Sunday, February 21, 2010
3. I decided it was time to have sex with a guy
3. I decided it was time to have sex with a guy
About two years after moving back to Sydney in 2005, while working for a large consulting company, I managed to secure a three month assignment in Dayton, Ohio. I was the only single guy in the team, so three months in the U.S.A. was going to be a lot of fun.
It wasn’t until I got there that I thought about how much fun it could be, I was a long way from home, no one knew me and perhaps this was a chance to be a gay man and see what it was like. Keep in mind I really had little idea what that really meant, so it was a journey of self discovery.
I had a battle going on in my head about how I should behave and how I wanted to behave. It was time for me to explore that part of me that wanted to behave in a way I had never behaved before. I think it’s reasonable to say I was out of control.
At this stage of my life, I’d never been intimate with a guy or a girl. It was something I’d wanted for a long time and finally I decided that it was going to happen. This period was my “coming out” for myself, finally being authentic about who I was. This process is unique for everyone. I’ve spoken to many gay men since and everyones story is unique and their own.
What follows is my own very personal adventure that came to confirm for me that I really was gay. I had the idea in my head that I had to have sex, only then would I really know if I was gay or not. I’m still not sure if that’s really accurate, but it’s how I felt at the time.
I had to travel to Philadelphia for business at one point, I was staying in the down town part of the city in a great hotel. Philadelphia is an old city, with more of an English feel than more modern US cites in the west. Narrow cobble stoned streets and loads of atmosphere, it is a great city with what I discovered was a vibrant gay community. While having dinner in a bar, I was looking for something to read while I waited for dinner. I found some free newspapers, one of which was a gay newspaper. I’d never seen a gay newspaper before, I thought this was very progressive. Little did I know Sydney’s Star Observer had been published for almost 30 years.
The paper was interesting, good articles and enjoyable to read. When I got to the classified section at the back I discovered pages of men selling their services for massage, massages with ‘happy endings’ or ‘relief’ and more. I was intrigued, I had many massages throughout my life, but I wasn’t familiar with these terms. Applying a little imagination I soon realised what these men were offering and I thought this could perhaps be a starting point for what I was looking for. The idea of finding some random guy at a bar for sex was scary and not appealing. At 36 I was very aware of safe sex and the implications.
I kept the newspaper, took it back to the hotel and selected one of the guys for a massage. He was only four or so blocks from the hotel. I made sure I had cash to pay him for his services, I was confident he wouldn’t take visa! I was as nervous as hell, but wanted to experience this more than anything else. I arrived at his apartment at the designated time, he greeted me at the door in his underwear and white socks. He was cute, mid twenties and very attractive. Had had a massage table in his candle lit living room, it was warm, comfortable and I knew what to do from this point.
I removed my clothes, laid down on his massage bench and my heart was beating at a million miles an hour. Despite my hundreds of previous massages, this was the first time I’d taken my underwear off, I really didn’t know what was coming next. No pun intended. The massage began as all others had, this guy was good. We chatted a little as he rubbed me down. After about ten minutes I told him that he’d managed to relax me to a point where my heart wasn’t bursting through my chest. He paused for a moment with his hand on my back and asked, why my heart was racing. I told him this was the first time I’d had a massage like this. He chuckled in a sweet way and told me to relax and just go with it.
It wasn’t until about half an hour into the massage that he began to massage my inner thigh and then explore further that I realised why this massage was different. The next half an hour was the most mind blowing half hour of my life to date. What I was doing flew in the face of my values and Christian upbringing and what I thought to be right, that being the case, why did it feel so good?
I went over that question in my mind for days after. I’m not sure I really came to a conclusion, only that I knew I wanted to take it further. I wrestled this with my faith and came to the conclusion that regardless, I had to explore this and find out if this was who I really was. I’m not sure if that journey is the right one for everyone, but for me I needed the physical to match the mental. In other words, I couldn’t simply arrive at an intellectual understanding of my sexuality, I had to experience it.
