Monday, January 18, 2010

Self-Hating Lover

SO, phew, where to start, I'm currently in a relationship with my, might I add, very cute boyfriend. We're both young (don't worry we're 18) and nearly out, not all of our friends know about this, not even family, but we love each other very much. But not all is happy -- first of all because of his christian upbringing, he is very ashamed of his orientation, making it even more difficult for him to come out to his parents and the rest of the world, besides really close friends. And that's the first issue, the bigger problem is that in the several months that we have been in a relationship we have only had sex once, he has given no explanations why, and every time we get to making out and are about to go all the way he flinches, which is odd -- the only time we did it he was even more into it than I was! How could he have changed so badly?... I mean, we're very close in every other respect and from time to time he gets really hot and jumps at me to make out, but when it goes to the next level, he simply stops; when I ask why he does that he gives no explanation, besides saying "I just don't feel like it."

Now everybody has urges, and while I don't know how he deals with his I just can't deal with mine, I mean I'm only getting worked up but can't get any real action, and its killing me! I've asked what's wrong and I don't get a conclusive answer; I talked about this to the guy that is his closest friend, and he said that he had only heard good things about our relationship from him, so I'm stumped; I honestly don't know what's wrong! and I can't stand it!

In a fit of desperation I told him that I couldn't stay loyal to him if I didn't get any action; he had a sudden expression of sadness or something, and he gave the classic response that I couldn't really mean it. Ok, I must admit I almost cheated on him in the past, but I did not go through [with it], because I love him, and I feel like a complete ass. I haven't seen him since, but I'm very sad for having said that -- that was only said by my libido. But I can't deny there is something in it too. I mean, I'm not a bad person or anything but if things don't work in bed well... but even though I love him very much, I don't want to say something I'll regret along the way. Why do you think my boyfriend acts like this? Is what I did terrible? Or is it a bit rational? WHAT SHOULD I DO!

To be blunt, I would get a new boyfriend. But wait -- there's also a less drastic solution.

You already know what this guy's problem is. You stated it in your first paragraph. He's full of self-hatred due to his religious upbringing [and probably other reasons]. The reason he won't have sex with you is that -- even though he's attracted to you and other men -- he's ashamed of his homosexual feelings. That's why he keeps pulling away. He wants to make love to you because he's attracted to you but then his shame and guilt get in the way and he backs off. That's the only reason the two of you have had only one sexual encounter in all the months you've been together. [He may also have a fear of HIV/AIDS, so even if you're negative always stick to safe sex.] He also may have other hang-ups you don't even know about.

Sex may not be the only thing that matters in a relationship, but it is an important part of a relationship, and you have a right to expect that your lover will want to make love to you on a regular basis.

I realize that you love the guy, but it really doesn't sound like he's at all ready to make a serious commitment to another man. You must suggest -- even demand it if you have to -- that he go for counseling, possibly even therapy. If there are any gay centers or groups in your community, find out if they offer free counseling to troubled, conflicted gay men, and believe me, your boyfriend is one troubled and conflicted fellow.

Until he's comfortable with himself and his sexuality, he won't make much of a lover either in or out of the bedroom -- but I suspect you already know this. It's just that he's cute and you care for him a lot. But he needs help.

If you can't see yourself breaking up with him [and you should certainly threaten to do that or consider doing it if he refuses to get help] at least insist that you want an open relationship -- the two of you remain a couple but can have [safe] sex with others -- because you have a right to satisfy your sexual urges.

This may have a happy ending. But if being with you and his other gay friends hasn't convinced this guy that it's okay to be gay, he needs to get counseling or see a gay-friendly therapist who will help him accept his orientation. He also needs to know that not all Christians or religions are homophobic or see homosexuality as an evil perversion. Find a gay or gay-friendly church in your neighborhood for a start. If we meets other Christians who are okay with being gay, it might help him on his long road toward self-acceptance. [You can read more about internalized homophobia and gay self-hatred here.]

Let me know how it goes.