Thursday, May 31, 2018

Misty Water-Colored Memories


It's been a rather nostalgic and melancholy day for me today. Perhaps it's the weather. It's been an awfully rainy spring in Idaho and for someone whose moods are really affected by the weather, it's not very bueno. Rainy days = despondency. On days like today but during autumn, I look forward to porcupine meatballs for dinner or caramel corn with a horror movie and it makes me feel cozy and desirous to tuck down in a hot bubble bath or in my electric blanket. But more often than not days like today make me feel wistful and blue.

Today I've been thinking a lot about the people who have come and gone from my life. Just like the old adage says: "Some people stay for a reason, season, or a lifetime." Thanks (but no thanks) to the electronic age we live in, it's easy to search for old friends and acquaintances via Facebook and take a quick glimpse into their world anonymously w/o having to actually connect w/ them again. As a former sex addict, I've had unusually more people come and go from my life in addition to just regular contacts I've met via work, school, neighborhoods, church, etc. It's sad to surf through these profiles of old ghosts from my past and trigger bad feelings and along with heavy waves of embarrassment or shame or jealousy or hurt which pang my heart and soul. I've hurt a lot of people; and a lot of people have hurt me. Some of these people probably don't even know I remember them or things we did and shared together or that I still think of them and am curious enough about them that I've looked them up.  But there they are...in living (still) color! Would they feel flattered? Nervous? Pompous? Sad? I wonder if I'm remembered or thought about fondly or painfully by these people or if even at all? Do I bring up feelings of resentment or rejection or hurt or jealousy in them as some do me?

Memories...ick. Ghosts from my past...ick. People, places, mistakes, experiences...ick. Sometimes it all makes me feel like I'm talking a bath in dirty water to even think of them. But all of these people and memories and experiences, good and bad, past and present have helped shape me into the man I am today. Some people I miss and wish I still had contact with or even some kind of a relationship. With others I'm glad to have them long gone! Hasta luego! Some I'm supremely jealous of. Others I'm appalled at. And still others I wish would just blink out of existence and out of my memories altogether. 

So, that's where my mind has been at today. Despite me being content w/ where I'm at and the choices I've made to fight for what I want and who I want to be, I still struggle w/ negative feelings of hurt and isolation and jealousy in regards to my past and the people who haunt it. To those I've perhaps unintentionally hurt: I apologize and ask for your forgiveness. To those I've intentionally hurt: perhaps you deserved it and/or perhaps I was just stupid. To those who unintentionally hurt me: I'm trying to understand and make peace with it as best I can, so I forgive you. To those who intentionally hurt me: screw you! And to those who continue to frost me by being gorgeous, healthy, popular, successful, and "happy" and who have snubbed me time after time in the past, I say poo on you! I don't need you or want you to share in my life.

"The Path of Life" - Amanda Carrington     

People come and people go;
Some pass by, some touch your soul.
Some teach you lessons good and bad;
Some make you smile, some make you sad.

Some will stay and never leave.
Some will go for those we grieve.
Some will give us memories dear.
Some will fill our dreams with fear.

All these people play a role;
They'll break you down or make you whole.
From kids at school till late in life,
These people fill our days and nights.

Life's ever changing kaleidascope;
Names and faces, love and hope;
People came from far and wide,
Individually walking by our side.

To those who played a role in mine
I thank you for your precious time.
May your life's journey be complete
With positive people still to meet.


Tuesday, May 22, 2018

New Warrior Training Adventure

I recently returned from staffing another Mankind Project’s ‘New Warrior Training Adventure’ (NWTA) in the wild wilderness of Wyoming. It was my second such staffing and, as I knew before I left, it didn’t disappoint! I came away feeling refreshed, empowered, energized, focused and determined. I am so thankful for this organization and how much it has helped me find the gold inside myself that I couldn’t see or recognize before. Years upon years of loneliness and isolation and addiction and shame had completed dulled my spirit and almost caused me to snuff out the flame altogether. But a series of random events and people over the past few years have caused me to finally start taking action on improving myself and coming to terms w/ who I am and, (stealing a line from “Clueless” here), do a makeover on my soul. The NWTA has been one of those events that has helped me reclaim myself, my integrity, and my manhood.
I had lunch w/ a friend today and our conversation made me reflect back over the past few years and how much progress I have made in so many areas of my life. Yes, I’m still into guys and yes, I'm still in love w/ my penis. That will never change. But what has changed is my acceptance of these things and my sexuality and awareness and self worth as a man, even a bi, Mormon, married man, which was kind of stolen from me by the assholes I went to school with and then later, addiction and my feelings of self loathing and shame.
Even though I still struggle w/ occasional feelings of inadequacy and intimidation when I compare myself to other men, I feel much more confident and self assured and brave. I recognize when I'm having those negative and shaming thoughts and feelings of myself and I confront them head on! I am able to stand strong in the company of other ‘masculine’ men and not feel like a fairy or faggot or fear an imagined or real judgment they may have of me. I no longer fear being vulnerable in the company of others or fear what others may think, say, or do. As you, reader, are aware, I’ve lived a pretty scary and hard secret life. I was drowning in that darkness of shame and fear for years. But now, I don’t feel those icky feeling as much anymore. I’m one of those people, who for whatever reason, needed to taste the bitter in order to know the sweet and to experience darkness in order to recognize the light and where it comes from.
The Mankind Project as well as other good friends, groups, experiences, and organizations has helped me see other men and the masculine in a healthy new light and be secure in my own masculinity. It has helped me recognize my strengths and abilities and to also see where I may fall short and need some additional work. It has connected me w/ other men who have a completely different and elevated view of masculinity and manhood which is far greater and deeper than any our current messed-up misogynistic toxic American male culture does. These men help me live the best version of myself. They have helped me find and recognize the gold within and challenge me to continue to step into my fears and be a true man. That's a wonderful feeling!


Tuesday, April 10, 2018

This Is Me

Today at work I had a co-worker, who is also a dear friend, ask me if I could chat for a bit with him. We secluded ourselves and he told me he and a bunch of other co-workers (you know who you are) had recently discovered my blog and they were concerned w/ my well-being, spiritual and otherwise. I was totally taken aback. It was one of those ice-water down your neck experiences, you know? Especially since the co-workers who discovered and read it are some of the nicest and purest and genuine people I know and now they know all of these terrible things about me! My past, my triggers, my struggles, my trials, my thoughts, my demons, etc. have all been suddenly exposed w/o my control, consult, or consent. On one hand, I'm embarrassed and shamed as hell. After all, who likes having all their most shameful, disgusting mistakes and sins dragged out into the light especially when I've tried really hard to paint a good-guy image and wear this clean-cut facade to the best of my ability over the years? But on the other hand, I need to own this shit. It's me. It's who I am and where I've been. Granted, I'm hoping my past doesn't become my future and I'm working very hard to make it not become such! But in the end, it's me. I've had a very difficult life and have made dozens upon dozens of mistakes and my challenges and trials are extreme. However, I think I've come a long way over the years and have made significant progress in figuring out who I am, what I want, where I'm going, what I believe, and how to manage this trial and challenge God has given me in this life.

