How do I deal with unmet sexual desire? It's a question which led me to ask, what is my sexual desire? Of course, "sexual desire" is a category with a lot of things in it. "There's a lot of different fish in that bucket," I told myself. But let's not call it a bucket. Let's call it an aquarium so all the fish have plenty of room to swim around, and so we can get a good look at them.
My mom didn't start saying she loved me until she became a Christian in the early 80's. Now she says it almost every day, and I feel like she's doing it to make up for all those lost years. As far as I'm concerned, those "I love you's" are empty because she's been saying it to the straight Michael she's always preferred instead of the Michael actually in front of her. And because of that, I've learned to tolerate her acknowledged denial of my life.
Here's one vocabulary term I've taken away from therapy: euphoric recall. I'd never heard that phrase until last year, and it gives language to this nebulous internal struggle I've faced since my first bout with pornography at 19.
Another Pride Month gone; another year I didn't participate. I've never been one for any kind of parade, but part of me believes participating in Pride means I have accepted the part of myself that remained hidden for so long.
For so many years I thought I was just dirty, lustful, and awful for thinking all these terrible sexual thoughts. I was filled with constant shame because the sexually intrusive thoughts kept coming. The realization that I can actually, with practice, redirect my own thoughts, is more freeing than I can write.
It was the first song I'd ever heard that touched upon my most simple yet desperate longing; buried beneath the pangs of my sexuality, a clear yet unattainable desire – to have a best buddy, someone who tells me he wants to be with me, someone to goof off with, someone to sit beside in a country field. Someone by my side when I'm hurting.
I spent nearly three decades of my life sexually involved with other guys, and even longer than that attracted to them, and in all that time I never once considered Pride Month or attending any Pride parades or events. Part of that thinking is because I was raised in the South in the 60's and 70's, and in the Black community particularly acting like a homosexual was strictly taboo. Gay men would either stay on the down-low or be total flamers because they didn't care what people thought. I was the former, someone on the DL.
Who was it that said Pride is a celebration of having survived? I can certainly relate to that. I don't know who said it before Ryan did, but I'm processing Pride with new eyes and new appreciation this year, and hopefully for the rest of my life. Recognizing the blessing, even the miracle, that I'm still alive. Indeed, I could have died years ago because of my sexuality.
Phillip Henry died yesterday at 29 years of age. That was the short, somber text message on my phone. No! Not Phillip! I thought. He was such a close friend. That last thought was only a half-truth. My friendship with Phillip had only just begun, and I'd had such hopes for it. Now, he was gone.