…which leads me to a subject which I feel I must address tonight, in this entry, before I can go on with others in the future. This may well be the longest entry I give because it’s going to cover a great deal about my personal life of the last twenty years. I am gay, or at least bisexual. I am attracted to guys and that is something I will no longer deny, at least to myself. I have often wondered why and I consider what I’ve learned in psychology classes, and what will follow for the next couple pages is some basic information about myself and what analysis I can come up with for why it may be that I am who and what I am and why I am sexually attracted to who I am.
I’ll skip straight to the hardest part of this, so that I can get it out of the way. When I was a child, before I was enrolled in even Kindergarten, I had sex with a much older boy, one of the boys my mother baby-sat for but who was really too old to be baby-sat. Its been… at least fifteen years since then, and although the knowledge of what happened haunts me to this day, clear memory of it is not so … easily accessed. I think his name was Bret I remember positioning myself on top of him and placing my penis between his butt cheeks and moving it back and forth as I was told, that image, more than anything else from that…experience… is burned into my memory. I don’t have …. Image memory from when he did the same to me, most likely because I would have been facing the carpet, rather than a body, but I know that he did at least the same to me. Whatever else happened to me by him I’ve blocked from my memory. I do remember though, that I later engaged in similar behavior with his sister, more my age. I don’t remember what she felt about it, but I do know we didn’t get far because we heard my parents coming and quickly tried to act normal, but I was under the bed, putting my clothes back on, and I froze in terror when she told them as much. Did I initiate it, did she? Both of us, maybe? I don’t know. To the girl, should she ever read this: I’m so sorry that I’ve forgotten your name, and I beg your forgiveness for whatever pain I might have caused you. I pray that what your brother did to me was not repeated with you, but I fear that for what happened between us to have happened that both of us were abused by your brother.
This was the first of my childhood exploration of sex, and I know that I knew that adults knew it was wrong and had told me at some point; else I wouldn’t have reacted in fear when my parents caught me pantless that day. This is part of my guilt. I participated with that older boy willingly. I participated willingly with that girl as she participated willingly with me, though I know not who initiated it between us. I digress…. My childhood sexuality did not stop there. The order of events is no longer clear to me, but I know that I have touched and been touched by my best friend, James. There was also Joran, whose last name I’ve long since forgotten... I don’t think we ever touched, but we did agree to see each other’s penises. Again, my memory fails me and I can not recall which of us initiated it. The last was named Aaron, I think. We both went to the same sitter. That time I know it was him who initiated it, but I don’t know if it was innocent curiosity or if he too had been abused… or for that matter how many of the others had also been abused. Or rather it was all innocent curiosity, even for me, and I just happened to have been taken advantage of by a much older boy the first time around. With the last boy, Aaron, he showed me his, and when it came time to show mine, I backed down. I told him mine looked the same as his did, (both of us were circumcised). These instances… to my childhood mind were something “bad” but I understood them to be no worse than say, taking a cookie from the cookie jar when told not to. That last one was different though. I had figured out that there was something more wrong with what was going on than I previously had understood. Was what everything that went on between me and the others innocent, or would it never have happened if that first boy had never touched me? I don’t know, and probably never will. If it is as I fear, that my naivete... I was one boy who was introduced to sex at an age too young, and that could well have set off a chain reaction of a whole neighborhood of boys being introduced to sexuality well before we should have been. At least… I don’t think I ever did anymore than look at or touch the other guys, except for that first boy who used me. Or maybe it was all innocent curiosity between us all.
That first boy… I remember that I had tried to wrestle with him before, that he was too rough, and every time I tried to play with him he had hurt me physically, that is, until the day he decided to introduce me to sex. I don’t think it happened more than that one time, but I remember liking that he wasn’t angry at me and didn’t seem to want to hurt me. Maybe that’s why I went along with it. Maybe it was just a new game, and since he was nice about it I didn’t see or understand any harm in it. Damn him.
And what then of me? I was a child. Those I experimented with were around my age… but like me should never have been introduced to sex at that age. Am I guilty then? For what happened to me I am called a victim… are they victims of me? Or are we all victims of the one who abused me, for his having started it all? Or was I the only one who was a victim, and everything else was just the innocent exploration of naïve children? I hope that last one is the truth. I’m sure there are plenty of people who will assume the worst of me at every turn of uncertainty in my memory. I may well be one of them.
I wonder sometimes, what I would be now if he hadn’t done what he did to me. Would I be a better person? Would I be more selfish, more mean? Or maybe more open with and quicker to make friends with others? I will never know what I may have been if what he did to me did not happen, but I do know that because of how young I was when it happened, almost all my life, my personality development, my fears, probably even my intrinsic nature are because of him. I am who I am now, in part because of what happened then, and it haunts me. I wonder just how much of what I am I owe to having been molested and raped. If I turn out well is it because of what he did to me, or in spite of it? Or did it not affect what I was supposed to become at all? Would I have become who I am today if not for what he did to me, or would I be the same with the singular exception of this weight removed from my shoulders? The answer to this last question, the best of my ability to answer it, is no, I would most likely not be who I am. Should then I, the I now, never have existed?
I know this, if nothing else, the kind of chaos that goes through my mind as I ponder rather or not I, the I that exists now, should ever have existed… is something that no one should ever have to go through. If my last words of advice to the world are to be meaningful, I hope they will be “When you recognize it, do everything in your power to break the cycle of hell.”