You have to know it's terribly scary and makes me feel very vulnerable and embarrassed to have my anonymity stripped from me, especially among those I work with and esteem as good friends and good people. I'm sorry for dragging you, though unintentionally, into my pit of despair and shame. I pray you can look past my ickiness and continue to see me for the good guy you've come to know and the good I have in me.

So, there it is. Now you know. And I know you know. And you know that I know that you know.
And the beat goes on.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Welcome to Loserville! Population: Me

Yesterday I wrote about how heavily I've been tempted lately to view porn and jerk off. I mentioned perhaps it's b/c it's springtime and it's the call of the wild. Fueling it are my triggers of boredom and stagnancy at work and in life and my insecurities. Another thing that dawned on me this morning that may be fueling my desire to escape into addiction are my feelings of inadequacy, worthlessness and mediocrity.

When I got to work this morning I opened my news feed and began reading about Martin Luther King Jr and his assassination which was 50 years ago today. I took note that MLK was 39 years old when he was assassinated. I am currently 38. My thoughts and feelings immediately began churning and rolling and crashing as I compared myself and my life's achievements (or lack thereof) to his and some of the other great people in history who did so much good in their short lives and who left such powerful marks on history: Christ, Princess Diana, Eva Perón, Martin Luther King, Amelia Earhart, Rudolph Valentino, Mozart, JFK, and the loads and loads of singers, song and music writers and composers, politicians, and actors. All of them achieved so much in such a short life and were obviously important enough that they made it into our history books, public conscience, and Wikipedia pages!

So I sit back and think, what in the hell have I done in comparison to them? What mark have I made in the world? What will I be remembered for? How has my existence on this planet influenced or changed it for the better?

And my heart gets heavy because I realize the frightening and cutting truth: nothing.

I have a basic job at a small marketing company in cold and windy Eastern Idaho where I have lived all of my life and where I'll probably die. I have no political or community influence. I don't have a wow-ey "professional" job or one that pays big bucks. I'm not a lawyer, doctor, professor, leader, politician, executive or anyone of any importance or status at all. At my current job, while I do have 10 years of longevity and experience in my pocket, I still have no cool title, no voice, no influence, no power, and no hope of any future growth or progression. My musical talents, while I recognize I do have some, are still middle-of-the road. My physical attributes, health and stamina are middle-of-the-road. I haven't invented, written, performed, spoken, created or inspired anything worthwhile or notable. My temperature in the gospel and church is lukewarm even though my testimony is rock solid; translation: I'm a vulgar, rough-around-the-edges-type dude. I have no screaming passions nor ambitions nor involvement in anything worthwhile. I'm a basic and boring and mediocre man. To put it bluntly and truthfully: a loser.

Where will I be next year at this time? Or in 2 years? Or 5? Or 10? When I'm on my deathbed at the end of my life and I'm looking back at what I did influentially or socially or professionally or politically, what will I have to say for myself? I worked as a grunt at a marketing company b/c I was too lazy and scared to do anything else or live anywhere else or experience anything new or different and didn't think that I would be able to do anything worthwhile so therefore I never did!? How pathetic is that! The ONLY thing that gives me any comfort at all and helps ground me again is when I try to look at my pathetic life in a gospel and eternal perspective. Then, with my rose-colored glasses on, am I able to say I was successful, b/c I continually fought against my natural man and carnal desires and urges and tried to be an influence for good with others who fight the same battle. I was there for my children and raised them in a home that was clean and safe and cozy and where they knew they were loved. I have a strong and true and shining testimony of the truth and never deterred. I stayed strong in a world of shifting values and negativity and poor choices. I tried and fought hard to be a good, faithful husband and instill in my family righteous principles.

Only then am I able to pull myself together again and continue putting one foot in front of the other as I trod through this blah existence. Even though I am nothing and have nothing (monetarily or earthly) here, I'm sure hoping I'll have something and be someone in the here-after!

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Temptations

Temptations are strange. They come out of nowhere often for no reason at all and sometimes are so strong I don't know if I'll be able to turn away from them. I remember a Bishop years ago likened them to watching a play. The person (temptation) comes onto the stage and begins to dance. We can either sit back and watch and continue to let the dancer entertain us; or we can grab a hook and pull them off the stage. The "hook" can be calling a friend, leaving the room, going for a walk, saying a prayer, etc. Sometimes it seems like the theater seats have seat belts in them though b/c it can take everything in me to muster up the strength and resolve to pull the dancers off the stage.
Temptations have been popping up all over in my life again lately and I'm having a helluva time keeping myself in check. It's been a white-knuckle kind of season. Perhaps it's b/c it's springtime and I'm feeling those all-too-familiar rumblings in my loins. I personally believe it's an actual, true thing that we men become more carnal and lustful this time of year b/c it's programmed in us to be such! It's our instinctual and sometimes habitual and natural call of nature to get out there and procreate and/or spread our seed. For me personally, I'm not feeling too tempted to go out and spread my seed w/ anyone else in particular, but solo I've really been struggling. The daily temptation to escape away from work and isolate and view porn and masturbate have been extremely powerful lately. Of course I don't want to simply rub one out to just my thoughts and memories and fantasies in the bathroom. That's too vanilla. No, I want to view some disturbing and graphic and vile imagery to go along w/ that rubbing out. And porn, while it has definitely been a part of my life, isn't my primary go-to or overwhelming temptation. But lately it seems like it is.
The last time I looked at porn and jerked off was 15 March (ides of March). Of course that was intentional. I'm a traditional and orderly guy who likes to have specific dates and timelines to remember and refer back to. But since then, my guts have been writhing w/ temptation to do it again. And again. And again. A porn binge for me is usually a 3-4 day span in which I look at it and masturbate sometimes 6-10 times per day. Then, just as quickly as it appeared, the urge goes away for another few months to a year. Is that familiar to your porn cycle?
I have a hard time w/ personal prayers. I don't like to do them in the morning b/c I'm so not a morning person and prefer to just do the bare minimum in the morning until I'm at work and have had a chance to truly 'wake up' and get my bearings about me. At night my wife and I are so exhausted from life and bedtime battles w/ kids that all I want to do is quickly brush my teeth and get in bed and tucker in and snugz my wife and drift off (which is also why sex is so few and far between these days). Ah, the glory of getting older right? Anyhow, I put a reminder on my phone that will give me a notification to pray every day at 3:00pm. I'm to stop whatever I'm doing and say a silent prayer at my desk or go to the private bathroom and actually kneel down and offer a prayer. It's helped. A lot. So that's a good thing.
Today I was really, REALLY struggling w/ temptation to binge watch some raunchy porn. The only way I can describe is a gray fog. Everything becomes blurry and hazy and I can't focus or concentrate or think of anything else besides just that. I hurried through some tasks by telling myself that my reward in getting them done would be a major jerk and porn fest. So, I went and isolated myself in the private bathroom and was 'prepping' myself for my binge. But then - BOOM! A notification popped up on my phone reminding me it was 3:00pm and I needed to pray. I sat on the toilet and battled back and forth for 10 minutes w/ the thought of ignoring the prompting and/or continuing w/ my porn and JO binge. Finally, I mustered up the strength to pull up my pants, and then knelt down next to the sink and offered a prayer to Heavenly Father and asked him to strengthen my heart and my resolve to get through the rest of my day w/o incident (I typically only struggle w/ temptation for porn and JO in the afternoons while at work...boredom is a huge trigger for me). I left the bathroom and came back to my desk and decided to throw myself into blogging about my experience. And here I am!
I'm grateful for tender mercies and a knowledge that God hears and answers our prayers and is mindful of our weaknesses and temptations. I'm also thankful for the Holy Ghost who, even though He speaks to me quietly, is doing just that - speaking to me! And I'm grateful that I took the higher road today and was able to keep my personal commitments and continue to be worthy of His spirit. These moments of personal triumph over sin and temptation strengthen me and my resolve to continue to fight similar battles in the future.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Of Boyfriends & Bromances

