Elbow: The Science of Lust

Monday, July 23, 2007

The Science of Lust

When I was about seven years old I was sexually molested by an older cousin. He was bigger than I was, more popular and (in my opinion) better looking. It started innocently and ended up being the most confusing and painful even of my life, until now. I sometimes wonder how much my sexuality is in direct correlation with the events of my childhood. In what I've studied, sexuality is determined by age three. If that's the case then it wouldn't matter what had happened to me when I was a young kid.

Since then I've thought of a million ways to rid myself of what I thought was a defect or an abomination. Since that time I had thoughts of nothing else but extracting my lustful homosexual tendencies from my life. And the only thing that seemed to work was to pretend they weren't there. I didn't have to let others know I was struggling inside with feelings of inferiority or self-loathing and shame. No one had to know that I had secret fantasies of kissing boys that I knew at school and looking for ways to sneak views of the guys in the shower after P.E. I held it all inside, and it worked. Sometimes when I thought of the repercussions of someone finding out about my sexuality I felt relieved that I was able to keep it a secret. I looked at the guys in junior high and high school who were feminine and I looked down on them. I felt more superior because I was able to act straight enough and get by just enough so that people wouldn't question my sexuality.

I was in high school when I couldn't keep myself from wanting to look at pornography. I would go to Barnes and Noble and steal photography books of naked men and take them home to masturbate with. One day when I was looking in the Gay and Lesbian section of the bookstore I sensed that there was a guy looking at me and that he was also focused on the same homosexual shelf that I was. He looked at me and said "are you gay?"

"I don't know," I stammered

"Do you want to go talk?"

With major apprehension and huge amounts of excitement I said "yeah, I think so."

We left the book store and turned the corner. Standing in an alley way we talked about being gay and what it meant for him and what I felt about my current struggles of feeling attracted to men. He was in college and told me about how he and I could get together and experiment sexually in a private place. He was kind of cute and had a nice body, and when we started talking I immediately got an erection. I told him I'd think about it and that we could meet another day. The following week I ended up getting a blow job from him behind a local elementary school parking lot.

I didn't ever see him again because I felt shattered. After all this time of keeping it all in, I had sinned. My fantasies were no longer just in my head, but I had actually engaged in a lustful act with a guy. I liked it, I hated it, I was ashamed and I was heartbroken. I vowed from that day on that I was going to be better, and that I was going to be as straight as I possibly could. I felt that the only way I could make it right was to never look back. I was determined to go on a mission and get married and that I would do it at any cost.

I think about my younger self and feel such feelings of love and tenderness. I shutter to think of the horrible feelings I inflicted upon myself and I'm amazed that I survived without too much damaged done to my self concept.

And since then I've had to look at men and relationships in a different way. I use to think because of what I'd been told and by societal norms that being gay is wrong, that kissing a guy is a sin and that wanting to live my life with another man is unacceptable. It's hard to shift all of that toxicity at once. It's hard to focus on the beautiful parts of being gay and about being in a gay relationship. I'm not ready to start dating yet, but I still long for the companionship of a man. I want to be loved my a guy and feel intimate with a man. I want to be held and caressed by someone who loves me and who I love back. I want the attraction between me and my significant other to be equally as enticing as the spiritual and emotional connection we feel.

I know what lust feels like and this isn't it. I feel that more than anything I just want to feel at peace and I want to feel free and unconditionally loved. I'm starting to see my homosexual attractions as anything but lust, and in a way that completes the happiness in my life that I daily strive for.


Blogger J G-W said...

One of the reasons sexual abuse -- same-sex or opposite sex -- is so awful, is because it robs us of the opportunity to awaken to our sexuality on our own terms. I've heard both men and women, gay and straight, talk about how an incident of sexual abuse in their early life left them struggling and confused long into adulthood.

I was never abused as a kid, and even then, understanding my feelings as a gay man, and what place those feelings have within an adult relationship, has been a complicated process. I can only imagine how difficult it would have been if I had had to struggle with questions about whether some incident of abuse had "caused" my homosexuality.

I also did not have my first sexual experience until after I had left the Church, after I had come out of the closet (I had been out for about six months), and after a process of prayer, fasting, and searching, and receiving a sense that my sexuality was a good thing, and nothing I needed to fear or be ashamed of. Again, I think if I had become sexually active before I had time to sort some of these things out, it would have been much more complicated for me to come to some sense of wholeness about it all. Perhaps I would have struggled for a much longer time with feelings of guilt or fear in relation to my sexuality...

9:03 PM  
Blogger by a thread said...

I can relate too well to how you write. It almost scares me to be honest. My cousin also abused me. He has been married and seems to have no homosexual desires. I think it is wierd. It hurts. But...most of all I think what is hard is that I want my childhood back so badly. I act as a child sometimes...not on purpose, but because I feel like I have lost something that I can't get back.

10:21 PM  
Blogger Sean said...

i cant begin to tell you how much i see myself in what you wrote here.

3:43 PM  
Blogger Distinguishing Preoccupation said...

Elbow, That is so funny that you used to steal the books from B&N. I used to try to get a hold of those books too! But seriously, I understand what you mean by looking at how wrong and evil being gay was at that time. As I look back it's hard to see how hard I was on myself and not be amazed that I came through without destroying my ability to make my mark in the world. When I look back at the years of repression and white-knuckling my way through life and the church, and then look forward to the future of living my life as me, I can't wait 'til the future gets here. I feel like now I am really living my life and that now I can do the maximum amount of good for myself and for the world around me.
PS: Where the hell are you getting these wild pictures?

8:09 AM  
Blogger gentlefriend said...

Your comments cause some guilt in me about some early relations I had with a cousin. My first sexual experience with a male was with him. I was almost 13 and he was 11. We were laying on the couch and he spontaneously started rubbing my stomach. I asked him to rub a little lower. He did. And finally at my request his hand was in my pants. Since he lived in another state I only saw him every six months, but when were together we fondled each other. He, one time, started sucking on me and I told him that I wasn't going to do that to him and he quit. After my first experience with him I had a few other fondling experiences with friends. My last ecounter with him was when I was 15. We were in the same bed and he wanted to play. By then he was well developed and I really wanted to, but I had recently been ordained a teacher and was trying to keep myself worthy so he played with himself while I watched. We covered up quickly as my mother walked into the room. She didn't see anything, but it would have been embarrassing if we were all cuddled together. I have just considered this just early adolescent sex play, no problem. I had no sexual encounters after that until I was married. I have been seriously tempted at times. My concern is that I was older than he. Was this a molestation? When I was 15 he told me that he and a group of boys were regularly having sexual experiences together. Did I influence him in that direction?? I have had SGA since early childhood, years before I was an adolescent, so I consider SGA as a organic thing-- the way I am wired for one reason or another. Not until I read your comments did I consider that I may have done some damage to my cousin.

12:58 PM  

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