Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Pieces of the Past: Marriage

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 ninth post in the series will deal with our marriage.

WARNING: This post will be explicit, as it deals with our intimate, marital relationship. Friends who know us in real life may want to skip it, if they prefer to not know the details of our sex life, and would have a hard time looking at us the same way again.

Madam Curie and I were happily married in the temple and eagerly looking forward to our first night together. We had spent the past several weeks reading together books on marital intimacy and were looking forward to the "marriage bed", although we also had our share of nervousness at the prospect. I had shared with Madam Curie my fear of premature ejaculation, which I did not feel to be an unreasonable fear due to (1) knowing how quickly I could ejaculate when I masturbated, (2) hearing rumors that habitual masturbation primed an individual to ejaculate quickly, (3) knowing I had nearly ejaculated from just kissing her. We had planned for several contingency options, just to be sure it would be a physically enjoyable night, no matter what ended up happening.

The thought of having sex made us hurry to the hotel. As prearranged, we made sure to have lots of foreplay so Madam Curie would be ready and our first time wouldn't be painful for her. We even made sure to have her orgasm through manual stimulation before penetration, so that there would be pleasant memories from our first experience, rather than traumatic feelings that sometimes occur if the first attempts at intercourse are painful. Then we made our first attempt.
Suddenly everything I had heard about how men and women are naturally made to "fit" together didn't make any sense. There didn't seem to be much natural or easy about this. To top things off, as we made our first attempt, suddenly I lost my erection and went completely flaccid. We chalked it up to "performance anxiety" and laughed it off. Perhaps it was "performance anxiety" or perhaps it should have been a huge clue. We decided to revert to plan B, and make me climax through manual stimulation. I was able to quickly regain my erection, but it slowly became apparent that I didn't need to worry so much about premature ejaculation. It took a long time before I was able to climax. Perhaps this should have been another clue. Later in the evening we made another attempt at intercourse, and again I started to go floppy. I worked very hard to think sexy thoughts and maintain the erection and we eventually succeeded. Unfortunately this did end up being painful for Madam Curie, who bled a fair amount. But we were proud of our success in having sex.

Things improved over the next several months as we worked on sex and it became more natural to us and Madam Curie was able to have sex without being in pain. I believed we were happily heterosexual. However, sex for us did take on a pattern of selfless giving and receiving. For a long time we were unable to climax simultaneously. For Madam Curie to climax, she required manual stimulation, during which I would often lose my erection. Then, for me to climax, I had to focus on sexual thoughts and on the feelings I had in my body. It became a common phrase for us to tell each other to "Focus on yourself", meaning: do whatever it is (or tell me to do something) that will heighten the experience for you, without worrying about whether it is particularly pleasing to me. In as equal a manner as possible, we showed love sexually by giving freely, and in return accepting freely. However, our desires rarely focused on the other partner, but on ourselves.

As an example, our first apartment had some great full-length mirrors on the closet doors. We could position the mirrors so that we could watch ourselves making love. Being a man who is aroused visually (like most men, although I don't want to overgeneralize), I loved being able to use those mirrors. I liked to arrange them so I could get the most arousing view of our lovemaking possible. One day I was having a difficult time getting them arranged properly, and Madam Curie was trying to position her body for my pleasure as well. At some point, she realized that I wasn't positioning the mirrors so I could look at her body, or breasts, or face while we were making love - I wanted to be able to watch my own body as we made love. She says that was the moment she was positive that I was gay.

She now tells me that after that, she began a series of experiments to confirm her observation. When we were out, she would watch where I looked, and observed that I never or rarely checked out women, but often checked out men. She started asking me about girls after they walked by, and I never had noticed them. However, I frequently had noticed men that walked by.

Getting married had obviously not stopped me from being gay, even though I still believed we were happily, heterosexually married. Life moved blissfully on and were both felt satisfied with our sexual relationship. There were, however, a few episodes that are probably critical puzzle pieces that inserted themselves into our narrative.