Last summer I met a guy with whom I immediately clicked with and he with me. He's new to all of this gay Mormon thing and I've had the opportunity to be right there with him as he's navigating this newly discovered part of his life. I observe and support and help and encourage as much as I can. He's everything I have waited for and prayed about for a long time!. He's handsome, charming, local, we're almost the same age, we have similar lots in life, he's married with a family and a faithful member of the church and most importantly he's committed to them and in doing what's right. Consequently, sometime over the course of the summer and early fall, I realized I had fallen in love w/ him. And he had fallen in love w/ me too. I've experienced this before and I know there's differences between infatuation and puppy love and perhaps (most likely) in X amount of time down the road I won't feel as strong or have the same intensity of "love" feelings for this bloke. But for now, they're there and they're pretty intense.

Now, this is where it gets tricky and yet albeit wonderful too. We are both married men who love our wives and families. We both have strong testimonies of the gospel and know what is right and wrong. But we can't deny the strong chemistry and electricity that exists between us. With him I feel a lot of the typical, natural feelings of love and affection that aren't as strong or 'natural' when I'm with my wife. I admit aside from the love it's sometimes been difficult to control our carnal desires and lusts; we've had some very close calls. However, in the end I can still spot the difference and I recognize when our love starts turning into lust and I try hard to fight it and stop it!

One thing I love and yet am absolutely sick about is I've kissed him. Actually, we kiss all of the time. And it's wonderful. I love it. It feels absolutely divine and natural and powerful and passionate. But I also feel terrible b/c kissing is a sign of something more and something deeper. How would my wife feel if she knew I was passionately kissing this guy, who for all intents and purposes is actually my boyfriend? How would I feel if I found out my wife was kissing another man!? That would be SO not appropriate and would be considered a flat out adulterous affair! My wife would probably freak out less if we had jacked off together, b/c that's more of a carnal act than it is 'love'. Sigh. So I guess you could say in a way I'm back to where I was pre-baptism when I had done something I'm ashamed of yet I hide it from my wife and the Bishop b/c I'm afraid of the consequences. I made the choice long ago that I was going to stay with my wife and family and be faithful to them, so what the hell is going on!? What is this all called!? He and I have also pushed some limits in regards to other lustful behaviors; nevertheless we haven't engaged in the big 3: a) mutual masturbation (however, he has came several times by Levi loving and grinding), b) oral sex, c) anal sex. I realize I'm just justifying and it's so not cool. We most definitely need to cool our jets in a lot of ways!

We talk exhaustively about our relationship and how deep things have gotten and intense and that we need to pull back on the passionate kissing and carnal activities and what not. As wonderful as it is I'm always left feeling like shit b/c I know what I'm doing to myself and my spirituality and I don't like it. It's not right and it needs to end. However, it's not realistic for he and I to say we won't see each other anymore; that's ridiculous. He and my wife have a friendship outside of ours and even our families have all gotten together on many occasion. I think he's a huge blessing in my life. It really is a sweet set up. Now the trick is to not turn that blessing into a stumbling block.

In the end, A) we're not going to dump our families and run off into the sunset together, and B) I was just re-baptized last May and I remember how happy and pure and light I felt and I'm not about to make some dumb half-cocked mistake and allow my libido and lusts to take control (as hard as it is!) and mess things up in a seriously bad way with this guy. Suffice to say this is definitely new territory for him and me and I'm learning a lot, through trial and error. Won't it be great when this life is done and we will all know just what was appropriate and ok and what wasn't? There will no longer be church handbooks or per-the-book punishments or internal stories that we tell ourselves. Everything will be out in the open and we'll have an eternal perspective on things. Are my feelings for this guy 'sinful' or am I ok loving him just so long as my #1 priority and devotion is my wife and children and we keep our dicks in our pants? As long as I keep my lusts and sexual desires controlled and within the bounds the Lord has set, I should be good to go, right? So why the constant internal struggle? Is that coming from me? The Holy Ghost? Satan's tactics? WHAT IS IT AND WHY?

Thursday, February 22, 2018

My Story (Updated 02/22/18)

