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June 9, 2012 2:09 PM   Subscribe

But the reason I do this is because I love you, whoever you are, and I want to share my situation so that you can know further truth: I am gay. I am Mormon. I am married to a woman. I am happy every single day. My life is filled with joy. I have a wonderful sex life. And I’ve been married for ten years, and plan to be married for decades more to come to the woman of my dreams.
posted by fancyoats (308 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite

 
I've been wondering if this would show up here. I didn't want to post it myself, since I am neither Mormon nor attempting to repress the gay, but I was following the discussion with fascinated horror.

This song was suggested as apposite.
posted by Countess Elena at 2:15 PM on June 9, 2012 [3 favorites]


Completely honest question that (partly) led me to reject the concept of a benevolent, omnipotent god:

Why would a loving God create Josh (or any other gay person), give them non-harmful desires, and then command them not to act on those desires? It's the cruelest thing I can imagine. I do think that Josh is brave but I just don't think I was made to be able to resolve that sort of cognitive dissonance the way he has. I guess I just didn't have enough faith.
posted by muddgirl at 2:16 PM on June 9, 2012 [26 favorites]


Sounds like he's bi, not gay.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 2:23 PM on June 9, 2012 [4 favorites]


Chocolate Pickle: "Sounds like he's bi, not gay."

Sounds like you didn't read it.
posted by Bonzai at 2:24 PM on June 9, 2012 [52 favorites]


Chocolate Pickle, I think what Bonzai is referring to is

"Some might assume that because I’m married to a woman, I must be bisexual. This would be true if sexual orientation was defined by sexual experience. Heck, if sexual orientation were defined by sexual experience, I would be as straight as the day is long even though I’ve never been turned on by a Victoria’s Secret commercial in my entire life. Sexual orientation is defined by attraction, not by experience. In my case, I am attracted sexually to men. Period."

Pardon his snark.
posted by calm down at 2:27 PM on June 9, 2012 [5 favorites]


When I posted just now, I was thinking of the comments on the repost on Gawker, which was what I had read. I hadn't read the comments on his blog, which are coming from the Mormon perspective, but -- damn.

I'm a young mom, Close to you alls age, Mormon, in Utah, and livin' the normal person dream with a girl and two little boys. In the back of my mind I worry about a child being gay (or autistic or being kidnapped... you know mother fears). How would I react, what do you say, is their life "ruined". I'm an open-minded person but the whole issue would be a lot harder with my own babies! I feel like this was a wonderful article; true, honest, real, and up lifting - it's so nice to see that you, the unicorn, does exist, and if any of my babies are gay then maybe they can be unicorns too. Does that make sense? What I'm saying is this took a little of the fear about of being a mom. Thanks for that. Your story is beautiful and I'm excited to share it with a few people.


Thanks, Josh Weed. Thanks for this. You've just made life a little bit harder for any gay kid who doesn't want to grow up just like you.
posted by Countess Elena at 2:27 PM on June 9, 2012 [114 favorites]


I. . . wow. Club Unicorn, indeed.

I gotta say, from reading this, I think Josh might actually be sincere. Unusual to the extreme, but sincere. It is definitely possible for love and even desire to grow in the absence of lust, and with more than six billion people on the planet, I guess I believe that it's possible that these two people found each other and have a genuinely happy and joyful life. I absolutely support people's right to self-identity and self-determination, and the writer of that post sounds like he's done a lot of thinking and talking and processing, so more power to him.

Why would a loving God create Josh (or any other gay person), give them non-harmful desires, and then command them not to act on those desires?

In my opinion as a person of faith, no loving God would do this. I think that people who believe otherwise are, at best, misguided. It's not like there's too much love in the world and we need to cast some of it out. Loving one another is central to the entire Christian faith, according to the dude himself. I'm glad Josh found a way to reconcile his church's teachings on the constraints of what defines a family with his own desires, but I hope that other gay people don't feel like they have to do the same.
posted by KathrynT at 2:29 PM on June 9, 2012 [17 favorites]


Completely honest question that (partly) led me to reject the concept of a benevolent, omnipotent god: Why would a loving God create Josh (or any other gay person), give them non-harmful desires, and then command them not to act on those desires? It's the cruelest thing I can imagine.