First, as a medical student, I needed to learn to perform physical exams. Part of the physical exam is the genital exam, and the medical school hires people to be "standardized patients" to teach us the medical exam, I'm sure they pay them very well for their time and allowing medical students to touch their bodies as they teach us how to perform the genital exam on both males and females. Madam Curie seemed to be particularly worried about the female exam, which I had few qualms about, as I didn't expect much physical attraction to some random woman's vagina or breasts, particularly when we had no emotional connection. I was much more worried about the male genital exam, and whether or not I would get aroused when touching another man's "package". I also worried about what it would be like to be a doctor and performing these exams on men in the clinic (sounds like the plot for some cheesy gay porn flick). Luckily I got through it without it being a traumatic experience, and I can happily report that doctors (including me) really aren't thinking sexually about your body when they perform the genital exams. But I do think it is telling that my concerns focused on the male exam, rather than the female exam.

A couple more puzzle pieces: I focused on sexual fulfillment within our marriage and avoided pornography. Then, one day I was cleaning up the yard outside and came across a catalog for an adult sex shop. The pictures of men in the magazine sent me into a bit of a Pon-Farr, and I had a difficult time focusing my thoughts. I tried increasing lovemaking with my wife to help me get through it.

When we learned that Madam Curie was pregnant and we were going to have a son, we began to discuss whether we would have him circumcised or not. This discussion coincided with another Pon-Farr episode and I used it as an excuse to look at images of naked men, justifying that I wanted to see what circumcised and uncircumcised penises looked like. (Now, just to be clear, this had nothing to do with child pornography and I was not looking at images of little kids. Rather, I used the upcoming decision of circumcising our son as justification of looking at images of full-grown naked men.) This quickly progressed to wanted to see images of erect penises. Somehow I made it through the Pon-Farr and was able to resume my beliefs that I was entirely heterosexual.

Then, about six months ago, we came across the blog posts we have already described, about male bisexuality being a myth. This introduced some cognitive dissonance because I believed I was heterosexual (despite all the evidence I have now logged to the contrary), yet I couldn't deny that I was attracted to male anatomy. The part of the study that most struck me wasn't its thesis of male bisexuality being a myth, but was the results in the study that no heterosexual man was aroused by male pornography. I discussed it with my wife, but couldn't stop thinking about the study. I looked up publications about other, similarly designed experiments. All seemed to show the same thing, heterosexual men were not aroused by other men. I decided to perform my own definitive experiment and found some pornographic images. While I did feel some response at heterosexual images, I realized that my focus was toward the man in the image. I looked up some girl only porn and found the images disturbing and disgusting (I tried to rationalize in my mind that this was due to church cultural conditioning and perhaps my sensitive spirit responding to the EVIL of pornography). Then I looked up some gay porn. I had huge physical response. These men were HOT! Any church cultural conditioning or my sensitive spirit responding to the evils of pornography went right out the window, I wanted to look at THAT! Of course, that doesn't mean that I didn't feel guilty for looking at it. I knew I probably shouldn't look at it and that I was betraying my wife's trust by looking at it. I shared with her what I had done and she was remarkably forgiving for my "curiosity." I also couldn't reconcile the obvious conclusions from my experiment (that I was homosexual) with what I had been taught about homosexuality in church, so it all went on a shelf in my mind and I tried to ignore it.
It wasn't until my belief system and testimony came crashing down, and I was trying to piece together from that wreckage who I really am and what I believe, that I was able to begin to accept that I am homosexual.

9 comments:

  1. Okay, I've been thinking all day and the only comment that keeps coming to my mind is "Did you ask Mme Curie before you posted this?"

    lol Of course you did, but somebody had to ask. ;-)

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  2. Yes I did ask Mme Curie before posting. I made her read it and specifically asked if I included too much informaton, mis-nuanced anything, etc. I asked her if she wanted me to take anything out. I wrote the post nearly a week ago and I let it sit around, then last night asked her to read it again and made her reaffirm that I could publish it.

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  3. @MoHoHawaii - You're welcome. I don't know if it is reflective of the MOM you were in, or of MOMs in general, but I needed to be fully honest with myself. Additionally, I have found so much in common with other people's stories about coming to grips with their homosexuality, but most people do not describe their MOM marital relationship (for those who realized/accepted after marriage). I hope this will help others if they recognize themself in this post about a MOM.