This is "My Story" and it's more of my sexual and addiction history, rather than family, friends, religion, etc. I'll try to keep it as concise as possible but mind you it does gets rather intense.
I started experimenting w/ my male cousin when I was about 7. We were both the same age and were like brothers growing up. We had frequent sleepovers and would watch raunchy 80s comedies and then pause the movie and lick the body parts (female) on the TV screen. His older sister (she was 12, we were 8) once put on a strip tease for us in the middle of the night too. Ordinarily we would just lay in bed and fiddle w/ one another; stupid stuff...like dare each other to lick here or touch this or that. Totally experimental. I honestly don't remember anything beyond that happening w/ that particular cousin. There were other instances of experimentation here and there at that age w/ other cousins and friends, usually just showing each other our erections and fiddling w/ each other and stuff like that.
I also started messing around w/ myself at about that same age. Not completely masturbating in the regular sense, but I would just rub myself while watching TV. And I think I would orgasm, but I don't remember for sure. I did it a lot and I got caught a lot. It was always a dirty, shameful thing when I got caught playing w/ myself, or at least I was made to feel that way. Therefore I really tried hard to keep it secret.
I also remember experimenting w/ girls. I loved to kiss girls as they came in the school room and was always curious about them sexually. I had crushes on the girls in all the movies I grew up watching. There was a girl I rode the bus w/ that would let me suck on her boobs under a coat while we rode home from school. I think I was about 10. I also remember going into an empty classroom while at church and asking her to stick her finger in herself while I watched. She said it hurt. I remember it smelled funky.
My mom had a Greek statue of a woman in her bathroom and I remember licking the boobs while I masturbated. I masturbated at church lots and lots of times alone in an upstairs classroom. I remember sticking my penis in a hole in the drywall behind the door at home. I remember watching movies that had love scenes in them and I would rewind and play w/ myself while watching. I remember messing around w/ other male cousins and friends growing up; basic mutual masturbation stuff like sitting side by side and playing w/ ourselves or even oral sex. We were so young! I can't believe I was so stinking sexual at such a young age.
I was extremely sexual during adolescence. I know it's all part of growing up and masturbation is a normal part of a boy's life and all that, but give me a break! Going into Jr. High was really rough. I was severely bullied and taunted and made fun of and rejected by my peers. I had absolutely no friends and no one to turn to. I never told my parents about what was going on at school or let on that I was being severely bullied and harassed. I don't know why I was targeted. I was just a misfit. I wasn't effeminate or anything like that. But for whatever reason, I was an easy target at school for kids to horrendously bully and torment and harass and embarrass. Coincidentally, this is also the point when I became really close to my other male cousin, who was like my best friend, little brother, etc. We did everything together, including sexual stuff. We were inseparable until we were about 18.
I remember building a fort w/ some other cousins of mine out in the woods and looking at porn and trying cigarettes and chew and huffing gas together. We were always getting porn one way or another and trading it among each other. I can't recall being particularly drawn to dudes sexually back then nor only looking at the guys in the porn magazines. But during this time I was still having a lot of male-male experimentation! I think it's b/c I was so made fun of and rejected at school by guys and yet was also experimenting sexually w/ guys that the wires somehow got crossed in my brain and that is where the problem really started. Yet all along I still had crushes on girls and became easily infatuated by them. It's bizarre, I know.
When I was about 15 I remember seeing a picture in one of the ads at the back of one of my porn magazines that showed two men having sex. It was so weird b/c the thought had never even crossed my mind up to that point. I remember being intrigued by the picture of the 2 men and masturbating to it many times. I told my close cousin about it and the next time we got together we tried anal sex. From then on we started having regular anal sex. It was always sneaky and quick, w/ no love or emotion. It was more of an exciting 'we know we're doing something wrong' excitement. Always spur of the moment. We continued this until we were 18. At that point our sexual relationship ended b/c he said what we were doing wasn't right. But we're still very close to this day and talk openly about our childhood and sexual exploits.
During my senior year I had some sexual encounters w/ other guys on random school trips and other places. This is the year I can pin point that I got a lot more sexually active. I was learning how to gain validation and acceptance and get attention from other men...through sex and being sexually desired/lusted after by them. I had another cousin that I would have anal sex w/ and we would perform oral sex on one another quite frequently. In my Junior year of H.S. I remember traveling to San Francisco once w/ a group from school and once there I left the group to go off by myself. I took a trolley car and went into the city. I noticed a guy cruising me on the trolley (this is the first time I can actually remember "cruising" or looking for sex or knowing someone wanted me for sex). We went and got a hotel somewhere and had sex. I don't remember much about the actual sex part but I wasn't even 18 and in San Francisco aka gay/AIDS central of all places!
During my senior year I wrote some extremely sexual and vulgar letters to a kid at school. Long story short, I got caught and had to meet w/ a prosecutor who threatened to send me to Cottonwood correctional facility. You have no idea the trauma and stress that was going on in my brain at that time. I was also graduating from high school that year and was completely living a double life! I was my parent's apple in their eye, Eagle Scout, ward organist, honor's student at school, etc. yet I was doing these horrible sexual activities very frequently and masturbating at least once or more times a day.
Aside from being caught masturbating from time to time or occasional porn magazines or messing around w/ my cousin, my parents had no idea how truly sexual I was or the deviant behaviors I was participating in at that point. They didn't know about the letters either. Let me just say I don't hardly even remember my senior year b/c of all the mental stress and turmoil that was going on in my life. I think that maybe perhaps I had somewhat of a mental breakdown.
I lost my "regular" virginity during my senior year. It was w/ a girl I was dating at the time. We would always make out and pet very heavy. We didn't have sex b/c I was attracted to her. I think it was more of a curiosity thing. In fact, since I was a little boy, I don't recall getting sexually aroused by looking at or thinking about naked girls. There were other girls here and there from time to time over the years that I dated and would let me experiment w/ them sexually (usually heavy petting and such), but aside from my wife I have only had sex w/ that one girl.
Despite being so sexual at such an early age, I was still really innocent and naïve, as hard as that is to believe. For example, all the times my male cousin and I had sex, I never once thought to myself, "Well since I'm a boy and he's a boy it means I'm gay." The thought never even crossed my mind and still didn't for years later! I didn't even really know what "gay" was. It was always just about the sex; the quick fix. It's like I was in a fog or a trance. The connection never happened in my brain. I never did consider myself "gay", and still don't despite having had sex w/ hundreds of men. I prefer to say it's complicated, b/c it really is. After all, what IS "gay?" Who I'd prefer to have sex with? Who arouses me sexually? Who I want to date and romance? Who I want to spend the rest of my life with? What does "being gay" mean!? It's different for everyone. So, I shy away from the label thing. But "It's Complicated" or "Bisexual" seems the most fitting.
Even though I was pretty promiscuous during my senior year, things got really bad the summer after I graduated. In July, I was in a video store w/ my sister and we were checking out. I got a really weird vibe from the guy clerk. When we got home I called the store and asked to speak to him. I came right out and asked him if he was gay. He said yes, but that he currently had a boyfriend and that he was moving to Seattle. But he invited me to a going away party he was throwing. I went to the party and met a guy there. We left together and ended up having sex. After we were done he took me to the house of a friend of his. This house was a meeting/hang out place for a lot of gay people in the area back then and for the next year or more I met many, many guys and had lots and lots of sex. Sometimes I was safe, sometimes I wasn't. It was like a turn table. Sometimes it was one on one sex, sometimes group sex, etc. I was really out of control.
