Exploring Your Full Sexual Potential, part 24: Love me tender, love me sweet

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In this article we will analyze how, for many men, same-sex attractions work. Imagine a young man on an old photo to whose image you feel attracted. You see him and immediately he strikes a chord in you. He looks gentle, and yet he is male. He’s great. How does he do it? You can’t keep your eyes off him, and you find yourself dreaming of his looks, his tenderness while a secret longing sets in. Wouldn’t it be great to be intimate with him, and to close your eyes in a hug?

  1. Fascination

He fascinates you and you cannot figure out why. You believe it has to do with him, because he is provokong the feelings. Yet many other men do not have the same reaction, so it must be you. It is your doing, not his. He is not charming, you are being charmed. Why is that? What feelings are in play, and why are they so strong?

The point is, he appears to feel affirmed from something bubbling up from deep inside himself, but you do not, at least not in the spontaneous way he can just be adorable and lovable. He just needs to stand there, look around, or even just sit in a chair and read a book; whatever he does, he is great. You could look for hours.

Why is he different? Well, the question is, why are you different. After all, feeling great about yourself is totally normal for almost every man, so what is going on?

2. Squaw Camp

Most men who experience same-sex attractions have had the misfortune of having dwelt too long in Squaw Camp, where conditional love was the rule. For reasons we have explained in other parts, that is where you grew up (as do all boys in the beginning), but the other boys got to identify strongly with their same-sex parent (father) by the time they were four years old, and learned slowly but surely the joy of being a real boy, on his way to become a real man. The affirmation strengthened a deep sense of being gendered as male. This resonated with the gender instinct, which is present in everyone.

But not every boy manages to make that male identification within the short lifespan between his first and fourth year of age. Some miss out, and find themselves remaining behind in Squaw Camp, the world of the females, the primary identification model (but you can always catch up later).

In that dwelling place, life exists out of playing with girls, doing solitary and clever activities, often quite smart and intellectual, if not to say outstanding. But always solitary, the loner, who is happy with this life, and knows no other way. And yet there is something going on under the hood.

It is the call of the genes, the call of the male identification instinct, and although everyone seems to understand that on the surface you are apparently happy with not being such an out and proud, cocky boy, deep down inside there is a nagging feeling.

3. Gazing

At age 10 to 12, it gets stronger. And you may feel yourself gazing at boys who have it all. A deep sense of longing is going on inside, the need for maleness, the need to feel good about yourself as a male. And so you gaze, you absorb the images of male realness and it feels good. You are satisfying your genetic urge, and because it is caused by a genetic instinct we can safely say it is innate and not a result of an imaginary pressure from society (whatever that vague word may mean. After all, the word ‘society’ is no more than a huge projection screen meaning different things to different people. It does not exist as such, and means whatever you want it to mean).

The longing is yours and fulfils an authentic craving; it is part of being male. And maleness feels good. As a male, you are amazing because maleness is always amazing. And yet there is a nagging sense of something wrong. What is it? We can conclude that with men who experience same-sex attractions there is ambivalence.

At a very early age, boys who could not or did not identify sufficiently with the same-sex parent, did all they could to gain that attention, to satisfy their need for acknowledgement, recognition, affirmation and belonging. When this need is not met, small children can even have tantrums and rage fits to gain attention. After a while, frustration adds to the rage.

The last thing a parent should do, is to regard this behavior as bad, naughty and undesirable.

4. Defiance

The drama is repeated often, and when the child despairs, knowing that the case is hopeless, he will psychologically turn away and retreat from this ill-fated well of unmet needs and futile rage. He will mentally leave the scene, as if he is saying to his same-sex parent “I never needed you in the first place”.

He will turn his back, show defiance and will retreat into a safer world, the realm of private thoughts, private games and private space. He will never belong, so he feels, to the world that the same-sex parent represents, and this repulsion will last a lifetime unless he learns to recognize it as an adult.

Defiance as much as humanly possible

If you look at a Gay Pride Parade, you will see the age-old defiance displayed over and over again. The men show feelings stemming from the bottom of their hearts, and the more they can defy and annoy without being punished as a naughty child, the more fun the Parade will be. The feelings are an echo from ancient past; they do not come from out of the blue, and certainly not on that scale with such ferocity. These men are showing the biggest “NO” that they can come up with. And it feels as good as it always has since childhood.

But is that the whole story?

When night comes and the daily chant of “no” fades away, the genes howl yet once to look, to prowl around for maleness. Come on, gimme! Give me my ration of maleness. And the chase is on. What will it be tonight? The bar? Good old porn? Chat session? Or just going out and gazing? Or have you given up to the extent of sheer passivity as the years slowly catch up on you? (In this example, I take it you live alone).

