6/ Celibacy and friendship

Inspired by Stokely Carmichael’s “Black is Beautiful”, the term “Gay is good” was coined in 1968. The intent was to counter both social and internalized homophobia, but also to promote free sex and homosexuality as a normal and viable life style. It follows the communist intent on wiping out past traditions and building a supposedly rational culture, this time where ‘gay is good’ (whether or not it really is). Promiscuity among Baby Boomer of all stripes rose in the 1960s to 11 partners (from three partners pre-WWII). Among homosexuals, the figure is in the hundreds.

The sexual freedom from the 1960s on became the underlying cause of humanity’s greatest scourge. The World Health Organization estimates that at a total of least 117 million people will die from AIDS from 2006 to 2030. Currently ranked fourth behind heart disease, stroke, and respiratory infections, AIDS is set to become No. 3, say researchers in a new report. It exceeds all the deaths from wars in the 20th century, yet no one is held to blame. The only response is ‘safe sex’. A bit like ‘Be sure to wear your helmet when biking!’

The gay psychoanalyst Richard Isay doesn’t consider celibacy in his therapy but celibacy has long been revered as a spiritual path, one that is difficult but valuable. The conversion program of such groups as Homosexuals Anonymous is not so much to create more practicing heterosexuals, but to encourage abstinence. Homosexuals Anonymous’s modest success includes 3% conversions, and 8% celibacy, putting the ‘success’ rate at 11%. This could be a lot higher if the government replaced ‘sex education’ and free condoms for teens with innovative programs to encourage celibacy.

Many ‘gays’ (probably the majority) are celibate and are far from gaylibbers. Almost no boys who sense they are gay are happy about their sex life. Depression and suicide is higher among self-proclaimed gays than in the broader population. Embracing a lifestyle they despise should not be the only option.

Whatever the hormonal story behind homosexuality, Freud is still the best explanation. For most males, gay identity is fixation at an early stage of development, a wound, because of inadequate parenting, peer bullying and sometimes molestation by an older male or school friend. Healing (whether gay or straight) requires struggle with childhood traumas in the attempt to establish a viable sexual identity.

Gay male couples are really just a continuation of the traditional male friendship, and as such should be seen as a model, whether or not the partners have a sexual relationship, in line with Gilgamesh and Enkidu, a story of comradeship, love and reconciliation with death. Aristotle: “The excellent person is related to his friend in the same way as he is related to himself, since, a friend is another self.” Most long term relations with a partner are soon sexless, which does not mean a failure. Rather it means a return to the traditional male bonding and restraint.

Channeling god’s trick

Homosexuality has different causes. Whatever they are, it is not a tragedy to renounce normal sexual relations. Homosexuals have traditionally had a special, slightly subversive role in society as creators of critical artistic culture, channeling their sexual energy, not into reproduction, but into cultural creation. EM Forster, Andre Gide, Jean Genet, May Renault—the 20th century’s greatest ‘gay’ writers—kept their sexuality private. The best gay novels are tragic, underlining the reality of homosexuality

While society has always tolerated these artistic gays as making a positive contribution, the essence of homosexuality in nature is the role it plays in protecting and supporting the reproduction of the tribe/ genus. Gaylib has little to offer here. But in Holleran’s Dancer in the Dance (1978), Malone realized he had ceased to be a homosexual, so much as he had become a pederast. “Now he recognized a young man’s beauty was just that—a fact: his beauty—and that he, Malone, could not worship it, possess it, consume it, digest it … handsome as a myth on the plain of Troy, an impersonal fact, as impersonal as the beauty of a tree. He watched boys playing soccer and when the game ended he rose and walked away, a calm spirit.

To do justice to the real reason behind God’s trick we must recognize the contrariness inherent in homosexuality and the try to understand and deal with it, not try to imitate straight family life.

Answers from Nature

Sex during the initial romance can reinforce male friendship, just as the sex hormones during male-female coitus reinforce their bonding in the interests of child rearing. During orgasm, both partners get a rush of oxytocin, associated with the ability to maintain healthy interpersonal relationships, but women also get it when suckling the infant, contributing to mother/infant bonding.

Both partners get a rush of opioid (endorphins), the body’s natural painkillers, producing pleasure but less bonding. The lesson: It is more blessed to give (oxytocin) than to receive (opioid). Homosexual relations founder on the male’s addiction to opioids during sex.

