Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Pieces of the Past: Courtship

By Mister Curie

It was only after my disaffection that I was able to see a pattern in my life indicating that I was not strictly heterosexual. This is part of a series of posts as I try to account for all the pieces to the puzzle of my sexual orientation. By documenting the pieces of the puzzle, I hope to be able to put the picture together. Only by being as completely honest with myself as I can will I be able to understand who I am. This eighth post in the series will deal with my courtship with Madam Curie.

I was comfortable with my life course and happily not dating. The summer before my Senior year at BYU, I traveled across the country on a summer internship to perform medical research to improve my medical school application. My roommates joked that I would come back with a girlfriend, I assured them I would not.

Madam Curie and I met at the Singles' Ward. She was in charge of Munch-and-Mingle, a blatant attempt to get the singles to meet and date each other. She was impressed when I brought a peach cobbler to share. I was impressed when I found out she was working on her PhD. We quickly connected on an intellectual and emotional level. It was a nice contrast to my previous dating experience, and while Madam Curie did not meet my naively drawn list of ideal traits for a wife, I began musing in my journal if she might be the type of girl I could marry.

A road trip to a summer church pageant increased the emotional and intellectual bonds between us. We spent every waking moment with each other on the trip and were in our own little world. Others joked that they couldn't eavesdrop on our conversation because we spoke a language all our own as we discussed our scientific research, etc. The road trip ended with an awkward episode following our holding hands. Madam Curie apologized, thinking she had forced me to hold her hand, I thought she apologized for leading me on when I would be heading back to Provo and our paths may never cross again. It pushed progress in our relationship back for several weeks.

Madam Curie started asking me out to lots of group activities and my roommate started a campaign for us to get together. We ended up going to the movies, which we now call our first date, but which, due to her previous apology, I wasn't sure of the expectations about, and we ended up going dutch and not holding hands. We held hands again at a movie night she arranged another evening at her apartment. I eventually asked Madam Curie on a date and tried to impress her with homemade Sweet and Sour chicken and with homemade chocolate turtle cheesecake for dessert. It worked.

My summer internship was nearing its end when we had a DTR (Define The Relationship). We decided that we would try to maintain our relationship after I went back to BYU. I also found that I was having strong physical feelings of attraction for her (particularly experienced when we went on a day trip to a nearby city and I found myself wanting to touch her and hold her close, it was absolutely falling in love and feelings of chemistry between us), so we instituted a strict set of "Celestial Rules of Dating" to keep ourselves morally pure. My last week on the internship was like a long, blissful fairy tale spent with Madam Curie. At the airport, I worked up the courage to kiss her (only the second girl I had kissed). It was a passionless peck, but I was on cloud nine. To me, it felt like a kiss of prosaic love (which I valued above romantic love), it felt like I imagined it felt like to kiss one's wife after 10-15 years of marriage. (Perhaps this all should have been a clue, but I continued on clueless).

Deciding to continue our relationship long-distance was a great idea. We were forced to strengthen our emotional and intellectual connection without worrying about our physical relationship (which, we took as a good thing at the time because of the growing feelings of physical attraction we had for each other, but given both of our homosexuality was probably a good thing because it allowed us to develop a prosaic love that in turn strengthened our physical relationship). We tried to arrange monthly trips to see each other, which allowed our physical attraction to blossom under controlled conditions with long intervening episodes of emotional and intellectual growth together.

We discussed getting married. I searched my patriarchal blessing and prayed about it. One particular line in my blessing said that a girl would come into my life whom I would want to marry and that we should marry. I realized that I did want to marry Madam Curie and I prayed for confirmation, which I got. We began planning the wedding for immediately after my graduation. Planning the wedding brought us closer together as we were forced to rely on each other to meet the challenge of putting everything together. I took a Marriage Prep class at BYU and shared everything I learned with Madam Curie. At the suggestion of the class, we read a book together on human marital intimacy, which allowed us to prepare for a physically intimate relationship.

After so much emotional and intellectual bonding, physical attraction was not a problem. Our kissing became quite passionate when we were together and I would get an erection even when just holding her hand. During one make-out session, I felt myself going through the phases of sexual arousal and, just as I had with my mission companion (as described in last week's post), felt as if I was beginning to ejaculate. Just as before, I excused myself to check my garments, and again found large amounts of pre-ejaculate, but I had not actually climaxed. Once again, disaster averted.

We happily made it to be married in the temple.


  1. "disaster"--Not quite my definition of disaster.

  2. Well, when I thought that ejaculating would mean that I had committed sexual sin and was no longer worthy to enter the temple, it seemed like a disaster.
    Of course, now that we're married, it's not a disaster and just part of the fun.

  3. "At the suggestion of the class, we read a book together on human marital intimacy, which allowed us to prepare for a physically intimate relationship."

    I know this isn't the point of your post, but I got hung up on this. It seems so strange to me that someone would have to read a book to gain some knowledge about sexual intimacy. I grew up in a home where sexuality was freely discussed; I understood the mechanics of menstruation, sex, and conception from age 7 or 8, and addendum such as masturbation, homosexuality, and pleasure from age 9 or 10. It was very natural in my home for all questions to be answered. Not that my parents walked around naked or threw sex parties, but sex was an open topic. My parents made a lot of mistakes with me, but they scored in this area by being honest and forthright and respecting my ability to handle such information; I'm doing my best to replicate my experience with my kids.

    As for my partner, growing up in a strongly LDS home, the sum total of his parental "education" came from his father, who told him around age 12, "Son, sometimes your boy-part will get big. Don't touch it." That means that our son has more practical information about reproduction at age 4 than my partner did when he got married at age 25.

    It's not this way in every LDS home, and it IS this way in plenty of secular homes; that's not my point. My point is that I can't imagine having to go to a book to understand sexual response or healthy adjustment in a sexual relationship. Why don't more of us have mentors in our families, or even among friends, when venturing into the most significant relationship of our lives?

  4. @Chandelle - The book was suggested because it focused positively on the sexual marital relationship, and it can be difficult for many LDS to go from "unchastity is second only to murder" to "multiply and replenish all the earth", or as my teacher said, to move from "No! No!" to "Go! Go!"
    I agree that it is sad, but it is true.

  5. @Chandelle - I agree that its ridiculous that we have to go to books to find answers to questions and are limited by church teachings from having frank discussion. Mister C has some wonderful stories about his mom's trying to talk about sex with him... maybe he will share them sometime. My family just never discussed anything anyway, so the thought of asking for advice on sex would have been preposterous.

    Mr. C are trying to raise our son with a very different outlook on sexuality, starting with masturbation and moving forward. We have the "we only touch our penises at home" rule, which I am sure gets us some weird looks. We answer questions open, immediately, and honestly, without embarrassment. Taking sin out of the equation and treating sexuality as another part of the human identity can only help one's healthy physical and mental development. You were lucky to have had that in your childhood home.