Besides sex, there is also a longing for love, or rather to be held and affirmed and to be recognized as a lovable person. In a strange way, you need to feel that you are lovable as a man, and it needs to come from another male. You need to feel okay as a man, and it has become a drive or compulsion. It is always on your mind.

Strange thing is, though, nobody knows. It is a very private yearning. How did it get this far, seeing that few other men experience all this in this way?

5. The darker side of youth

The answer is simple, once you learn to acknowledge that in your youth there were darker sides to your upbringing. Were you really so happy? And dare you shatter the glass windows of the make-believe house of happiness in which you grew up? After all, it was Squaw Camp, hanging around with the girls to the best of your ability. You were loved, and yet there is this insatiable yearning. What is this, seeing that many others seem not to experience this?

The answer is, that you received love, but it was conditional love. You were not loved for who you were, but for how well you performed. There was materialistic plentiness, sure, but the emotional and spiritual side of your being was starved. For some, it has withered away to the extent that they feel they have no identity at all. I am no one, I am who you want me to be. Tell me how to act, tell me how to behave, what can I do to please you (the people-pleaser)? In most incidences, codependency set in.

Due to conditional love, the child is not loved or affirmed for who he is. He learns to please others, to become the good little boy, the nice guy, in order to gain that love. He must earn it, and learns to work vigorously to find some crumbs of love.

6. The onset of rage

Under the surface, this generates an immense rage. And so a double-bind emerges: being caring and considerate on the glossy outside but angry under the hood. This rage can be immense, creating difficulties in handling it.

Seeing that he cannot express the rage, and even if he does then no-one understands the predicament anyway, the child finds a new route for expressing it: he learns to take it all out on himself: the rage is deflected to the own person (self-hitting, accident proneness, screaming at oneself, or just getting depressed and wallowing in self-pity). Above all, the child teaches himself to ruin his own day. In self-deprivation, a lot of anger can be burnt, like the fuel of a rocketship. It is not masochism as some sort of perversion, it is despair and grief over unmet needs, over not being seen, over never having been deeply loved and held.

7. Just not good enough

And then the child makes the biggest mistake of them all, he figures out that he is not getting that love and affirmation because he is not good enough. After all, young children live for quite a period of time in a sort of magical world in which they feel they are the motor of all events around. Even many adults have that, but it is a phase that every child goes through.

The child says to himself: “Do you know why I am not really loved, and why I have to work so hard (to get love and a hug)? I am not good enough, it is me!” All positive things find their origin in the child, so he thinks, and so do all negative things. “IT’S ME”.

8. Body shame

Now what part of me could be the blame? The most concrete thing to accuse is what is closest and most available: the own body. And so a sense of body shame sets in that will last a lifetime. It is present in many men with SSA’s, and it has its roots in early life. It originated as a way to explain for the lack of unconditional love (infants are self-centered) and to spare the parents at the same time.

The body is the nearest thing for a child. He can’t afford to lose his parents and, in doing so, learns to play the charade of the happy family, to keep up appearances. A sort of ‘false self’ sets in.

9. Estrangement

This predicament has an even bigger side effect, namely that the child does not live in his (bad) body but feels an estrangement to it. The body becomes ‘other’, a bad part of me. If this grows out of hand we see transgenderism occurring, a total defiance of the own body. (There is nothing normal about transgenderism, despite all activism to the contrary!)

The sensitive and hesitant child avoids rough and tumble games, thereby not learning to ‘own’ his body. These games play a role in feeling comfortable with one’s physicality, to the extent that you even have a body without noticing. ‘It is just me’. But a child who grows into body shame gets a strange sense of awareness of the body, and the less proficiant he becomes in physical contact games, the more self-conscious and awkward he feels about his body. He may get angry at his body and may create a sense of aggression towards it.

The sense of not being good enough expands toward the hair, face, muscles, height, weight, and male pride.The child feels that he is not lovable as he is, love must be earned, conquered or even manipulated. You must DO something to be lovable, it is not something you just ARE. He has never had that experience of being carefree about the self, or at least not often enough for him to be confident at all times.

10. Jealousy

And then he starts gazing at boys who have it all. He knows all about “having it all”, because sense of gender is a genetic innate property that stems from inside and not from society. The latter can make small adjustments to the extent that someone from New York sounds slightly different than someone from Alabama, but the basic form is English verbal communication. And so it is with gender. It is not a social construct, but an innate instinct, a genetic drive and a basic emotional need.

When gazing, the eye catches specifically those items and things that are on the own mind. Like a bee hovering toward a specific flower in spite of all the green blades and branches in the garden, so it is that the eye scans according to the scanning rules of an internal computer program, as it were. And the eye is scanning for those items to make oneself whole, to fill in all the blank gaps, to aleviate self-doubts, to create the Perfect Boy, the Perfect Me, to fill the internal basket with everything to create the most lovable Me as possible, the way I should have been.