Unless the benevolent, omnipotent God doesn't really have an opinion about who we have sex with, so long as we behave in a humane, loving way towards each other.

I'm an atheist too, but that question never gave me much trouble; it was more the continued, unchecked existence of evil and ignorance that threw me off the God train.

As for Josh and his wife and family, as long as it really works for them I won't question it.
posted by Strange Interlude at 2:38 PM on June 9, 2012 [3 favorites]


we spent hours and hours over the course of years hammering out what this issue meant in general and what it meant for him. Why was he gay? What did God expect him to do?

KISS MEN

KISS MEN IS THE ANSWER TO THIS YOU SILLY MANIACS
posted by Greg Nog at 2:40 PM on June 9, 2012 [196 favorites]


I'm wondering how much of their intimacy is based on the fact that they have known each other and been good friends since they were 3 years old. Not to dismiss their happiness, which I think is genuine, but to point out that their experience can hardly be prescriptive as it is so specific.
posted by smartypantz at 2:40 PM on June 9, 2012 [6 favorites]


easily the most interesting article i've read this year, thanks.
posted by facetious at 2:41 PM on June 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


He sounds like a nice, understanding guy who is happy with his life. Good for him, out and proud, and married and Mormon. I don't want to silence him, or target him for any scorn or ridicule. But at the same time, reading the comments, it looks like he will be used to bludgeon gay kids with demands for conformity. Though to be fair, they seem to be fairly active in the comments telling people not to judge and that their lifestyle won't work for all people, so I appreciate that.
posted by Garm at 2:42 PM on June 9, 2012 [6 favorites]


It's the cruelest thing I can imagine.

They seem...happy. They've been open and honest with each other since before they started dating. Their semi-lustless sex life seems oddly satisfying to both of them. May God curse all of us with weird but happy marriages.

However, "don't judge my happy, consensual domestic arrangements" isn't something you get to say while dropping religious dogma on others. It's the hypocrisy that's the problem here.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 2:43 PM on June 9, 2012 [22 favorites]


Like Morrissey, it seems like he has forgiven Jesus. So, good for him, I guess.
posted by punkfloyd at 2:46 PM on June 9, 2012 [3 favorites]


I don't think this is really as strange as all that: I suspect generations of gay men have lived out orthodox straight Christian lives out of principle in the past. And it's hardly a new discovery that Christianity asks you to overcome and control your sexual desires. In Christianity, the real point of this earthly life is not happiness, still less sexual satisfaction.

Loving one another is central to the entire Christian faith

Yeah, but very much not fucking one another. Notice the distinction.
posted by Segundus at 2:51 PM on June 9, 2012 [6 favorites]


Yes, you have to wonder what he's telling his clients. Yikes. How many gay people would be able to--or want to--live this way? And why make them do it?

I hope he's being honest with himself and that he does have a happy life, but I wonder.
posted by WorkingMyWayHome at 2:52 PM on June 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Just dropped 5 bones to sign up here just to post on this link. (Long...looooong time lurker.)

I'm neither gay nor Mormon, but this is both strange and fascinating to me. I looked all over on his site and I didn't find a single reference to him having ever actually had sex with a man. Maybe I missed it. It just seems odd, that's all. I guess I wish him the best, and it seems they're all doing just fine and dandy, but if he's really, honestly gay, then I think some follow-up down the road might be in order. I guess my thought is that if you can suppress teh gay for 10 years, then maybe you aren't really gay. I know I couldn't suppress my heterosexuality for 10 years.
posted by 3200 at 2:52 PM on June 9, 2012 [6 favorites]


Garm: "But at the same time, reading the comments, it looks like he will be used to bludgeon gay kids with demands for conformity. "

I think you might be right. On the other hand you can't really hold him responsible for that. All anyone can do is be honest and I think that's what he's done here.
posted by Bonzai at 2:53 PM on June 9, 2012 [5 favorites]