I started college at Ricks College the fall after High School. There was a guy in my class that I noticed had his fingernails painted black. I thought maybe he was gay b/c he had his fingernails painted, whereas no regular straight guy would do something like that. I wrote another vulgar, obscene letter requesting sex w/ him and sent it to him. It got turned over to the Dean. I got caught and got kicked out of Ricks. Another one of my huge mistakes I still regret to this day.
The next 3 years I was very, very, VERY promiscuous. I remember a time shortly after my mission when I decided to compile a list of all the sexual encounters I had had up to that point (this was October 2003) and it was well over 120. I was constantly living in complete turmoil and fear b/c of my sexual addictions and I had mentally convinced myself I had AIDS. I was still hiding my many secrets and lives from my parents and had absolutely no one to turn to or help me. I was never completely nor thoroughly honest in my dealings w/ church authority. I was just floating from one sexual encounter to the next and losing myself mentally and spiritually. I couldn't get my act together w/ regards to school or a career or a mission or anything. It was just sex, sex, sex. I think that this is when (age 17-21) I completely lost touch w/ who I truly was (or am). When I was young I had so much potential and talent and opportunity, yet lost sight of it all in a world of sexual addiction. I had completely lost touch w/ myself and WHO I AM, what I want, what my goals are, what I want to be when I "grow-up" etc. I'm still struggling w/ all of this to this day and probably always will.
Between the ages of 19-21 I was attending ISU on a semester and off a semester taking general courses. I was living at home, then I would live a semester in Pocatello, then I would live in West Yellowstone for the summer (and sometimes fall). I began regularly cruising the gay parks and bathrooms and book stores and having anon hook ups all the time. Unsafe, anon sex was a regular occurrence for me. I was smoking and drinking and experimenting w/ pot. At 20 I got involved in the club scene in Salt Lake and would head to Salt Lake every weekend and go to the nightclubs and basically pick out who I was going to go home w/ that night. Sometimes I wouldn't even get a hotel room b/c I was so sure I'd be going home w/ somebody after the club closed. It was a game and a hunt to me. But if it didn't happen, meaning I didn't get the guy I had set my sights on, I felt absolutely and completely devastated and worthless.
With regards to the internet that was just getting big at that time (late 90s), I can recall chatting on line in gay chat rooms now and then and surfing some internet porn pictures (no videos), but I can honestly say that internet porn wasn't that big of an issue of me at that time. It was mostly the real deal. I did rent gay porn videos from the book store now and then but truthfully, porn wasn't in the forefront.
At 21 I started working w/ my Bishop to go on a mission. I never had a desire to go out for the right reasons (to convert people to the gospel and teach them about Jesus Christ and the Plan of Salvation), but solely b/c it talks a lot about my mission in my patriarchal blessing and I thought it would be good for me to go. Somehow or another, I got my act together (though not thoroughly) and went. Of course I didn't tell my Bishop everything I had been involved in nor to the extent I had been involved while I was preparing to go. And of course I continued to struggle w/ masturbation. I think the last sexual experience I had w/ another man at that point was September 2000 and I left on my mission in March 2001. I was almost 22 years old at that point. Yet the few months prior to my mission were some of the happiest and most spiritual of my life. I was attending the temple almost daily, going on Utah temple trips w/ my family, and serving in different capacities (e.g. temple laundry, Bishop's storehouse and cannery).
The first year of my mission was ok. I continued to struggle w/ masturbation but I don't recall lusting or fantasizing after any companions or anything. I thought I had put all the tumultuous sex addition stuff behind me. Yet within my first 6 months I had something that awakened those feelings again. I went on splits w/ a member and we went back to his apt. for a while. He asked me to play some hymns on the piano. While I was playing he came up and stood directly behind me to sing some of the hymns. I could feel he was gently bumping and touching me between my shoulder blades w/ his pelvis. While we were singing and playing church hymns, no less!
Anyhow, I think that is when all those sexual feelings, desires, etc. started waking up. It all just fell apart. One day we tracted into an apt of gay men. I couldn't even focus on the discussion b/c I was so triggered. That night I snuck out of my apt. and went back and had oral sex w/ one of the guys. That was the first time. After that I was on a constant hunt for sex. I started sneaking out to the porch to smoke cigarettes while my companion was in the shower. I would occasionally sneak into the downstairs single guy's apt and watch straight pornography and masturbate. I would perform auto-erotic behaviors on myself. I would cruise the train station bathrooms and would masturbate in the stalls w/ the men I had hooked up w/. I also snuck out of my apt many times and went to gay bars and would drink alcohol and cruise for hook ups. All this occurred while I was serving as a representative of the Lord!
One day we were walking down the street and a guy was coming towards us. We completely cruised and eyed each other as we passed. I ran back to him and got his number and address. When I caught back up w/ my companion he asked me who that was and I told him it was a guy I used to teach in my old area! That night I snuck out and went to the guy's apt. and we ended up having bareback anal sex. I did that twice w/ him on different occasions.
The way this farce of a mission I was supposedly 'serving' finally ended was I one of the other missionaries in my apt. apparently caught me in the downstairs apt. masturbating while watching porn. At least, I think that's what happened. I was never told the full story. It got back to the mission president and they sent me home 2 days later. I was shortly disfellowshipped after that. I was into my mission 20 months at that point. So I left on my mission in March 2001 and came home Oct 30, 2002.
What an absolute disgrace and embarrassment to myself and my family! Such self-disgust and loathing! But let me just say here that despite what happened on my mission I am eternally grateful I went when I did. Even my Bishop at the time told me I was meant to go on that mission. It really did save me even though I completely made a mockery of God and of all things holy. I remember virtually NOTHING from my disciplinary council. I think I was in such disgrace, shame, and embarrassment that a lot of the things that happened to me after I got back from my mission are lost in a black hole.
So now, at 24 I was living at home, disfellowshipped, and going back to school, working, and dating my future wife off and on. I was trying to get my act together, but still had no clue who I was or what I wanted to do. The relationship w/ my wife (then-girlfriend) was hot-cold-hot-cold. I was still cruising a little bit here and there. I was working w/ my Bishop to get my masturbation under control, but it was nearly impossible. I was also seeing a counselor at LDS Family Services.
Shortly after that I had one of the two (the first was to serve a mission) most strong personal revelations happen to me at that time. It was to ask the girl I was dating to marry me. I did and we made a goal to get married in the temple. I was still messing around w/ men, though I did not have anal sex with them. My Bishop wouldn't let me go back to the temple until I controlled my masturbation for 30 days. Well, I ended up faking my way through the 30 days. I would masturbate, but I wouldn't allow myself to ejaculate, therefore "keeping" my commitment w/ the Bishop in my mind. How is that for sick justification? I was also continuing to have sexual encounters and hook ups w/ men from the park but during our encounters I would not allow myself to orgasm. Again, I was justifying my actions in my mind and keeping my commitment w/ the Bishop.
My wife (then-girlfriend) and I were also experimenting w/ one another. We would heavy pet and even perform oral sex on each other. We never did have sexual intercourse, but did pretty much everything else. Despite all of this, I got my temple recommend back as well as was re-instituted into the church and we got married (in the temple) in April 2004. I was 25. At that point, the last sexual experience I had w/ a man as March 01, 2004.
I know if the Bishop had known what I had done or what my wife and I were doing prior to getting married we would not have been able to get married in the temple. Yet my wife and I have had many discussions about that since and we both strongly feel and agree we were meant to start our marriage w/ that eternal bond. We have faith God sees and knows all, especially our hearts.
My wife knows everything about me. She knows my struggles, then and now, and that I deal w/ same-sex lust. She also knows I don't consider myself gay, never did and never will. But I have an intense sexual attraction and lust-addiction toward men. She also knows I have been w/ many, many partners in my past. Yet she sees me for who I am and she loves me unconditionally and is seeing me through all this. We have a beautiful family. We have a great sex life and a wonderful friendship and relationship and I love her very, very much.