And perhaps can still become.

11. Internal dialogue

When gazing, an internal dialogue sets in that may sound like: shall we be friends? Equals? Will you regard me as equal to you? Can we be pals, could you be my long lost brother? Will you soothe my loneliness? I think you are great, would you see me as great too? Can we be great together?

All these thoughts reflect a dependency on the benevolance of the other person. They are not based on a self-assured onlook on life, but reflect the longings of a man who grew up in conditional love and seeks to be freed from it.

Above all, he needs another man to point out, to prove that it is not ME after all that is lousy and deficient, but that I am okay, that my body is okay, that my looks are okay, and that my need for male affirmation, not as a (manipulative) nice guy, but as just a regular man, is okay. “I need to feel welcome in the world”, so is the feeling. “Gimme, gimme, gimme. Please love me as I love you. Even if the encounter is short-lived.”

Jimmy Somerville (Bronski Beat)

Please love me back”, or as gay singer Jimmy Somerville sings: “Don’t leave me this way”, a Number One Hit in the gay scene in the nineties. Everyone could relate to it when it was released.

The need to be freed from the restraints of conditional love is huge. It becomes the major driving force in adult life, but can only ultimately be satisisfied when the mechanisms have become clarified, and when one lets truth finally sink in.

12. Lovable

Understanding same-sex attractions amounts to this insight: the less lovable you feel yourself to be, the more you will be fascinated by men who appear to have it all.

You crave for that feeling of being lovable as you are, and you have come to suppose that lovability is a characteristic of your person. Others appear to have that lovability, your eyes scan for those characteristics and subsequently in sex or in your imagination, your body is trying to get those characteristics for free.

Imagine an unhappy boy of four years old gazing at a happy boy at the nursery who is smiling and amusing himself with a toy car. Enviously, the unhappy boy snatches the car away to play with it as his own, assuming he will then be equally happy. But he will find out his wish for happiness is not coming true. The other boy remains equally happy, he has just lost his car but not his innate happiness. The first boy has got the prized possession: the car, but not the craved-for possession: happiness.

And so it is with lovability. You can do all the gazing you like, view all the video porn you like and seduce all available and lovable men to have a look at you and perhaps give you a hug, but the craving for lovability will be back next day. Because the toy car and the videoporn hunk are merely objects in the distance. You are not lacking a toy car or what they appropriately call a toyboy in a porn video, you are lacking affirmation from inside.

13. Gaps

In a child, the offering of mere conditional love in infancy has serious consequences.

The child craves for unconditional love, but is confused by the strings attached to the love he receives. He takes this personally, and so he blames himself. He feels that he himself is the cause of not receiving the love he really needs, and he almost allies with his parents who appear to love him, and who need him to fulfill their narcissistic need to look like, to feel like wonderful parents. Boys who, on the other hand, have received unconditional love, appear to have it all. And so, gaps come into being between the self and peers.

The following gaps can be identified:

the lovability gap, the unconditionally loved boy (boy 1) appears to be so lovable,

the confidence gap, boy1 has become confident during his upbringing and has learned to feel good about himself as a loved person

the beauty gap, boy 1 appears not to be so worried about his looks or to feel guilty about them, he just ‘lives’ in his body

the self-awareness gap, boy 1 is not unusually aware of his own body, nor does it worry him, he has not ever considered that there is something wrong with him or his body

the spontaneity gap, boy 1 just does what he feels like, whereas the conditionally-loved boy is always figuring out what is the right thing to do under the circumstances, since he is not living in his authentic self

the fearlessness gap, boy 1 dares to take things to the extreme and knows that negative things can be fun, since his parents gave him the room to learn by falling and standing up again by your own will; there was no need to be the good-little-boy

the cheekiness gap, boy 1 dares to venture out and to follow his own mind and to stress his opinions in spite of others having different views or expectations, whereas the boy who has grown up with conditional love is always figuring everything out to discover what is expected of him and to confirm.

14. Conclusion

With all these gaps, no wonder the conditionally-loved boy gazes in amazement at peers who appear to have it all, and when sex hormones set in, he will be totally mesmerized, saying softly in himself to the other boy: “love me tender, love me sweet”.

He is softly calling out for freedom, for recognition, and for unconditional acceptance, not for sex but for a sense of finally belonging:

“Please, give me some. You have got so much, I possess so little. Please? Just between you and me?”

This model of same-sex attractions means that you were not born that way, but that there are gaps and they need to be overcome. This is then your task as an adult.

To be continued.

Job Berendsen, MD.