It's been a long time since I've read something that affected me so strongly in so many confusing ways. He does seem happy, and she seems happy, and I want to believe that they really are, yet even if they do truly believe in their own happiness I am just so deeply sad for both of them. Life shouldn't have to be like that.
posted by something something at 2:53 PM on June 9, 2012 [4 favorites]


there's way too much text for me to wade through on this post but i do kind of wonder about this. i'm personally not gay and even though i do love my male friends i never ever have the urge to have any kind of sexual relationship with them--but more then that--i can't have any sexual relations with them--i'm just not turned on.

so why is he different then me?
posted by lester's sock puppet at 2:56 PM on June 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


On the other hand you can't really hold him responsible for that. All anyone can do is be honest and I think that's what he's done here.

I had the impression he was setting himself up as something of a role model, though. And I'd be willing to bet he's using his own life story in therapy sessions as a model of how gay people should live.
posted by WorkingMyWayHome at 2:58 PM on June 9, 2012 [5 favorites]


there's way too much text for me to wade through on this post but i do kind of wonder about this.

If you wonder about it, you might consider reading the full post?
posted by Greg Nog at 2:58 PM on June 9, 2012 [17 favorites]


Well, you know, he sounds sort of happy, so good for him, and TBH I'm sure his relationship is not too disimilar from people who have been married for a while and are still together but are just not into each other that way anymore, and I wouldn't call their marriages invalid... but... boy Mormons are weird. Sorry, there it is. Religious people: You are weird.
posted by Artw at 2:59 PM on June 9, 2012 [5 favorites]


What makes me sad about this is the extent to which Josh—who absolutely does have the right to live his life on whatever terms he decides—can now become a rhetorical tool for others, who will point to him and ask their gay sons and daughters "Why can't you be more like him?"

He pays this issue some lip service:
If you know and love somebody who is gay and LDS (or Christian), your job is to love and nothing more. Let go of your impulse to correct them or control them or propel them down the path you think is right for them. Do what you need to do to move past that impulse. Do not condemn the choices your loved one makes.
But how can he possibly expect this advice to be taken? In fact, in all seriousness, where does he get off giving it in the first place? His religion has unambiguous doctrine on this matter. Its leaders—the leaders of the religion he considers so central and crucial to his life's path—are empowered to castigate those who break the rules. Otherwise, frankly, what is the point?

I really appreciate how relentlessly positive he's obviously making an effort to be about this whole discourse, but it's borderline nonsensical.

Later, he says:
Being gay does not mean you are a sinner or that you are evil. Sin is in action, not in temptation or attraction.
What he implies but does not come right out and say is that it's okay to be gay, it's just not okay to have gay sex.

Then:
God is not judging you. He loves you. Turn to him. He has a plan specifically for you. He wants you to be happy
We can conclude by this that god's plan for many gay members of the Church of Latter-Day Saints does not include sex with people to whom they are sexually attracted, which—save the fortunate Josh Weeds of the world—will presumably be most of them.

A few sentences later:
He couldn’t love you any more, and he is proud of you for your courage.
I just included that for the breathtaking condescension. It's so great god is proud of them for living with an "affliction" that he (presumably) saddled them with! Thanks, god. You're a real fucking mensch.

It's weird to me that despite the length of this piece and its relentless quasi-frankness and positivity, he never addresses the elephant in the room, which is: Does Josh Weed consider his solution a tenable one for everyone else in his position, e.g. gay people in religions that forbid homosexual relationships?

If he does, he's being willfully blind to the ways in which his solution does not scale, and if he doesn't, well, what does he expect them to do?
posted by Sokka shot first at 2:59 PM on June 9, 2012 [73 favorites]


Well, at least he's not as full of crap as the ex-gay crowd. Or "anti-gay" Republican crusaders who are at it every chance they get.
posted by Artw at 3:02 PM on June 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


I can't believe I didn't think to post this article...it's gone throughout my Mormon friend circles, my ex-Mormon friend circles, and everywhere in between.