It was the fall after getting married I started looking at internet porn or renting it at the porn shop. We were living in Pocatello and I was attending ISU. I would go to the gay parks or saunas and watch men have oral sex. But I would never do anything w/ them or to myself while I watched. I would never take my penis out of my pants or touch them or allow them to touch me. I would just watch and then re-fantasize about it when I got home and would masturbate there. I was justifying that since I wasn't "doing" anything w/ these men I wasn't being totally unfaithful to my wife and vows.
I really went over the edge when I went to Los Angeles for work and went to a gay bathhouse, August 2008. I went 4 times during that week. Nothing happened w/ other men, but it was all around me. I also went to a bathhouse in Vegas the next January while I was there for work. I also remember being on that trip and staying up and watching gay porn ALL NIGHT LONG (literally ALL NIGHT) and masturbating.
Over the next few years I had hook ups here and there and saw a lot, yet I never crossed that fine line. But my lines were getting blurred. I started to masturbate while watching 2 men in the bathroom have sex rather than just keep it in my pants. I would let them touch my leg while we masturbated together sitting in a car side-by-side. A few times a couple of guys would try to touch my penis, but I would quickly tell them no. Some men were ok w/ me just watching; others wanted me to do something otherwise they weren't interested. I was also self-stimulating myself w/ all sorts of objects. Autoeroticism is how I define it.
In Oct 2010 I was at the point that the many years of repressing my secrets and lies and sins had completely racked my soul w/ torment. I decided I didn't care anymore if I was excommunicated or not. I had to unload this guilt and these secrets. I told my Bishop everything (up to that point). It was good and hard and embarrassing at the same time. He told me to tell my wife (which I did). Things were so good for me then. He worked w/ me, was understanding and compassionate. And one of the best things was I did not masturbate for the next 4 months, which I know was a blessing from God b/c I had finally done things HIS way for a change. I had never gone more than a week in my life w/o masturbating.
Then in February 2011 I fell off the wagon (w/ masturbation) and then everything started spinning out of control again. I soon got into watching more intense porn on the internet now and again in spurts. I could go months or a year w/ nothing and then I would have a huge binge and masturbate 6-8 times in a row while watching porn. It always had to be video; still pictures do nothing for me anymore. It was mostly gay sex that I had to watch and w/ each view it got viler, more depraved, raunchier, etc.
The line got blurred a little bit more and I sunk to a new low in April 2011. I was in Phoenix for work and cruising the men's locker room/steam room. I met a guy. We cruised all afternoon in the bathroom on each other and I went back to his hotel room. He was naked but I stayed fully dressed while we watched some gay porn. The whole time in my mind I wasn't interested in this guy and wanted to get out of there. I told him I was just a "watcher" and that I'd go and find another guy to bring back so they could both have sex while I watched. I left and went back to my room but my mind was in such turmoil and temptation that I didn't stay there for long. I went back to the steam room, met another guy, propositioned him, we went back to the first guy's room and we all got naked and I watched them perform oral sex on each other while I laid under them and masturbated and watched. Upon ejaculating, I was immediately horrified at what I had done. Never had I gone that far. I was devastated, thinking about my wife and my kids at home.
Upon returning, I told her what had happened (not all the details; especially that I had left the scene, but had gone back. That detail came out at a later date as was not good). She was hurt and cried but was forgiving as always. I was ok again...for a few months.
Then mid-summer 2011 I completely spun out of control. I began cruising the gay park almost every day. I was surfing ads on craigslist and getting into more raunchy porn. I masturbated w/ a guy (no touching, yet naked) w/ a guy in a video booth in a porn shop. I frequently watched guys have sex in the park bathroom or in their cars while I masturbated, sometimes multiple times a day. I had also become involved in an online LDS same-sex attraction support group (North Star) where I drew really close to a guy on there and became emotionally dependent on him. This was another new low for me. Up to that point I had never needed a guy in this way or had developed an emotional attachment for a guy.
He came to my town over the 2011 Labor Day weekend and we ended up hugging and rubbing and petting. We ended up getting completely naked w/ one another. We never kissed or any of that but it felt good to feel him and hold him and touch him. You can imagine my poor sweet loving wife when I told her what had happened. Oh, did I mention we did some of this at my house b/c he was staying the night w/ us?
Yet, miraculously this was when things really began to change and the realization that I am a sex addict really started to set in. I had never even considered sex as an addiction. Up to that point I always knew I had a problem, yet I was just so different from other guys in other groups. I didn't consider myself gay b/c I didn't want love and kissing and romance and all that w/ a guy, like the majority of men in same-sex attraction groups do. Yet my life was completely unmanageable and I realized I was (am) powerless over lust. My addiction ruled me. I think through maturity and self-understanding, I had finally come to the realization I was a sex addict and that I was seriously SCREWED UP! This was my "Day of Reckoning" as I like to call it. It was Sept. 08, 2011.
After my "day of reckoning" I really tried to be completely transparent w/ my wife and my Bishop all fall and winter in everything. I started seeing a therapist, I attended a Sexaholics Anonymous group in town every week and even though I still continued to struggle w/ masturbation off and on I really felt like I was actively trying to move up and out of the hole of addiction.
Then, my cycle started again in spring 2012. I started cruising the gay parks and bathrooms and answering ads on Craigslist. My infatuation w/ urethral sounding was getting more and more intense and I started doing it to myself all the time. I stole glow bracelets from the store to sound with. I would leave work and cruise all afternoon. I knew my addiction was escalating b/c I had no problem (and little guilt afterwards) when I would masturbate w/ men in their cars or in park. I didn't even have to fight the "you know you shouldn't be doing this" feeling anymore. One guy and I had several hook ups over a 3 week period; we would go into the woods, get completely naked, and lie on top of each other. At one point I allowed him to masturbate me. Another escalation.
Three things happened at that time that told me I needed to do something different to break the cycle. I couldn't just go to meetings anymore and do nothing else. I needed to do more or not do some things.
A) The experiences w/ the guy in the woods when he masturbated me. For some reason I was having intense needs for touch and bonding w/ men in inappropriate ways;
B) I masturbated w/ a 60 year old man in a bathroom. I did not finish, but still...I had started to;
C) I answered an ad on Craigslist to engage in watersports (which is urinating on another person). I guess I felt like such crap about myself as a human being that I was actually willing and wanting to lay down and have somebody urinate on me.
So, I put together an ABC Action list which really helped me get myself abstinent AND sober all summer long. I was sober and abstinent for 4 months - the longest I have ever gone in my lifetime. And it wasn't just white-knuckling it. I was in a really good place mentally, sexually, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Unfortunately in October 2012 I had a vasectomy and that threw me once again into an intense addiction spin cycle.
After my vasectomy in October 2012 my interest and addiction to porn as well as sounding my penis really got bad. The thing that aided this was I got an iPhone for work and I would escape off sometimes 5-6 times a day to the basement which has a private bathroom and would view hard core, raunchy porn videos and masturbate. I also started answering Craigslist ads on a regular basis for hook ups; although (thankfully) nothing ever became of them and I never did have a hook up. One of the ads was looking for intense sexual activities. I all but had the hotel room booked to meet up w/ this anonymous stranger. But at the last minute I wrote him and told him 'I can't do this. I have a family and I can't do this to them. I'm sorry'. The guy was understanding. Talk about a close call!
My porn interests and fetishes also took a darker, raunchier turn. I won't go into the details, but in a sane mind I admit they are depraved, disgusting, vile, and horribly evil. Luckily I haven't gotten into bestiality videos or child porn or rape or any of that, but I whole-heartedly believe it would only be a matter of time if I don't get a grip on my addiction. Plus, when I'm acting out, I've been hurting myself physically. But even that doesn't stop me. The pain and hurt and depravity actually fuels and feeds my addiction.
