Tuesday, November 23, 2010


I may be gay, or I may not be. Mostly I am confused.

When I reflect on it, I can recall numerous instances of being attracted to men; young, beautiful men, older rugged men; men with definite character and the courage to display it fully. Yet, when I have thought of expressing my attraction physically the best I can manage is a hug. When I was younger, sexual acts with men were not one of my fantasies. True I did on occasion envision a soft skinned bottom to be penetrated, but I did not know if it was male or female. When I had such fantasies, the butt typically was disembodied, floating free from any face or distinguishable other body parts. I did see women attached to the bottom sometimes, and when I found out that women had vaginas as well as anuses I was shocked. Having only learned of female anatomy from my cousin’s Barbie doll I thought women only had one hole down “there”. When I first began having sex, I found the female vagina alternatively beautiful and disgusting. In fact I found all sex alternatively beautiful and disgusting. I still do much of the time.

I explained to a friend recently that when I engage in sex it is as if I am an observer. I have virtually no sensations of arousal. I am able to successfully masturbate but when confronted by the real thing my body shuts down; most of the time. When I used to smoke pot sex felt wonderful. I had trouble with premature ejaculation at times but the feeling was there. Unfortunately, hallucinations and paranoia also accompanied my use of pot and alcohol. Once I got sober, sex lost its appeal. I found myself performing because it was expected of me; except for one time. I recall that when I returned from Japan after a failed attempt to become a Zen priest sex was very exciting, every bit as exciting as when I used to be high. I felt free of guilt and fear for one of the first times in my life. I wanted to continue on my sexual high and travel the world forever. Unfortunately, as diagnosed by very knowledgeable physicians, my exuberance was mania. I could scarcely argue since during my entire “episode” of sexual “liberation” I was certain that I was being filmed for a movie. Once my mania subsided, so did my sexual desire.

Today, I have returned to the land where sex is unimportant, or at least much less important than friendship and kindness. I would use the word “love” rather than kindness, but the term is so overused it has ceased to have much meaning for me. Kindness, gentleness, compassion; these seem more real and concrete than love and romance. And, they are much more precious to me than sex. If it were possible to have both kindness and sex I might reconsider things. But, I have not mastered this art. When I engage in sex it inevitably feels as if I am “performing”, trying to make sure my partner is pleased and that I am pleased in turn. The goal of climaxing overrides all else. Kindness seems to be replaced by lust and desire. The result is that I feel very sad afterwards. The same way I feel when I am selfish with money or other material things.

I am not saying that I no longer masturbate. I do. But it is primarily for relief of stress or to counteract boredom. I enjoy it. I truly do. When I masturbate I do not feel like I have to perform or be successful. I can take care of things and go on about my day.

Also, I am not saying I do not feel sexual attraction during the day. The beauty of the human form does not escape me as I engage in my pastime of people watching. I daydream about sexual encounters with both men and women, sometimes both together. Then I return to the reality of my experience. I am open to change. I truly am, but I will not waste anymore precious moments of life “wishing” and “desiring” change or trying to twist myself into changing. I will not hold my happiness hostage. I will not play the “I will be happy when” game. If change comes simply by being open, then it will come. If it requires endless fighting and struggling then I prefer to enjoy the day.

Thankfully, most of the guilt about sex has left me; at least the guilt that can be accessed by an honest attempt to face my fears and review my past behaviors. A friend has told me that I act as if I “were emotionally castrated at some point at life.” I do not know. There may very well be deep seated, repressed unconscious sexual feelings that I simply cannot access. To paraphrase Robert DeNiro’s character in the movie Awakenings, “I cannot tell anyone about the things of which I am not conscious.” I write. I draw. I share. Thanks to these efforts I can confront and discount guilt put upon me by other’s religious and political views. I am very thankful for this freedom. It allows me to candidly ask myself, “Am I gay, heterosexual or both?” I kind of like the idea that I may be both. At least that it is interesting.

Regardless of the fate of my genitalia, of one thing I am certain - whatever sexual activities or fantasies I engage in (or choose not to engage in) my first motive must be kindness. I can celebrate. I can fantasize and play roles. I can even be a little bit “kinky” in my dreaming – sometimes this is the most fun. But I must never force anyone to do things they are not comfortable doing. And equally important, I must not force myself or allow myself to be forced into doing something sexually that is uncomfortable to me. When I do this I give up all hope of seeing sex as a cause of celebration, and turn it into nothing more than a duty. I do not know how to enjoy sex, and perhaps I never shall. But I am fairly certain that any hopes of sexual enjoyment must begin with honesty.

So, I guess I AM GAY if the definition of gay is that I can think of men who are sexually attractive to me. Some of them are very attractive. But I can think of women who I find very attractive as well; many of them. So I guess the real truth is that I AM GAY, I AM HETERO, I AM BISEXUAL, I AM A REPROBATE – A CELIBATE BISEXUAL REPROBATE. I may be celibate for the rest of my life, but I still am Dale even if my sexual status is ambiguous. Perhaps this is why my Grandmother Hankins wanted me to have an ambiguous name, a name that could be male or female, pink or blue, but in the end mostly just purple. Today I am content with this thought; very content, because I am speaking from my heart as clearly as I know how to speak. I know there are family and friends who will not be comfortable with my words, if they ever happen to read them. I do not know what to do about that. My words would be true even if I had never written them. I hope that anyone who is offended will forgive me for any pain I may cause them. I certainly mean them no harm and I wish them well. Perhaps they can do the same for me.

1 comment:

*~{;-) said...

"I may be gay, or I may not be. Mostly I am confused." Are you/I/we confused because our thoughts, emotions, and experiences do not fit easily into some box with a neatly printed label? Where/why do we feel guilt and shame? Who decided what we were to keep hidden, secret... is it not said, "we are as sick as our secrets?" Who benefits from keeping us sick?

Mind you, however, I have been labelled a "conspiracy nut."