You know, at some level, I can find Josh's story plausible. I mean, in the asexual community, there is a term "demisexual" that sometimes comes up...and I mean, other people speak of "falling in love with people, not genders." Even though it's in vogue to say that people like this MUST be bisexual or whatever, I am not opposed to a person-based love (notwithstanding or superseding gender-based attractions).

My only issue here is with the possibility that Josh's testimony/perspective will be used by others to argue that *every* gay person should do this. (Even though I think Josh states that others' mileages may vary...really, it's about what people will walk away with this as.)

There was another such story posted in LDS Living (which isn't an official church magazine, but it is an affiliate of the church's Deseret Book) about Ty Mansfield who is similarly in a mixed orientation marriage. I know that people have been a lot more willing to cry "bisexuality" for Ty, but the trend I'm really worrying about is one where the church officially advocates that gay men marry women, or lesbian women marry men.

Currently, the church doesn't advocate this. But I don't know...it seems that as stories like Josh's and Ty's become more popular, that people may get ideas...
posted by subversiveasset at 3:03 PM on June 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


This guy is so far out of my realm of experience I don't even know how to react. I mean, I can sort of see how you could be happy marrying someone that doesn't turn you on at all - like Artw says, a lot of couples end up there, even if they didn't start there - but I am a little skeptical of how awesome his sex life really is, and the whole thing just sounds like it wouldn't hold together at all without that massive overriding taboo underlying it.

I dunno, I don't particularly want kids and I don't care in the least about having my own genetic offspring anyway - maybe that really is enough to offset everything else. It's certainly cheaper and simpler than going through some sort of donor/surrogate situation, on a bunch of levels.

But I really have to wonder what lessons his kids are learning about all of this. Breeding is the #1 priority? You can suck anything up, relationship-wise, for the sake of kids and cultural approval? I don't really agree with either of those. It's not even really about the gay thing - it's about where you take your life direction from, and I just can't get behind this, even if it does work for him personally.
posted by restless_nomad at 3:09 PM on June 9, 2012 [16 favorites]


Currently, the church doesn't advocate this.

I don't know... Don't all conservative religions kind of encourage this but with the understanding it's kept on the down low? After all, the ex-gayt movement is basically this minus the honesty.
posted by Artw at 3:09 PM on June 9, 2012


His religion has unambiguous doctrine on this matter. Its leaders—the leaders of the religion he considers so central and crucial to his life's path—are empowered to castigate those who break the rules. Otherwise, frankly, what is the point?

The point, in the context of religion, of the rules is not that the church will punish you if you break them, but that they're the rules God told people to follow and God may or may not punish you depending on how forgiving/hellfirey it turns out God is. It's often quite clearly stated that these rules aren't things that people can or should really enforce. Which of course doesn't stop people from doing so anyway.

The way I see this is that it's pretty similar to the question "could you be happy married to someone you don't find sexually attractive?" That it's because they're not the right sex instead of not the right shape/race/lumpiness/etc doesn't seem terribly important. And some people will answer that question yes and others will answer it no. That's fine.
posted by aubilenon at 3:10 PM on June 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Segundus,

To provide a bit of response, there is a distinction between non-LDS Christianity and LDS perspectives on a lot of issues relating to this. So, whereas you say, for non-LDS Christianity, "the real point of this earthly life isn't happiness," in Mormonism, "Adam fell that man might be, and man is that he might have joy."

The fall is not seen as a bad thing, but as a necessity because of God's commandment to multiply. Families (well, with mom, dad, and preferably plenty of kids) consequently are a BIG deal.

Whereas in other traditions, celibacy is sometimes even institutionally valued, in Mormonism, that's not really the case. Yes, Mormons place a big emphasis on chastity, but the end goal of chastity isn't lifelong celibacy -- it's sex in the context of a marriage. So at General Conference, young single men are told not to put off marriage; young single women are in several instances "comforted" for the state of not being married (yet).

So, in some ways, Josh's story is a natural (Mormon) conclusion here.
posted by subversiveasset at 3:10 PM on June 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Breeding is the #1 priority?

As I understand it, and probably someone more sympathetic towards mormons could correct me if I;m wrong, Mormon folk-theology is that all possible kids are alive in the "pre-xistance", and if you don't get someone preganant so they can come into the world you are basically killing them or dooming them to something worse.