In June 2013 my wife and I sold our home b/c we needed a larger home for our growing family. Although the move was necessary, the change and disruption in my life and routines resulted in me being thrown in a horrendous spin cycle for the remainder of the summer and into the fall. It was the worst slide down a slippery slope I have experienced yet. I again began with-holding secrets from my wife and withdrawing from friends and activities and isolating myself. Once again I was surfing Craigslist ads and having anonymous hookups, sometimes daily with multiple people. I would get to work and begin cruising online ads first thing in the morning. I began smoking pretty regularly again also. I loved the rush I would get with the first cigarette of the morning. Each day on my way to work I would pull over to a park, go have a smoke behind the bathroom which would leave me buzzy and light-headed, then I would go masturbate to those feelings in the bathroom. First thing in the morning!
An encounter w/ a man in early August 2013 introduced me to poppers, which intensified the sexual experience. That encounter w/ him and the resulting memories drove me to go back to him a few weeks later and act out in order to get the same, satisfying sexual experience as I had the time before. At this encounter, I allowed him to perform oral sex on me..a first since getting married. Another rock bottom! I felt terrible afterwards, but it didn't stop me. The hurt and pain eventually subsided and I was on the prowl once again. I continued to cruise the gay parks and bathrooms and ended up receiving oral sex again and again from various men. On a few occasions, I even performed it myself.
The crappy feelings I was experiencing started to be more intense than the thrill and rush of acting out. I was growing weary of constantly worrying about my future, my family and was tired of the lies and the sneaking and the darkness and the heavy load I was carrying. The time had come to tell all to my Bishop and then Stake President.
I was excommunicated from the LDS church on 10/13/13. It was horrendous and scary; but it was necessary and I understand that. I held no bitter feelings or anger or resentment toward the church. All of it was a consequence of my actions and I was willing and ready for it.
I continued drowning in a world of secrets, compulsion, darkness and lust for the remainder of the fall and into the winter. I met a guy while cruising the park one day in November ’13 and w/ whom I subsequently acted out w/. We met up again in December and did the same thing - but this time it was worse and more intense. Since my wife and I were married 10 years ago, the one thing I have never done w/ a guy is kiss. This guy asked me why I wouldn't kiss him and I told him it was too personal. But he did it anyway, and I gave in, and it was sublime.
Around this time I had been doing some research on various drugs and things that help decrease a man's sex drive. Similar to antidepressants, I needed something to help take the edge of my sexual compulsions. I came across a Wikipedia article on Chemical Castration, which highlighted a woman's birth control drug (Depo Provera) that when administered to a man decreases his compulsiveness and libido. I talked w/ my Doctor about starting this treatment and did so the first part of December. It is a monthly shot that costs approx. $60 and really was a life saver. For the first time ever, I did not experience the obsession, the compulsion, the overwhelming feelings of lust and desire for depravity and carnality. I still had the same desires and attractions and thoughts, but the ability to temper and control them increased. I was able to take a tub or shower w/o needing to masturbate, for the first time ever!
However, along w/ a lessening of my libido, the drug also caused HORRENDOUS suicidal thoughts and feelings. We all have occasional suicidal thoughts, but the sobering reality of actually going through w/ it was becoming more gray and thinkable. That winter (winter 2013-2014) was by far the hardest and darkest days I have ever experienced in my life. Be it the Depo Provera drug (which causes depression), the gray, cold days, or the lack of the Holy Ghost due to my excommunication, I don't know; but whatever it was, feelings of hopelessness and despair and hate began engulfing my black heart and mind. Suicide became more of a reality for me. In fact, I spent many sleepless nights completely planning out every detail of it. I had mentally thought out the letters I would write to my children and wife and my explanation as to why it had to be this way. I was listening to dark music and felt heavy and numb and sad all of the time. My detachment and numbness grew as well as the feelings of self-hate and disgust. Many times I asked Satan and his hosts to come and finish the job. I had given up; I was lost. I was tired of the fight and struggle. It was never going to go away or get better.
On April 04, 2014 I met a guy and for whatever reason rapidly developed strong feelings for him. This is the first time anything like that had ever happened to me before. All my life it has just been about sex sex sex, but this time was different. There was a part of me that 'fell in love' w/ him, almost immediately. Rather than just wanting to get off w/ him, I wanted to hold hands, cuddle and kiss and lay together. And then of course there was the sex w/ him, which was great b/c in my mind it was more about connecting and being close rather than just getting off. And I allowed him to have actual penetrative anal sex w/ me, and I w/ him, which I hadn't done in 12 years, nor since I had been married. So I had now crossed every gay bridge there was to cross. There was nothing else left to experience anew that I hadn't before I was married. Everything was off the table.
Looking back on this experience, which lasted 2 months to the day (we called it quits June 04, 2014), I know he came into my life for a very specific purpose as does my wife. This guy saved me, whether he knows it or not, in many ways. A) He helped me realize where my true happiness lies. As fun as it would have been to have moved in w/ him and play house for a while, it wouldn't have lasted. Whether a few weeks, months, or a year or so, we both would have moved on. We would have grown bored w/ one another and needed that excitement and passion and intensity that only happens w/ a new screw or relationship. B) He came into my life at one of the darkest and saddest periods I've yet experienced, and helped put me back into my right mind and out of the mental tumult. C) It gave my wife the opportunity to strengthen her faith and deepen her understanding of my SSA. Writing about this now, it does seem rather ridiculous that I almost ended up leaving my wonderful wife, who I have known since we were 12 years old and truly and genuinely love and am happy with, for a guy I had met in the gay park who (like I) was only there looking for a typical hook up. All of the memories, tears, trials, joyful moments, holidays, dinners, nights spent having sex and snuggling in our bed, mortgages, arguments, laughter, movies, trips, births, movie nights, children, etc. was going to be thrown out the window for a man I had only known for 3 days. Where was my head!?
I honestly don't feel like going into all the deep whys, what fors, and hows about this 'affair' nor the hours upon hours of deep talks my wife and I have had, the tears shed, or prayers offered to God by her for me. Suffice to say I truly love my wife and family and I am happy being w/ them. My wife loves me too and we have grown and come so far as a family by working through this. I will never forget him, nor this experience, however. He will always hold a special place in my heart. And as I said before, I do not regret what happened. It was completely and totally necessary for ALL of us involved.
I do want to write about the moment that the switch flipped in my brain and I started to come back into my senses. I don't remember if it was May or June 2014, but I had made the decision that I was leaving my wife and moving in w/ the guy. The mental and emotional internal fight was over and I had accepted what I was and where I was headed. I went upstairs to our bedroom to pack a few clothes. My wife and I sat on the floor and hugged and bawled and sobbed b/c we knew it was inevitable. I didn't want to go, but felt I had to. I looked out the window and saw my beautiful daughter jumping on the trampoline in the back yard and that is the instant something in my brain and heart changed. My happiness was right there, w/ my wife and children in our home and in the life we had built together. I stayed; and from then on, things began to change. I told my guy that I was choosing to stay w/ my family. While I continued to mess up occasionally w/ him and others the remainder of the year, my heart had changed and I was no longer searching for my heart's desire elsewhere. There was no more confusion or restlessness in that aspect and never would be again.
