In the last semester of my undergraduate career, I wasn’t exactly a social person. I kept to myself, socializing at a rate of almost never. I moved into an apartment with three guys I didn’t know. I needed a place to stay for the semester, and so I just found someplace that was acceptable. Other than my freshman year, and while I was out of the country, I lived with my brother. Now that he was married, that didn’t seem like a good idea, even though he had offered.
While I was on study abroad, I was not exactly active in the church. I went occasionally, but never to my ward (that’s what Mormons call their congregations…). I usually would go with a young man in another ward. He was a wonderful kid (he was 16 at the time.) (yes, at one point I did fantasize about doing immoral things with him, and no, I never did, as doing something like that with a child, even though he was old enough in the eyes of the German government, was a line I was never willing to cross.)
When I got back to Provo, my level of activity did not increase. In fact it went from occasional to maybe three times during the course of the semester. Instead I would stay at home and either watch TV or, well, that was about it.
I spent a fair amount of time when I wasn’t at school or work sitting in my room, watching porn. I was working full time, and going to school in the evening three days a week, but there was always time for porn. The interesting thing was that regardless of how tired or hungry I was, when I was watching it, nothing else mattered. (other than making sure no one else knew.) I could sit there for hours, wide awake, not feeling the hunger pangs. everything else disappeared.
well, the pornography wasn’t enough. I started looking on craigslist to see who was in the area. Since my proclivity ran toward what is known as the “chub” crowd, there were not as many to be found. (Make no mistake, while there are not as many gay guys in the provo area as others around the country, there were plenty of postings on craigslist.)
I found one guy who was in Salt Lake in a hotel for a conference he was attending. I emailed him to express interest in his offer of anonymous “NSA” sex. we arranged to meet that afternoon in his hotel room. I was supposed to be at work, but had already worked all but 4 of the hours allotted to me for the week, so I left work early.
The whole thing was very awkward. Even though we both knew each others’ intentions, there was this odd hesitance. On my part I would imagine that it was that I knew that I should not have been there. I knew that the things we were doing were supposed to involve emotion, but it was completely devoid of any. There was nothing emotional about it.
I had convinced myself in the months between my first encounter in the sex club in Europe and when I found this guy online, that the reason I didn’t enjoy the first time was that he was not the type of man I was attracted to. Interestingly, I didn’t believe it, but I told myself that I did, and I seemed to accept it. (If that seems a little schizophrenic, its not. It’s more along the lines of temporary dissociative disorder.) The rationale I used was that if I had an experience with a guy that was the type I was looking for, I would be satisfied, and could stop. This of course didn’t quite work, as his body type did very little to eliminate the fact that I had no feelings for him, and was just using him.
The drive home was exactly the same as the walk back to the hotel after the first time I had sex. I drove in silence. It felt as though those things that I would enjoy, like music, were not something that I should enjoy. The overwhelming guilt was matched by even stronger antipathy for anything that had to do with me. This gave way to alexithymia, feeling nothing.
Though it would be years before Lady Antebellum would release the song, I need you now, the lyrics, “I’d rather hurt than feel nothing at all” certainly rang true, but I couldn’t. I won’t say that I had stopped feeling, as that is not possible while sustaining life. (take a look at the movie serenity for the only accurate portrayal of a total lack of emotion.) Instead, there was simply a deadness that came over me. It later gave way to self loathing.
To this day, I don’t remember the name of the man I had sex with in that hotel. I remember the fake name I told him was mine (Patrick), but I can’t recall his. Some might be tempted to insert a wry comment about not remembering the second person you sleep with, but I never knew the first guys name either. When I was in Salt Lake on a different occasion, several years later, though I never saw the hotel, I found I was avoiding the part of the city that contained it. I couldn’t bring myself to go anywhere near the place where I had had the encounter.
To some in the gay community, my experiences have an aire of adventure, of a promiscuous appeal. To many they are neither desirable nor undesirable. To me, they are some of the lowest points in my life. Had they been encounters with women, they would have been no better, as they still would have been devoid of the love and commitment that should accompany sex.
This was a particularly dark chapter in my story. I’m sorry if it made you uncomfortable. Please know that telling it is no more comfortable for me than reading it is for you. That being said, I think that understanding the depths to which I went is important to understanding the power that is available that is lifting me back out. JK Rowling mentioned in an interview once that she wrote about characters that were truly evil so as to give a proper perspective to those children who were reading. I do the same thing here, though I don’t suggest this blog for children. I want you to know that I did not just have a homosexual thought, and then turn away. I delved deeply into homosexual activity. I know the hopelessness that comes with it, and the difficulties of climbing back out. Some of you reading will not know either, and I hope it stays that way, but I hope that by reading of my struggle, you can gain a deeper understanding of those who have traveled this path, so that you can better know how to offer them a hand to get back on the path down which they wish to go.
Thank you for reading. Please take a moment to rate and comment on this post, it means a lot to me.