Plus, and they probably hate being reminded of this, they started as a polygamous cult, and cults are always about the head of the cult getting to fuck people as possible even when they're not explicitly polygamous, so they're always going to have a big breeding empathsis.
posted by Artw at 3:15 PM on June 9, 2012 [5 favorites]


Have a hard time understanding the claim to have a "fantastic sex life" without having the physical desire. Sex done right is mindless but it is guided by an innate desire to reproduce. It isn't just friction. What does it mean to say you are gay if you don't have or intend to have homosexual sex? I understand there are no rules or correct definitions, humans come in all flavors but words have to have meanings we agree on. Saying you are gay doesn't make you gay. Fantastic sex does not happen without desire, I would say if he is gay and has never had gay sex then he doesn't understand the meaning of fantastic. As sincere as this couple are I don't feel the truth is being told. Good luck to them, but as I understand life the guy is bisexual or lying.
posted by pdxpogo at 3:16 PM on June 9, 2012 [11 favorites]


Sex done right isn't mindless.
posted by kenko at 3:18 PM on June 9, 2012 [3 favorites]


Artw

I'm trying to look up any past teachings from leaders to see if they ever did officially encourage this (since I have read the blogs of plenty of gay Mormons in mixed-orientation marriages -- most of which are not as filled with happiness and joy and sunshine as Josh reports his as being), and I seem to recall (but am not sure) that there is some pretty explicit stuff in the past.

However, ever since the 90s or late 80s church leaders have had pretty explicit statements against it, like: "“Marriage should not be viewed as a therapeutic step to solve problems such as homosexual inclinations or practices, which first should clearly be overcome with a firm and fixed determination never to slip to such practices again."

(Of course, maybe that's just saying that the gay men should overcome it first, and THEN get married? But that's pretty cynical, so I won't go there.)
posted by subversiveasset at 3:18 PM on June 9, 2012


3200: "I guess my thought is that if you can suppress teh gay for 10 years, then maybe you aren't really gay. I know I couldn't suppress my heterosexuality for 10 years."

Depending on what you mean by suppressing, there are any number of people, heterosexual and otherwise, who've been involuntarily celibate for that long and longer.
posted by Copronymus at 3:19 PM on June 9, 2012 [4 favorites]


Nothing offensive in this. Celibacy has always been a choice that people made out of religious faith -- and this seems less radical than that -- seeing as he gets to have many of the consolations of family and what he describes as a satisfactory sex life.

But I agree with Sokka about scalability. Not many gay men will have the combination of religious zeal, high self-control, and intimate compatability with women on many fronts, that this takes. Not many women would marry a man she knows doesn't desire her and never will. "Unicorn" really is the best word for it.
posted by MattD at 3:22 PM on June 9, 2012 [5 favorites]


You know, as a gay man and sometime gay rights activist I'm 100% with this guy's position. I mean, I don't personally understand someone choosing their religion over expressing their sexual orientation. But I think it's fine if someone wants to make that choice for himself. He seems very self aware and honest. I hope he has a happy life with his family; what he's doing is difficult.

Human sexuality is way more plastic than people give it credit for. My one regret about the success of gay rights in the 2010s is that it's become reductive, everyone has to be in Bin A or Bin B. I'm glad that my bin is now considered OK by a lot of people, but I think we'd all be a lot happier if we acknowledged there's a lot more variation than just two sexual orientations. OTOH I think a lot of younger people, under 30, are much less worked up about specific labels and roles. And then there's baffling trends like Americans believing 25% of the country is gay; I don't even know what to say to that.
posted by Nelson at 3:25 PM on June 9, 2012 [26 favorites]


I read this last night and I also don't know what to think. I can understand his desire (?) to be in the marriage, to stay in the faith and have his own biological children. It's her motivation that I find so much more confusing.

He said something to the effect of 'you always have to give up something' when you make a choice, but really, she could have married someone she loved (mentally and physically etc), who loved her, and had a family AND kept him as a close friend. She actually didn't have to give anything up...and then ended up giving up being desired sexually. Publically. (Should I also type pubically for a cheap joke?)