I would also like to mention an experience I had w/ a fellow gay LDS married friend of mine that has altered the course of my life when it comes to male affection and physical touch. It was the same spring of that year and I remember being at his house and laying on the bed together. We were talking deeply about life, spirituality, and what not. While we talked I had my head on his chest and would occasionally feel the scruff of his beard w/ my hands and run my fingers through his chest hair and down his arms and hold his hand. I remember feeling such peace and safety and contentment. I looked up at him and said, “I have nothing to be ashamed nor guilty of and never will again! There is nothing wrong w/ us doing this, even as married men. I’m not doing anything I would want to hide from my wife or Bishop or anybody else. There is simply nothing wrong w/ 2 men being physically close and affectionate and fulfilling those physical needs w/o having lust and carnal passions arise.” That moment was pivotal for me! I knew it was possible for me to feel that pure, awesome connection w/ another man and not allow it to go into the realms of lust and carnality. Physical touch and affection w/ other men, for whatever reason, is absolutely crucial to my survival as a gay/bi married Mormon man. It recharges my batteries and fills my cup. It is my vitamin.
I’m not going to even pretend to say that was the end of my acting out sexually w/ other men. Not in the slightest! In fact, I would go on to have some of the hottest and most carnally awesome sexual experiences w/ other men in the next couple of years (2014-2016) after my excommunication. But it was different now b/c I was aware of what I was wanting and desiring vs. what I was actually needing. I now consider myself a skilled master at distinguishing the difference between wholesome physical connection and lust. There are many men in my circles who envy my sense of control and strength. I realize that ultimately I am the one who makes the choice to allow myself to ‘let go’ and allow that heat and those passions to wash over me and take control. I’m able to look to the end of the act, to that moment we’re lying there in the afterglow of our burning hot erotic encounter and we think, “Damn. Now what!?” After we’ve both gotten off and allowed ourselves to escape and lose control for a while, what then?? Do we remain friends? Do we continue to get together for an occasional tête-à-tête? Do we go our separate ways? Do I tell my wife and break her heart for the umpteenth time? Do I tell my Bishop and risk Church discipline again? Do I lie to everyone and tell everybody I’m doing great and swallow the guilt and shame?
In the end, I realized that quick rush of ecstasy is SO NOT WORTH everything I would lose. Why do I need to engage in mutual masturbation or oral/anal sex w/ a man in order to feel validated or connected or accepted? That is lust, plain and simple, and when I allow myself to go there that is when I’m being unfaithful to my wife and breaking my covenants w/ God. As much as I love having sex w/ men and always will, it is not enough for me to cast aside all of the other things I love and hold dear.
I have changed and grown leaps and bounds these past few years. My sense of self, awareness, identity, and acceptance is real and pronounced. I know that I would never be happy w/ a man. I am not denying myself and pretending to be something I am not. I am and always will be sexually attracted to men and continue to struggle and occasionally give in to my same sex lust addiction. But I have learned that I can still have my cake and eat it too..mostly. Aside from the awesome, mind-blowing gay sex, I can still enjoy some level of closeness and deep connection and touch w/ men. For me, there is a very real distinction between connection and love vs. lust and sex w/ a man. It's almost as obvious as a line drawn in the sand. So if I can just continue to gain strength and power over the part of me that wants to drink in the lusts of the flesh and reserve that part of myself for my wife, then I'll be alright. Had I not been excommunicated and lost the companionship of the Spirit for a time and had some of these positive and negative experiences, I would not be where I'm at today.
In spring 2017 I was meeting frequently w/ my Bishop and Stake President who both felt I was ready to be re-baptized. I felt like I was ready as well! It was time to put my past behind me and make that commitment w/ the Lord and move forward. However, I did have some nervousness and hesitancy b/c I did engage in a 1 night stand w/ some guys in Sept. 2016. I don't know why I did it or where that blip in my recovery and metamorphosis came from. But it had happened and it was bothering me, and I was scared to mention it to my Bishop or Stake President. Per the church handbook, there should be 1 year of sobriety since sexual activity occurs and baptism. For me it would only be 7 months. Gulp. If I confessed to my blip, would it push me back and discourage me enough to keep me from ever being re-baptized? I told myself (rationalized?) that if the Lord didn't want me to be re-baptized and be a member of His church, he would, through the power of discernment, let my ecclesiastical leaders know something was amiss. But despite the frequent meetings and even through my disciplinary reinstatement council, it never happened. Surely SOMEONE would have felt like I wasn't ready. But I always felt at peace and resolute and strong! I felt spiritually ready to take on that commitment and I think the Lord knew it and He let my leaders know it. I believe He also was pleased at my progress and how much I had changed and He decided it was time for me to come back; to serve and teach and lead in His church, especially since my heart was in the right place.
My disciplinary re-instatement council was a very spiritual event. My wife was there with me the entire time. Without hesitation or embarrassment, I boldly shared experiences from my past and my mistakes. But more importantly, I talked about my growth, my changes, my desires, and of course my testimony. I didn't feel like I was cheating or lying or deceiving anyone. Whatever the outcome was to be, I was prepared. But I knew in my heart it would be a positive one. And indeed it was! The decision was re-baptism.
I was re-baptized on Cinco de Mayo, May 05, 2017, which is a date I intentionally picked. I always want my baptism day to be remembered and marked on the calendar for years to come as a special day and one of festivities and joy! I had so many friends and family and co-workers come support me on my special day. My best friend for the past 8 years, who has seen me through thick and thin, was the one I asked to perform the ordinance. And you know, there really is a physical sensation one feels upon coming back up out of the waters of baptism. To put it into words, it's a feeling so pure and sweet and tender. Did I cry? Of course I did. Tears of pure joy. I then had the opportunity to share my first real and raw testimony, which was the first time I been able to in over 3.5 years! I don't remember my first baptism when I was 8 years old at all. But I will always remember my 2nd baptism and what a remarkable gift and event it was.
My wife and I again moved into a new home, a new ward, and a new community in August 2017, which is where we're at today. The new ward was small but everyone was so grateful and excited to have us. On our first fast and testimony meeting in the new ward, I immediately took to the stand and bore my testimony, as real and raw and vulnerable as I could. And it felt good. I told the High Council that was my goal: to share my story whenever I'm able to whoever will listen. You never know who may be touched or inspired or helped by hearing about the various things I've experienced and what I'm doing to try and keep myself on the straight and narrow path.
And this is where I’m at and who I am today, February 2018. I have some great friendships w/ men, gay and straight, that allow me to feel love, connection, touch, closeness, and acceptance yet keep our relationship on a level that doesn't curtail to sex or just getting off together. Am I still tempted? Sure I am. I'm the same guy I always was. Do I sometimes get close to doing something I'd later regret? Absolutely. But I stop by reminding myself and the guy I’m w/ what will happen in the end. I feel spiritually stronger and resolute to make wise choices and want to help others do the same.
These are the things that make me happy:
A) My wife and children;
B) Living a life of honesty and integrity and having freedom from secrets and lies;
C) Control over my natural man;
D) The Gospel of Jesus Christ and being a member of His true church;
E) Consistently trying to improve myself and others in ways satisfactory to me.
I know I must do what I know I need to do to keep myself far away and out of my addiction cycle and to make certain Satan's flaxen cords don't once again affix firmly around my neck. I must: A) constantly strive to fight the good fight and forgive myself for the things I've done and stop shame spiraling; B) come to know Christ and develop a personal relationship w/ him and FEEL His Atonement and love in my life and in my heart, which is on-going; and C) learn to truly love and accept myself and be at peace.
So, that's pretty much my story. I will continue to update it as the months and years pass. Of course there's more experiences and details here and there I've omitted or have forgotten about (thank heaven!) or just didn't include, but as you can see it's been and will continue to be one hell of a ride!
I hope this blog will help me understand myself even better as I have an outlet for my feelings, testimony, desires, recovery, weaknesses, trials, hardships, strengths, and my victories. I have to say it has been a long, dark, twisted, stormy road, but there is light on the horizon. It's just up to me to take the road that will get me there.
"And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them." (Ether 12:27)
"My Story" - Last updated February 22, 2018 TBC