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  4. Maybe you have mentioned this elsewhere, but I can't remember. At what time did Mme Curie inform you that she was attracted to women? Was it while you were dating or after you were married? Was it before or after you started to realize that you were attracted to guys? Just curious.

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  5. @TheWife - Mme Curie told me she was attracted to women after we were married, but before I realized I was attracted to guys (but probably after she was pretty sure I was gay). She thinks she told me a little bit about it after we had been married a couple of years, but I don't remember her really telling me anything until about a year ago when her high school girlfriend got back in contact with her on facebook.

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  6. @EL - Yup, he had my full consent. I don't necessarily feel the need to post my version of things b/c I am not coming to grips with understanding my sexuality. But I understand and embrace Mister C's need.

    @Wife - First, some background. I was not always so self-assured about my sexuality as I am now. I was fine with it in high school when I was "seeing" my best friend Beth (although we didn't call it that at the time, it was sort of obvious to ourselves and all outside parties that we were in love. For Pete's sake, we went to prom together!) When I joined the LDS Church in 1999, the shame factor went into overdrive with respect to my non-heterosexual feelings. For most of my marriage with Mr. C, we have both been strong, devout Mormons. Much of my ability to let go of the acquired shame surrounding my relationship with Beth has been also letting go of the absoluteness of the Family Proclamation.

    Anyway, to proceed. I recall at some point in the first few years of my marriage (we've been married going on 6 years now) telling Mr. C in bed one night that I had had feelings towards a high school friend. He was very cool about it, in a "so what?" sort of way. I figured that he just thought the idea of lesbianism was cool. At this point, I guessed he was gay, but I didn't realize gay men didn't dig the whole lebianism thing that all other straight guys do.

    Then, about a year ago, Beth contacted me on Facebook after not speaking to me for 10 years (she was really angry when I joined the LDS Church and didn't speak to me after that). I felt internally compelled to talk with her about what we had had between us in high school. In writing her, it made me realize that I should be more explicit with Mr. C about what my relationship was with this friend. And also about this same time I completely accepted for myself (again - I had accepted it in high school but then went back "into the closet" when I joined the Church) that I wasn't strictly heterosexual.

    Anyway, I told him about my feelings towards her, and about the things we had done. At the time, I was still a believer in the church, and so I had a lot of shame associated with the relationship. Through talking about it, I was able to get rid of alot of that shame, and see the relationship as I had seen it when I was in high school - good, uplifting, wonderful, loving. He was fine about the whole thing. I was nervous about seeing Beth again (I was going to be in her city for a conference and there was talk of us getting together), and asked Mr. C's advise on it. Ultimately, I decided it would be best for all parties involved if I didn't see her. We've still kept in touch.

    Throughout the entire process, Mr. C has been very understanding and accepting of me. He was notably more ruffled when I told him about my relationship with my college boyfriend, who in my mind meant considerably less to me. In a lot of ways, that boyfriend was a "front" for my relationship with Beth. Although the relationship between the boyfriend and I was the more physically intimate, overall the relationship between Beth and I was a bazillion times more intimate in nature than the one between me and the boyfriend. I loved her as I love Mister C - wholely, completely, entirely. My boyfriend... well, it was nothing like I experienced with Beth or Mr. C.

    I found it odd that he was jealous of the boyfriend more than Beth, actually. Still am, to some degree.

    Insight, Babe?

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  7. @Mme Curie - Good question, Dear. I'm not sure I would characterize my reaction to either as extremely jealous, I'm not a very jealous person. I am fully confident in your love for me and the strength of our relationship, so I don't really feel jealous about your past relationships. If there is more jealousy toward your old boyfriend, it is simply due to identifying with him on a male level and wondering how I compare to him. I don't have to compare myself to Beth because we are different genders and I have no need to compete on that level (I KNOW you can identify with that!) :)

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  8. Yes, I think perhaps use of the word "jealous" was incorrect. I do understand what you felt, though I don't know the word to describe it :)

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