I'm sure they are close, love each other and their created family but it is just so....confusing. For me.
posted by bquarters at 3:25 PM on June 9, 2012 [4 favorites]


interesting. a gay breeder. he's like a double agent.
posted by eustatic at 3:26 PM on June 9, 2012 [10 favorites]


Wow. Wooooow. Wow. Man. So. Uh. Wow!

I am so down with people of all sexualities and gender expressions and religious beliefs finding new/alternative/unorthodox ways to do sexual relationships and romantic relationships, and an openly mixed-orientation marriage is certainly a, uh, new twist on an old theme? Wow. I am really...conflicted about this article!

On the one hand, obviously, hey, here's a person who has figured out a way to do sex, marriage, commitment and religion in a way that works for him and his family, and I don't think it's a priori a bad thing for anyone to say, "Well, I weighed my serious, deeply-held religious beliefs against my innate sexual orientation, and ultimately my serious, deeply-held religious beliefs won out, and so I am going to organize my life around my religious beliefs." In fact, it's a good thing! Yay! Your life is organized in the way you want it! And I don't really blame anyone who looked at the long arc of the struggle to reconcile traditional religion with non-hetero sexual orientations and decided that fight was not for them. That fight isn't for everyone.

(Plus, you gotta think this variation is a definite improvement on the classic incarnation, the "repression/extra-marital hook-ups/lying to myself and everyone I know including my spouse, eventually ending in misery, suicide or a fiery car crash of a divorce" version.)

But. The thing is. Almost everything about the way Josh and Lolly have organized their lives- Josh's early awareness and openness about his sexuality, the tools they use to have a happy and fulfilling sex life, the words they have to describe Josh's sexuality and their marriage, the mostly-kind reception they are getting here and I hope other places- that is ALL the direct result of years and years of activist work from gay and other non-straight people who did not have a warm reception from their church, their parents, their spouses, or basically anyone in Western civilization. Other people made the choice or didn't have the choice to be in their religious communities and be gay or non-straight. And those people openly pushed and prodded and basically forced the world into compliance, and they talked about how it was OKAY to be gay, it was OKAY to have sexual feelings and desires and it was OKAY to organize your life and sexual interactions in a way that felt honest and authentic to your and your partners.

And look, I totally think EVERYONE should be reaping the benefits of that work. Young people, old people, straight people, gay people, non-binary identified people, able-bodied people, disabled people, bikers, painters, accountants, lawyers, doctors, Republicans! Everybody!

But I don't think you should be using that awesome, creative space that people have in actual point of fact suffered and died for to create for you to present your way of doing sexuality as a model for others without acknowledging that, one, other models, like having a same-sex or non-hetero romantic or sexual relationship and being religious, can work, and, two, that the people who built the model for you, the people who were actively non-straight, were okay. That they weren't sinners. That they were as authentic as you. And if you DON'T believe that...man. I don't know. Like I said. I AM CONFLICTED!
posted by Snarl Furillo at 3:27 PM on June 9, 2012 [71 favorites]


Man, this guy and his religious dogma, amirite? Particularly annoying is this bit:

"I want to make it very clear that while I have found a path that brings me profound joy and that is the right path for me, I don’t endorse this as the only path for somebody who is gay and religious. I will never, ever judge somebody else’s path as being “incorrect” and I know many people who have chosen different paths than myself."

Just where does he get off telling other people what they should and should do with their lives like that?
posted by motty at 3:30 PM on June 9, 2012 [8 favorites]


Er, *should and shouldn't. Doh.
posted by motty at 3:31 PM on June 9, 2012


Why would a loving God create Josh (or any other gay person), give them non-harmful desires, and then command them not to act on those desires? It's the cruelest thing I can imagine.
You could say the same thing about heterosexuality. As a man, I have a natural desire to sleep with as many women as possible, and yet acting on this instinct is frowned upon, by God and non-douchebags everywhere. Each of us is born imperfect in many ways, but the collective struggle of people throughout the ages to transcend the woes of the human condition is kind of beautiful.
posted by GIFtheory at 3:34 PM on June 9, 2012 [9 favorites]


I am willing to believe that they are happy.

