Men struggling with Same Sex Attractions often feel a sort of weird alienation from the rest of society, so bewildering that they even assume they may have a genetic disorder. “I was born that way”, so they soothe themselves, although science has proven them wrong. You feel far away from men, and yet you long for them. You feel close to women, and yet, that is not your deepest desire. In this third installment, we take a look at the feelings of alienation that one may experience with Same Sex Attractions: living in Squaw Camp in a glass wigwam.
In his 2003 bestseller ‘No More Mr Nice Guy’, which sold more than a million copies, Dr. Robert A. Glover writes in chapter 6:
“Contrary to the prevailing sentiments of the last few decades, it is OK to be a guy.
Men born after World War II had the misfortune of growing up during the only era of recent western history in which it was not always a good thing to be male. This was primarily the result of two significant family and social changes in the post war era: 1) boys were disconnected from their fathers and other healthy male role models, and 2) boys were forced to seek approval from women and accept a female definition of what it meant to be male.
As a result of these two dynamics, many boys and men came to believe that they had to hide or eliminate any negative male traits (like those of their fathers or other “bad” men) and become what they believed women wanted them to be. For many men, this life strategy seemed essential if they wanted to be loved, get their needs met, and have a smooth life.”
This is particularly true for men with same-sex attractions. As we explained in part 1, a boy identifies first with his mother as primary caretaker, and must unlearn this at age 2 to 4 in order to then connect and identify with his father or father figure. When this doesn’t happen sufficiently (see part 2), he stays primarily connected to his mother and feels no connection with his father and all that he stands for, including dad’s heterosexuality and the heterosexual world.
But he still yearns for that connection due to his genes, and becomes resentful towards Dad and men when those healthy connection needs are not met. He feels rejected, he wants connection but he starts rejecting back, as a defense mechanism to protect himself from the further pain of that unmet need. It is deeply felt and the rejection of males and the male world may last a lifetime, unless he goes into therapy. He wants them, he hates them. Later due to testosterone, he sexualizes that unmet need for male connection, and in puberty or later he appears all of a sudden to experience same-sex attraction
1. Squaw Camp
In the meantime, his connection to his mother remains. He rejects Dad, or at least his maleness and the maleness of all his peers to go with it. Basically within the family, he is living his life in Squaw Camp. Let us look at the consequences this has for his heterosexual potential. As the Australian Identical Twin Studies in the year 2000 have demonstrated, everyone has an innate heterosexual potential with no exceptions. But many men with SSA’s do not feel it. They feel nothing for women. Mind you, they like women, get along fine with women, can have women as their best friends, but never feel anything for a woman in the sexual or romantic sense of the word. How strange. What is going on?
Glover writes about this issue, although we must add that his work is not specifically dedicated to men with SSA’s. But his insights are world renowned and also contribute to understanding the predicament of men with SSA’s:
“All little boys naturally fall in love with their mother and desire to have her all to themselves. Healthy mothers and fathers help their sons successfully move through this normal developmental stage. As they do, the young boy individuates from his mother, bonds with men, and becomes available for an intimate relationship with another woman in adulthood.
Each parent plays a significant role in facilitating this healthy transition. First, the mother must know how to give enough to meet the child’s needs without creating dependency. She must also know how to get her own needs met so she is not tempted to use her son to fill the void. Second, the father must be present and have a healthy bond with his son. This connection helps the little boy move from the cosy lap of his mother to the challenging world of men.
As stated above, most Nice Guys do not report having had close a relationship with their father in childhood. As a result, many Nice Guys were forced into an unhealthy bond with their mother. This bond might have formed if they had to please an angry, critical, or controlling mother. More often than not, the bond was the result of being forced to take care of a needy, dependent, or smothering mother. Without a supportive father, these boys had to negotiate an impossible situation on their own.
Both childhood situations — trying to please an angry or controlling mother, or becoming mother’s little partner — created a dynamic in which Nice Guys unconsciously became monogamous to their mothers and did not individuate in a healthy way.”
2. Suppressing maleness
In order to stay in close contact with the squaws in Squaw camp, in order to be one of the squaws but at the same time remain a non-girl, the boy who is not riding ponies with the male warriors must learn to suppress his maleness, his male qualities and all hints of sexual urges. When speaking to women or playing with girls, it is as if he creates a pane of glass between himself and the female; he can see them, hear them, interact with them, but that pane of glass will prevent his penis from ever coming in the near-abouts of the squaws. He is not really acceptable as Mommie’s new partner if he has sexual urges, and he slowly but surely suppresses any hint of maleness.
On the one hand, as Dr. Glover explained above, it is current society in which women and assertive feminists dictate ever more how boys must identify as male. But we will take it one step further than Glover. There is more. It is also the boy’s own doing to create a pane of glass between his slowly emerging maleness, and the women on the other side of the glass. His maleness is a threat, so he feels. It is a no-no. He cannot secretly walk around in Squaw Camp and be a sexual threat to the women there, while appearing to be so one with them. It would make him feel very guilty, and it would be far too bewildering. It would almost seem incestuous to be a real male in his current dwellings. As a consequence, his heterosexual urges are nipped in the bud.
Most important, who is doing the nipping? Society? Mom? Dad? Homosexual fairy dust sprinkled over him, coming out of nowhere, as many gays these days insist?
It is his own doing, albeit subconsciously. He is the one doing it, he is the one who keeps on doing it, and he is the one facing the challenge later on in life to take a good look at what he has done.
3. The Glass Wigmam
Basically, you live in Squaw Camp in a glass wigwam. You are there, everyone sees you, but you are luckily disconnected from the women in the sexual sense of the word due to that glass which surrounds you. You have not become a woman, you are faithful to your gender. And deep down inside, that feels good. This is a genetically induced urge.
