I was going to include all of this in the first post, but it's probably better to separate it out. Because I am just that interesting of a person. No, but that first post was getting a little long. As I said, I am interested in anonymity (a post on why later), so I doubt I will revealing much about my life that would be recognizable to friends and family. At the same time, I'll include any detail I think necessary (and answer anything I left out in the comments).
As I noted in the last post, I am in my late 20's, and I have, as far as I know, been gay my entire life. It's of course difficult to know this, as, who knows what they're sexually attracted to when they're very young? At the same time, I knew I was different at a very young age. I plan on doing a post discussing the origins of homosexuality later on, but I want to get a few things out on the table.
One, I can remember no significant moment in my life where I felt heterosexual. I can remember enjoying flirting with girls at an early age, and I remember it being fun and different, but I knew I wasn't getting excited about it like the other guys. I can remember one time at a summer camp thinking to myself, "I think this is what it's like to like a girl?" Of course, if you're asking yourself those sorts of questions, obviously something is different about you.
Two, I was most assuredly not sexually abused as a child. Every person in my family has always loved me with unending love. I often hear people say things like this, that all gay people were sexually abused when they were younger. I find this strange for a couple of reasons. One (I apparently only like to write out arguments in list form?), it's an incredibly unscientific assertion. It seems at least plausible (or so I imagine people making this claim might think) that there are homosexuals who have not been sexually abused. It's at least something one might want to look into, considering how bold the statement is anyway. Similarly, it's never clear how the connection works exactly. What counts as sexual abuse? How much of it counts? Is there some sort of precise triggering moment? Which leads into number two. The people who make this claim are usually pretty conservative (though I'm not sure this word is ever really used properly) and would normally laugh at armchair psychology, especially as it concerns sexuality. (Imagine if you told such a person that he was sexually attracted to his wife solely because of the pre-pubescent relationship he had with his mother, for example.) But these type of people are often the first to make claims like this. A fascinating thing. (I don't say this to necessarily criticize these people. I think it's how people try to understand really complicated issues. I just throw this out here to foreclose any major discussion of it, because it won't be fruitful, at least in my case. Now, I am not claiming that sexual experiences in youth have no effect on adult sexuality. I think there is a connection, though one that is hardly understood. I am just very skeptical of the direct and simple connection to male homosexuality. I'll write more on this in a later post.)
Three, I have no control over my sexuality. That is, I have no control over what I am sexually attracted to, at least not in any significant way. I am very much in control of what I do with my sexuality, but at no point in my life have I been able to will sexual attraction to members of the opposite sex. When I see an attractive man or a sexual image of a man, the reaction is purely visceral. When I see an attractive woman or a sexual imagine of a woman, there is nothing really sexual about it. I imagine most other homosexuals have similar experiences.
These are basic but necessary things to start with. On to my own sexual experiences. To be honest, this part is not very interesting. I have had no sexual experiences with either men or women, and I have been in no serious relationship with a man or a woman. I quasi-dated girls in junior high and maybe early high school, but those things never went anywhere. At least nowhere interesting. But this is not to say that I did not have sexual experiences. No, like most males growing up today I had a very healthy pornography and masturbation addiction. I can remember websites, at a young age, where there would be an option to choose which type of porn I preferred (gay or straight). I can remember convincing myself that I was just looking at the gay stuff because I wanted to see what it was like, not because I enjoyed it. All that is to say, I was never in any sort of denial (at least past a certain age) of my sexuality. I knew I liked men. I was perhaps in denial that I wasn't able to like women, but I accepted the fact that I liked men at a very young age. It takes a great deal of self-delusion to think that masturbating to images and fantasies of men isn't at least a sign of something.
And this is how it stayed for the majority of my life. I just wouldn't date and would self-medicate with pornography and masturbation at home. To be fair, I don't think I'm particularly unique in this way, whether gay or straight. I am only different in that I didn't even seek out sexual experience in any way outside of myself. In a lot of ways I preferred it this way. (This, incidentally, is a sign, I think, of a serious problem.) This addiction (and I think it appropriate to use this word; more posts on this later) lasted until a couple years ago. When I was around 25, I realized I was going to have to deal with this. And by this, I mean my sexuality. When I was 25 I had just finished graduate school and was taking a year before starting law school. I was living by myself with nothing to do. I had lived by myself plenty of times before then, but I always had school and friends to distract me. This was the first time, I think, I was ever faced with the reality that sitting in my room by myself, looking at porn, would be my entire future. It was the first time I ever really thought it plausible to start an actual homosexual relationship. I hadn't before for the same reasons anyone else wouldn't: it felt wrong. But those people were at least happier, even if just in the temporary sense, even if I thought they were wrong. This meant something.