I didn’t really think about that stuff much for years afterward, a flash here and there, but not very often. With the onset of puberty came the return of sexuality, accompanied by a lot of hormones. I didn’t figure out how to jack off until the summer before high school. It was around that time that I started to fear I might not be straight. I had seen pornographic magazines, and while the women interested me, it was always the penis that had my full attention and when the pictures didn’t show one I would get frustrated and flip through until I found one that did, and then it mesmerized me. I shoved thoughts that I might be gay aside and just told myself I was just imagining what it would be like to have those women do that stuff to me. This worked for a couple years and I dated a few girls.
I was… 16 I think… when I was re-confronted with my possible homosexuality. Like many people my age I had access to the Internet from home, I even had my own computer, but I was deathly afraid that my parents would find out I was looking at porn, so I looked for discrete ways to get it. One of those ways was by looking for erotica instead of porn pics, on a non-obvious site that offered normal fanfiction as well as the more savory stuff. It was there that my ignorance of Wapanese (Japanese for American use) terminology resulted in my reading a story that turned out to be about a homosexual. In all honesty I should have seen it coming to that, but I kept reading anyway, assuming the author was just a girl who just wanted to give excessive details about her main character’s good looks. It scared and turned my stomach in a way that wasn’t flattering when I got to the parts where the guy finally started being overtly sexual with another guy. I closed the story but kept going to the site. I started reading other stories, several with sexual abuse involved and it reminded me more unsubtly of what had happened to me, and saw those characters develop later into homosexuals. I kept reading anyway. That’s when I first started thinking I might be gay again, but I wouldn’t even consciously think the word. Didn’t want to even consider the possibility because of all the hell I knew would go along with it.
I was sixteen when my Grandpa died in late December, a couple days before Christmas. It affected me… in a way I suppose is not too unusual. I stuffed my feelings inside, didn’t allow grief to flow. Instead I immersed myself in a job, and my sexual feelings about guys, while they were still present, were just sort of there. I didn’t recognize them, didn’t think about them, they were just a secret that I wouldn’t ever tell anyone and wouldn’t even admit them to myself, even I was looking at guy on guy porn. It was early spring when I started dating a new girl, who I learned had many deep problems of her own, which I’d rather not get into right now. She made me happy for a couple weeks, and miserable for a few months as I tried to figure out how to break up with her without appearing to be a jackass. I was seventeen, and in the late fall of that year I started to have feelings of romantic love for another guy for the first time, but I was pretty sure he was straight and did not want to kill the strong friendship we had. Matt, if you’re reading this, I want you to know that you meant a lot to me and I wish that we had never parted ways after graduation. I know it was mostly my fault, nothing was stopping me from picking up a phone, or dropping by the grocery store you still worked at.
I spent the next two years not getting into any kind of relationships. I was alone, and I hid my loneliness behind religion, but that was no better. There is only so much hiding from oneself that one can do. This leads me up where I was about two months ago, starting to come to terms with the fact that I am not straight. I first started accepting it when I came to an online forum and chatroom with other people who, like me, were not like others. Even then it was still kind of hard to accept, but talking to others who were like me helped, a lot. It was the first time I was in a social setting where being gay could be okay, and I began to realize that I could still be happy, even if I’m not straight.
But I’m getting off track here, I’m supposed to be considering why it is that I am the way I am, and I’m afraid the history lesson isn’t quite over yet. For most of my childhood my father was in the Navy and gone almost all the time. Eventually he retired, but he was a workaholic and in addition, because he was a computer programmer and the programming field requires constant studying of the new languages that were constantly coming out, he was busy all the time. It’s been like that pretty much ever since he retired. Although when he left the Navy he was suddenly able to be home every night, the two of us hardly knew each other, and I’m sorry to say that we still hardly know each other at all. We talk more than we used to, but usually about politics, or it will be him talking about office stuff and me just listening. I rarely tell him anything about myself. He’s not alone in that, I don’t really open up to anyone, and after I moved away from my hometown, I didn’t really let myself get close to anyone.
Here I am getting off track again. Anyway, psychologists haven’t been able to figure out a specific cause of non-straightness. Some say its genetic, others that its because of social conditioning and what happens in one’s early childhood. There are so many factors that I’m not sure where to start with analysis, just writing down the events themselves has been difficult. I suppose I’ll focus first on the most obvious. I was molested and raped when I was far too young to even begin to comprehend what was happening. There are many who would point to this immediately and say that is the cause of my differing sexual orientation. For a while I was content to agree, but lately I’m not so sure. I think what he did to me actually caused me to pull away from homosexual relations. Even as I was attracted to guys in porn I was always repulsed by the idea of actually doing the things they did to each other. They weren’t unattractive, in fact I thought a good number of them were very hot, but the idea of participating in the very thing I was attracted to caused me to pull back. This is what I think was the effect of being molested. If I’m right, that leaves two overt variables left, the absence of my father, and genetics.
I’m not well studied enough in developmental psychology to give any opinion on rather or not my father’s absence from much of my young life and emotional distance through the latter third or so of my twenty years in this world has had any effect on my sexuality. As far as I know, the studies seeking to prove anything to that effect have all been inconclusive due to the tremendous number of not so overt variables involved. I don’t think my father’s absence from much of my life would cause me to become gay, though, since there are countless people who grow up without a father at all and lead perfectly straight lives. So… of the things I can think of from my environment growing up that could have made me gay, I think I’ve eliminated all of them, to my own satisfaction if by far short of scientific certainty. That leaves genetics. I am sexually attracted to who I am sexually attracted to because that’s the way its supposed to be, and not because of some tragic event or series of events. This is what I have to believe, if I’m not to go insane.
As I’ve written this, I’ve asked many questions that appear to be merely rhetorical. They are not rhetorical to me. I have spent many years trying to find the answers to them. To most of the questions, the best answer I can give is “I don’t know,” followed by the phrases “I hope… but I fear…” You kept reading; you made it to the end, so I leave you with a final question: what do you think?