In the meantime, sadly, you are also disconnected from men. And that yearning to be part of the male pack, will never disappear. It is your secret longing, your inner private world and this later gets sexualized by testosterone. And that testosterone induced longing is so pervasive. It lasts a lifetime if you do not look into it.
Your home has become a glass wigwam at the edge of Squaw Camp. Many fail to see such a strange construction, perhaps because it is a see-through wigwam, and you do not make much noise. After all, men with SSA’s are often labeled shy. Perhaps you may even have learnt to be almost completely invisible. No noisy, rude, rough little macho in Squaw Camp. Boys like that ride on ponies with the male warriors, and learn to do their yelling and cocky behavior over there. They fall off their ponies every now and then, learning to adjust to pain and scary situations with male warriors approvingly keeping an eye on them.
Loneliness sets in, and a weird sense of alienation starts growing, a feeling that only men struggling with same-sex attractions can relate to. They become Lone Rangers, riding into the sunset. But what happens to a lone ranger when he indeed has disappeared into the sunset? (For all twenty year olds reading this, that is an old tv programme: google it on your smartphone!). We see this cowboy on his horse doing great deeds of justice, lonely but supported by his Indian friend on a pony. What a friend, and how I liked it at age 12 with SSA’s coming on!.
Just the other day, Gary wrote to me:
“What has really troubled me lately is that, at age 60 now, I realise that I lived 90% of my life being ‘anonymous’. I never wanted anyone to discover the ‘real me’. I was unable to open up to women, and to show them who I really am. I was at first diagnosed by people as shy and that was true, but that shyness lifted and drifted away. Still, the horror of being rejected and denigrated by people whom I wanted as friends was even worse! Finally, I just pulled back into my clam-shell and pulled it shut, firmly!”
We do not live in a yellow submarine, as Paul McCartney sang. We SSA-guys live in a glass wigwam. Make that a clam-shell, in Gary’s case.
You did not join the apprentice warriors on ponies, learning how to be an Indian male “brave”. No pow-wow for you. You smoked peace pipes. Yes, with women in Squaw Camp, not with the fatigued and battle-hardened apprentice male peers, who were scared at times learning to be a real male. You did not fall from the horse, having no saddle. You never felt that pain, disabling you for days. You comfortably pulled the clam-shell shut. And got away with it, while the years passed on. You just hung around in your glass teepee in Squaw Camp as part of the scenery. Everyone accepted that male specimen at the fringe, who was making no sound or display, and who smoked the peace pipe with women, in order to feel accepted (not with men). And now you are 60, having regrets.
All that time, you have not allowed anyone to topple the cosy wigwam, to turn it upside down so as you can stand in the free world, to feel and breathe other air and see any other view. It is your doing. Time for a change?
5. Discovering your Opposite Sex Attractions
By feeling cosy and denying each and every Opposite Sex Attraction that came along, you have perpetuated an adolescent denial of OSA’s while you were figuring out how to live in the world, and remain faithful to, and innocent in Squaw Camp in the process. But your penis secretly grew, and boy can it get big! It confused you, damn that penis.
You succeeded in pertaining to women, to feminists, to Squaw Camp and always will, in the meantime having orgasms about proud men on horseback, with bare chests, muscles and brave warrior attitudes, ready to save the world. Many men with SSA’s will try to achieve that tv-programme yet with leather chaps, moustaches, and lonely rides into the sunset. But where to go next day when the orgasm wears off? Who are you when loneliness yet once again sets in? How to come to grips with estrangement, that weird feeling we all share?
The challenge is to rediscover those OSA’s as they came along in your puberty, and as you warded them off, one by one. It was your doing, and it is your doing to feel it again, to get a move on, as each Indian warrior has done on his pony. Those feelings are still there. You have diminished any form of sexual feelings towards your mother and sisters, but have also projected that restraint onto all women you meet.
It has become a general denial of being sexual towards the opposite sex. In doing so, it protects you from too much enmeshment with the female members of your family, but has also led to too little sexual involvement with all the other women in the world. You are projecting, and you need to switch off that projector in your mind.
6. But how?
In the first place, you need to understand and acknowledge that beneath a layer of SSA’s there is also a layer of OSA’s, just as strong and just as satisfying, as the Australian Identical Twin Studies have shown. If you do not wish to reiterate these phrases but prefer to hang on to current mainstream ideology that with SSA’s you cannot have any OSA’s, then forget about it. It is that simple. Do not waste your time, and do not waste mine.
Secondly, you need to acknowledge that you get along real fine with women, and that being their friend is quite gratifying, although you are only in the comfort zone with them, quite far away.
Third, you need to see that you live in (and have created) a unique wigwam of protective glass in which you have always felt cosy with women, especially because your heterosexual feelings have always felt so uncomfortable, to the extent that you do not want them.
Fourth, you need to understand that your problem is not unwanted Same-Sex Attractions, your predicament is unwanted Opposite-Sex Attractions!
You can learn to ride ponies with men after all those years to address unmet needs, you can learn to feel good about straight men and about being a part of that warrior group by getting out of Squaw Camp, by reaching out and by doing things with them, but understanding that protective glass wall between yourself and all women you meet (other than your family members) is something only you can do, deep down in your mind.
It is your resistance you built up long ago, it is your projections that you produce every day and it is your future which you can take into your hands successfully by becoming aware of the glass pane. And once you see it, once you realize that you are restraining legitimate feelings, and once you realize that it is not useful any more, you will start breaking out of the shackles of Squaw Camp, and start coming back as a free man, the ultimate gay liberation.
To be continued.
Job Berendsen, MD.