A few weeks later I found myself heading to NYC for a two day conference. I managed to book into the W Hotel at Times Square. As a side note, it’s a fabulous hotel if you ever get the chance to stay there. Before going to NYC I managed to find a website that listed masseurs and their services by zip code. Each guy has a photo and an outline of their services and what they provide, I was looking for an erotic massage. That’s someone who has sex with you as part of the massage if you want. I wanted!
I found Andres, a Puerto Rican guy living in the US studying English and Nursing. As far as I was concerned this guy was perfect, plenty of bulging muscles, tattoos and very, very cute. The idea of finding a gay bar, trying to ‘hook up’ with some random guy seemed way to dangerous and I would have felt out of control. I was about to lose my virginity to this guy, I wanted to be in control of the situation. Paying an escort seemed to me to be the best possible way to do it.
I arrived at his apartment on 49th street, just three or so blocks from the hotel. When he opened the door my first impression was that he was far better looking than his photographs. For me, it was the Puerto Rican accent that tipped me over the edge. He was sweet, gentle and very kind. He offered me a glass of wine and we chatted for a little while. He was blown away that this was my first time with a guy, but at no point made me feel uncomfortable about that.
We started with a massage that tuned into so much more. I will be forever grateful to him for his gentle, sensual nature and respect for me. Perhaps meeting some guy at a bar or elsewhere may have been more romantic and have made a better story for this book, but this was perfect for me.
Over the next three months I saw Andres twice more, at this stage I knew I was gay, it had all come together. I figured that I enjoyed the sex, the intimacy and the closeness of another man. I had to be gay.
It’s interesting that through this whole period, I thought about my faith and I knew that the consequences of my behaviour would be significant, relative to Church. It would most likely mean excommunication. More about that later.
I never really felt guilty or felt bad about what I had done, if anything I felt relief, I felt calm about what I had done. I think I was finally at peace with who I was, this was the authentic me, the real me. During this three month period I was fortunate to have some very close LDS Church friends living in Cincinnati, about 45 minutes south of Dayton. I would spend most weekends with them and attend Church with them. My weeks were filled with sex and debauchery and my Sunday was at Church. I’m not an idiot, this really didn’t feel like something that could continue. One had to give way to the other, or at least I thought so.
I spent the three months exploring, meeting guys and catching up for 36 years of pent up frustration. I spent a lot of time reflecting on the fact that I didn’t feel guilty while at the same time knowing that what I was doing was wrong according to the teachings of the LDS Church. Should I have been feeling guilty? In the context of an LDS Church member, yes I probably should have. I should have felt remorse and exhibited a desire to want to change, however at my core I knew I didn’t want to and more to the point I don’t believe I could and remain a sane adult.
For some people the argument about nature or nurture is one that will never be answered. My earliest memory of feeling affection for another person, was for a guy. I saw girls as great friends and good company, but I never wanted more from the friendship than that.
I tried for the longest time to conform to what others wanted of me and what I thought I wanted for myself. The LDS Church provided a positive framework for me as a 16 year old convert. My values were aligned to theirs, I enjoyed the company of members of the Church and I felt a closeness to Christ that I’d never felt before. Eventually the strong focus on family began to wear me down, the constant General Conference talks that spoke about couples and children were tedious when I knew I would never have what they spoke about or experience the joy associated with such relationships.
These were not reasons why I chose to leave the Church, but they reinforced how I really didn’t belong in the Church. I understand the Brethren, Church Leaders, would say that I can live a full and happy life as an active member of the Church. The caveat being that I would have to be celibate and they would encourage me not to associate with members of the gay community.
At the point of writing this book I had stopped going to Church about four months earlier. I moved house which took me outside my local congregation and it was an easy choice to simply not attend my new ward. I’ve maintained communication with friends and spent last Christmas Day lunch with my old Bishop and his wife and friends.
Is my faith different because I’m gay? I don’t think my faith is different, the way I choose to have my faith manifest itself in my life is different. I still believe in the same Christ I always did, I still believe the President of the LDS Church to be a prophet of God. I’ve just chosen to walk a different path which I believe will bring me happiness now and I have faith that it will in the life to come as well.