destroy monogamy or weaken marriage? If we talk about sex openly is it going to make the youth more promiscuous or is it better that they're educated because they'll do it anyways? I don't have the answers for these things. It's tough to know what things truly are zero-sum and where it's best to let diversity flourish (i.e. gay marriages won't hurt heterosexual marriages).

    With gay stuff I feel I can make a decently educated opinion about it, since I'm homosexual. I feel sexuality can't be altered, so it's not like gay marriage will make more people gay. Additionally, I do feel homosexuals are "coerced" into marriage because of it's exalted and normative status, and this can result in a lot of painful break ups later. So the question is this related to polygamous or promiscuous minded individuals? Or are they completely different topics? A lot of the ignorant merely lump us together with other deviant groups, and I actually understand why because it is difficult to tell what we can generalize about and what we shouldn't.

  36. @ladybugmagic

    I'm not even sure how I feel about polygamy yet. I feel I need more education on the subject, but for now I remain open to either being for or against it. When you add minors into the equation though, my initial reaction is to disapprove of it. Admittedly I haven't put that much thought into it, but I would imagine that our gov't outlaws it for a well thought out reason (although this doesn't necessarily constitute an air tight justification since much of our gov't outlaws things like gay marriage currently).

    I think generally speaking, minors aren't in a place to make such mature and responsible decisions about sex and relationships. They're also just more vulnerable emotionally, socially, and financially to be taken advantage of. So for now, I'm against playing around with minors. The criteria should probably be maturity, since some youngsters can be mature, and some older folk can be immature. But of course, it's harder to gauge maturity, so "age" seems like a sufficient measurement for regulation.

  37. @ u3q2v

    Aren’t people allowed to live a life they see fit? No one’s going to jail because of being unfaithful, no one get bashed for being promiscuous. There is some kind of social stigma about that, but it’s being rapidly destroyed. These days it’s pretty much OK. As for why there is social stigma — well, it’s the damn Church again! They delivered the word of God that prohibits adultery and premarital sex. And they forget to mention that it was important in the past because there were no contraceptives, so any woman could easily get pregnant which could lead to serious complications, that’s why they felt it needs to be regulated, that’s why this thing appeared in the Bible. Now we have condoms and all other sorts of things to prevent pregnancy. So, I say let everyone decide on their own how they want to live and who to love.

    However, no matter how much we tell people it’s OK to be promiscuous or in polygamous relationships, they still might feel that need to be monogamous with someone, so there will always be people who would lie to their monogamy-yearning partners just to not deal with all the drama. So, I think we don’t even have to get involved into this as a society, let everyone do whatever they want, nothing will stop those lies.

    As for “good reason” for outlawing polygamy… I seriously doubt that. I don’t see any reasonable reason. The only reason was the Bible, just like for outlawing homosexuality.

  38. @ u3q2v

    A little bit of a segway, but touching on what you said, "If we talk about sex openly is it going to make the youth more promiscuous or is it better that they're educated because they'll do it anyways?"

    I don't know why, but last night I was drawn to a VH1 special about the "New Virginity" about all these pop stars professing they are going to wait to have intercourse until they are married, and it shows their "purity rings".

    I watched in disgust as they showed fathers taking their young daughters (not their sons) to a "puritan" ball, as young as age 4. They bring "white" roses to the base of a crux, to symbolize their purity and fill out purity commitment cards.

    It was vomit-worthy, and very oppressive to the girls there. Some did not even kiss until they married.

    I found so many things wrong with this. On a superficial level, what if the guy they married had a pencil dick, and they only found out the night of their marriage?

    On a feminist level, why weren't the sons taking the same vow of chastity? And why are these men making decisions for these women-to-be?

    On a biological level, masturbation is a sign of intelligence. Fetuses can masturbate in the womb. People love pleasure, and I find sexual pleasure necessary. When we hit puberty, biology dictates to us that we want fornication. Why deny that to your body?

    On an educated level, statistically, people taught abstinence have a 30% chance of rebelling, and have no education on condom use, or spermicides or birth control.

    Things like a "purity ball", or forcing a four year old into a life long oppressive commitment of abstinence is very irresponsible.

    An appropriate thing to do would be to teach your children to try and wait until they are in love, and if not, or if so, when they are ready to have sexual relations, arm them with loads of information on protection and preventative measures.

    I have likened premarital sex to drug usage. I think I read somewhere that of two or three siblings, one is likely to dabble in drugs. Drugs sometimes lead to addiction. As much as we would not like to see our children in rehab centers after they lose their teeth due to a speed addiction, or something like that, we still have to be realistic, and teach them about drugs.

    The same goes for "stranger danger". That is an essential talk, no matter what. Shall we plant our heads in the sand and pretend it doesn't exist or arm our children with protective measures if some random adult offers them a lollipop?

    The "puritan" fundamentalists halt all movement and preventative measures at schools. They either yank their kids from sex ed, or protest schools handing out free condoms to their kids.

    Their immediate next step is to go protest abortion clinics, even though some kids are going there to get screened for STDs or obtain protection, in order to prevent an abortion.

    Contradictorily, while opposing abortion, they also place severe limits on the adoption process, by actively protesting same-sex couples from adopting.


    As far as diversity - I have to say, I have seen some very communal families raising children, and I have to support consentual adult relationships, where there is no evidence of abuse. I admit I am not very learned on the topic of polygamy either, but, biologically, our species is a polygamous species.

    Other species have lifelong mates, so I think it differs, person to person, I guess.

    It's not my bag, because I only want to be with my boyfriend (my husband to be, when all couples are allowed to marry).

    But, I just won't actively participate in a polygamous relationship.

    I won't make that decision for the participants, so I would vote in their support if it came down to it.

  39. Thanks for a great piece Bryan. I, too, laughed at the part about the private moments with the muscle magazines and the underwear catalogues. Totally relate to that. It’s interesting how we might feel like we’re the only one who goes through something, when the truth is we’re not. How can we when there are six billion of us on this planet? Like u3q2v said, it’s nice to feel that connectedness with others who have gone through the same thing as yourself.

    When I was a teen in the 90s the only gay people that seemed to be shown by the media and society were effeminate men which, while I have no problem with, I couldn’t relate to at all. It made me feel so completely alone. In fact it has been gay men like Neil Patrick Harris, Chad Allen and now Gareth Thomas coming out, who I find myself better able to relate to, and they have helped me to feel more comfortable with my sexuality. They have shown me that there is a great diversity to gay people and that one’s sexuality should not define one’s career, hobbies, etc.


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