It's the day before he's planning on coming over for sex. I'll call him Jeff, since I don't even know his real name. I do know that he is 26, has had multiple BDSM experiences with men, lives with his fiancée of three years, and his marriage date is about two months away.
I met him about a year ago, when he came over for sex. As per my usual practice, when he arrived we sat in the living room to talk about what might transpire between us. For some reason we hadn't talked very much on the phone, which is my preferable way to begin negotiations. When I asked him if he was single, he admitted to living with his girlfriend.
We spoke about that for a while and I gave him my standard spiel: "Cheating is a slippery slope. You think you can get this gay thing out of your system or that you can cheat forever without being caught, but that's not going to happen."
I wrote about this topic many years ago. It was a difficult essay and the difficulty has not gone away. Tricking under these circumstances is participating in a lie, is being hypocritical, and contributes to the likely trauma of an unfortunate and difficult breakup.
I've been there. Late in 1973 at the age of 27, I discovered my attraction to men. For the next ten years, I struggled with my homosexuality, denying and repressing my feelings until, usually during a full moon, I could no longer do so. It was on those nights that I snuck away to an adult bookstore or a gay bar, had a quick sexual encounter and, full of guilt, went home to my family.
It was a slippery slope. In the early years I cheated only sporadically, in fact rarely, but over time the lure of male flesh grew stronger and stronger, my infidelity increased, and deception wove an ever-stronger web. By 1980 or so, my wife and I were in counseling and the struggle to admit my real self began in earnest. It was no easy journey.
I lived in dread of losing everything and in some ways, for some time, I almost did. 28 years after our divorce, the wounds are healed (I think), my ex-wife happily married, my children accepting of my life, and there is no need for deception. The happy ending, though, masks much heartache and many tears. Believe me, death is easier to cope with than divorce, especially when there are two young children involved.
When Jeff contacted me last week about meeting, I knew that we had met before but I didn't remember the circumstances. This time, though, we were able to have a discussion on the phone and he reminded me of the last meeting, where he had left after my lecture about his girlfriend.
A year later his desires continue. "Why me?" I asked.
"Because I think you have the experience to make me go through with it," he replied.
In each of his past encounters he has come to a point in the scene where he abruptly left, unable to cope with the intensity of the BDSM. Now he hopes that I won't stop the flogging or the beating, the pain or the sex, that I will give him a "no escape" experience.
I can't help but think of myself in his position. Of course, I never met a person like me when I was going through this process. One or two guys suggested I stop cheating and be faithful to my wife, another told me I needed a gay therapist, but by and large it was silent and anonymous sex.
I tried everything except "Ex-gay Therapy," including confession, repentance, and exorcism. After all, while I was cheating I was pastor of a conservative, Bible-believing church. None of it worked (and doesn't). The more I promised myself "Never again," the more frequently I broke my word.
OK, enough about me. What about Jeff?
Do I tell him to forget me? Do I urge him to come out? Do I say "Cancel the wedding plans and find a counselor to help you fix this mess?"
You know, don't you, that I'm not only writing about Jeff. We live in a world of hypocrites (and yes you can include me).
I have no answer to eliminating hypocrisy. It is everywhere: in politics, in churches, in sex, in munches, in paying taxes and in neighborhood taverns, local schools, in public dungeons and private affairs.
Likewise I will admit that Jesus condemned hypocrisy much more often than homosexuality. In the four gospels (King James Version) the word hypocrisy and its derivatives appear 24 times. The word homosexuality, not once.
I don't have an answer as to what I should do. There are several courses of action to take: Do nothing; Lecture him and send him home; Give him the "no escape" experience he desires; Find his fiancée and tell her what's going on; Go the wedding the stand up when the minister asks if anyone objects; Film or photograph the scene and use it as evidence against him; etc.
My feelings are rather strong about all this, though by no means certain. As you may tell from the above, I am filled with thoughts of my own process and, in fact, rather grateful for the gay men who helped me slip down the slope.
I am also rather certain about the need to be non-judgmental, even tolerant of Jeff's plight. There is part of me that imagines that a hot scene with no escape will convince him to come clean. Most of me thinks I am making much too much of all this and that
"Que Sera, Sera,
Whatever will be, will be
The future's not ours, to see
Que Sera, Sera
What will be, will be."
Without completely re-living and re-writing my own history, there is no changing my life, my decisions, and my indiscretions. What I went through was the process of learning who I was, what that meant, and who was the authentic "me." It is the same for each of us, Jeff included. I wish him luck.
Postscript a week later: Jeff didn't show up as scheduled.
Have a great week. Jack
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