But I did not start a homosexual relationship. (I honestly wouldn't even know where to start; I find most homosexual dating scenes really embarrassing.) I decided I had that the only way to really deal with the issue was to understand it. And that is what led me into sexual morality and eventually to the Church. At that point in my life I was a Christian, at least for the most part. I was always very interested in religion and philosophy as a child. (This is no doubt what led me into my graduate degree.) But I was never really a part of any religion. My parents took us (my siblings and I) to a Catholic church, but I was never really a member or anything. Most of the kids who were looked a little dorky to me anyway. (It's not particularly cool in my family to be part of anything really.) But I understood Christianity well (usually better than most active Christians), and I did my best to live appropriately. And in a lot of ways I succeeded, at least in what I thought Christianity was. I always had a good moral intuition, and this is probably what kept me from most sexual depravity, but I never had a really developed sense of sexual morality.
So, that is what I focused on for that year. I had to figure out if and why homosexuality was actually wrong. I think it's easy to take it for granted when you're straight. That is, it's easy to say "well, homosexuality is wrong, obviously" when you have a girlfriend or a wife and kids or whatever. And you don't have to rely on that assertion because it has no affect on your life. But for the homosexual (especially the religious one), it's completely different. The homosexual is expected to give up any hope (he thinks) at happiness just because of some undeveloped idea, a hunch. But I am certainly here to tell you that a hunch is not enough to control something like sexuality. It obviously hasn't been so far (see, for example, pornography). Little did I know at the time that my attempts to understand sexuality would lead me to reevaluate everything I thought I knew about morality in general, and moreover, what I thought I knew about life.
So, off I was. At a certain point during that time, I think I reached a point where I felt like I didn't know anything at all. In some ways, I think this was a good thing; in other ways, I got lucky. Someone that morally fragile is hardly in any place to make good decisions. At that time I was a staunch libertarian. And I was a libertarian on moral grounds. This is the reason I liked libertarianism so much. It was so heavily concerned with absolute senses of morality. That is, I would make claims like "a person's right to life or liberty can never be infringed upon." Of course, I completely took for granted what a "right" was and where it came from. So that's where I started, where I thought I knew something. I soon realized I didn't really know anything at all and had to start from scratch. This led me to, what I thought, was one of the best defenses of libertarianism I'd found so far: writings by Edward Feser. I thought he was spot on with most of his stuff. So, I started reading his blog. Eventually, I came to realize that he really wasn't a libertarian at all anymore. His work opened me up to modern writers like Philippa Foot (though I came across her when I was evaluating abortion) and Elizabeth Anscombe and, more importantly, to philosophers like Aristotle and Thomas Aquinas. Never in my life had I been more impressed by a person's work than when I read Thomas. The man was a giant, and he had the most incredible answers to so many questions. Including questions about sexuality.
This process completely changed who I am, I think. I guess it could be said that Thomas drew me to the Church. I never took Catholicism seriously, even though I respected it from afar. When I finally stopped to read what was going on, to see the philosophical background the Church boasted, most other Christian religions looked embarrassing by comparison. I think the philosophy of religion is far beyond the scope of this blog, but it was surely this experience (and particularly Thomas' brilliance) that led me to joining the Church.
Before I did, though, I had to get myself right, to match the moral arguments that had convinced me. I had my answer to sexuality (which, again, I will write a great deal on later), but I was still completely and utterly addicted to pornography and masturbation. The process was difficult, but I succeeded (at least for the most part). I haven't done those things in about 2 years (I think this February), and I can't encourage people enough to stop themselves, regardless of their philosophical or religious orientations. Nothing is more freeing than to have the ability to not have to do something. It was during that 2 year transition that I told people about my sexuality. But I did not tell many people (only about 3 close friends, one of whom was a girl who very much liked me), and it is something I debate constantly with myself. On one hand, it's always better to have your family and friends know who you really are. On other other hand, not everyone is in the same place at the same time. It doesn't always work. (More on this later.)
But this is where I am now. I am happy with my life. Sometimes I get depressed (like everyone does), but I am happy and proud of who I am. I'm not completely sure what's next, but no one really is anyway.