In nature, there is only one documented case of pure homosexuality, which is indeed worthy of consideration. The female of the bighorn sheep is only receptive for 3 days. Almost all males have msm (men having sex with men) (genital licking nuzzling, and anal intercourse). The few males who refuse msm are labeled ‘effeminate’, living with ewes, acting like females. They are mounted by the males, much as gays generally take the passive role in sex. But attempts by farmers to breed out the effeminates (kill all gays) didn’t work, destroying the domestic social system, and they are left in peace now.

Note how complex this homosexual relationship is, and how intriguingly nature molded the relations to conform to the needs of the herd while providing an outlet for the nonconformists without upsetting the group survival. In humans, highly feminine males often find healing through transgender operations, but they are a tiny minority of gays, and not a threat to society. Much like the effeminate bighorn males, they mimic the female. The unquestionable 100% gays.

Male bottlenose dolphins engage in same-sex relations early in life and use the bonds they form to hunt for females as they get older. As they become ‘straight’ in later life, the dolphins work in packs to restrict the movement of female dolphins as they wait for them to become sexually receptive.

Gays can only envious this elegant bisexuality, which conforms to group needs naturally. Now that, in human terms, would make a ‘gay romance’ which straights could enjoy, as the homosexuality contributes to the normal sexual dynamics. It is not disruptive. Nature cannot abide a defiantly homosexual ethic, putting it on a confusing equal basis with normal sex, as it is totally selfish and would not contribute to reproduction. Nature is no help to gay marriage advocates.

Gay critics of the brave new culture

Duane Duncan argues that the primary identification of someone as gay ironically reinforces stigmatization by identifying him as primarily concerned with sex (as opposed to race, politics, religion).  By remaining in the closet, gay people can more fully participate as citizens, without making who one sleeps with the main issue. “The irony is that gay people can be public—treated as full citizens—as long as they are not visible as gay people.”

The Queercore and Gay Shame movements critique what they see as the commercialization and self-imposed “ghettoization” of LGBTQI (lesbian, gay, bi, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex) culture. The LGBTQI community represents an artificial separation, estrangement from straight people, rather than one based on tangible customs or ethnic identification. Further, the movement is artificial, as it includes three groups involved with sexuality and one group exploring transexual/ transgender identity.

Harry Hay, the godfather of the American gay movement, was a founder of the “radical faeries” in 1979, a spiritual tribe of gay men seeking sanctuary in Mother Earth and rural enclaves, promoting environmentally sustainable technologies. The group was a reaction against the social emptiness that many gay men felt was present both in the heterosexual establishment and the assimilationist gay community. As one Faerie commented, in his opinion mainstream gay culture was “an oppressive parody of straight culture”, taking place primarily in bars and not encouraging people to “form bonds or care for each other.

Accommodation

Another way to understand ‘gay’ is as a disability similar to horizontal identities such as deafness (gays can’t ‘hear the call’ of male-female sexuality), identities which transcend vertical identities such a race and class. Deaf people and dwarfs in particular have asserted their civil rights recently through so-called horizontal identities. They affirm/ celebrate their disabilities (deaf/ dwarf/ gay is good), and are less fearful of public display.

Dwarfism is instructive for homosexuals. The only possibility for dwarfs to be normal is a painful and lengthy series of leg breaks allowing the bone to be extended (read: conversion therapy), and is not widely sought out. Bruce: “Sometimes when I watch another dwarf, I feel like we’re pretending to be adults. It’s a life’s project coming to grips with, really, how you look. If I could do it over, I’d want not to be a dwarf. It’s been too difficult.” (And he had accepting parents). Other dwarfs plunge right into normal society, comfortable with their dwarfism, marrying normally and living full lives. A lesson for gays.

The computer age and technological developments makes it easier to find like-minded horizontal brothers (deaf, dwarf and gay alike) and reduces the need for organizations promoting these horizontal identities, prompting critics to predict the continued demise of these liberation agendas. With cochlear implants, the numbers of deaf people has dropped significantly, undermining their horizontal identity. Only gaylib has entrenched itself as a pillar of the mainstream culture. The most able of disabilities.

It is possible, through hard work, to rewire the brain to open up to a fuller life. Just as you can learn a foreign language, or conquer the obsessive compulsive disorder, you can find room in your brain to achieve greater social abilities (i.e., to overcome your disability). Gaylib has sought to rewire the brain into a sex machine. But just to have the goal of scoring the most tricks possible is ultimately empty. What is vital is that your goal is a spiritual one. Even pansexuality can be sought for within a spiritual quest. Or celibacy.

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