I am saddened that his religion made him feel compelled to take this path, rather than enabling him to weigh all options equally and make a real choice.

And this:

"Being gay does not mean you are a sinner or that you are evil. Sin is in action, not in temptation or attraction."

Pissed me the hell off.
posted by kyrademon at 3:34 PM on June 9, 2012 [13 favorites]


Yeah. You're not a sinner if you're gay! You're only a sinner if you act like you're gay!
posted by Justinian at 3:36 PM on June 9, 2012 [15 favorites]


My concern is someone may imitate him, get married and THEN decide they can't limit their sexuality to their straight spouse. One at the very least needs to have frank discussion before marriage so the spouse can decide if this is something they are willing to risk.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 3:38 PM on June 9, 2012 [7 favorites]


Other non-serious thoughts:

1. I also kind of wonder now that I am looking back at his article if his wife is straight. I'm kind of willing to bet not, or maybe not in a traditionally-understood way, WHICH IS FINE, and I don't really want to speculate on that too much because they didn't bring it up.

2. Reading the rest of this guy's really quite lovely blog, I do not see how anyone ever thought he wasn't gay.
posted by Snarl Furillo at 3:38 PM on June 9, 2012 [4 favorites]


If I, as a gay man, ever chose to marry a woman, I'd choose a woman named Lolly.
posted by xingcat at 3:41 PM on June 9, 2012 [27 favorites]


This "unicorn" thing is going to be the new tebowing isn't it?

There are going to be a lot of parents pointing at this guy and making their children absolutely miserable.

This isn't good, it won't help anyone, this is just one family figuring out life. We are in a time of suicidal kids, bullying and righteous indoctrination. As heartfelt and honest as it may well be it is still just cannon fodder for the hateful.
posted by M Edward at 3:42 PM on June 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


I think there was a post here about Erica Moen a few days ago - for a long time she kept a web comic diary (DAR) where she talked about how she was a lesbian when she met and fell in love with her now-husband. It's kind of an interesting contrast to this story - and I do think openly gay people who happen to fall in love with someone of the opposite sex (OR straight people who fall in love with someone of the same sex) is more common than we know. But, Erika isn't a therapist catering to religious lesbians who feel conflicted about their relationship with God.

You could say the same thing about heterosexuality. As a man, I have a natural desire to sleep with as many women as possible, and yet acting on this instinct is frowned upon, by God.

Yeah, exactly. I think that if God exists, he's kind of a douche. Why NOT sleep with as many women as possible, as long as the women are in to it?
posted by muddgirl at 3:44 PM on June 9, 2012 [4 favorites]


I'm the product of a marriage between a gay man and a straight woman, although my dad didn't come out until I was sixteen. Once he did, it was impossible for him to live with a woman anymore.

I wish these people a lot of luck.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 3:44 PM on June 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Wouldn't it be easier just to marry a dude. I'm still not seeing any reason for him not to do that.
posted by lrobertjones at 3:46 PM on June 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


Human sexuality is way more plastic than people give it credit for. My one regret about the success of gay rights in the 2010s is that it's become reductive, everyone has to be in Bin A or Bin B. I'm glad that my bin is now considered OK by a lot of people, but I think we'd all be a lot happier if we acknowledged there's a lot more variation than just two sexual orientations.

This! A thousand times this! Humans are infinitely perverse, and all of us are, at some time in our lives, in the grip of some kind of desire that we have no control over. Straight and gay are not mutually exclusive binaries. As far back as Kinsey we have known there is a continuum between the two extremes that everyone falls on somewhere. Accept that and move on. I can't judge this guy, because what he and his wife are doing is between two consenting adults.
posted by vibrotronica at 3:47 PM on June 9, 2012 [6 favorites]


Elena, I was also sort of thinking about it (it showed up on twitter for me), found it profoundly troubling.

It's great (sort of) that he's found something that works for him. He's happy. Ok. Sharing genetic material with his kids is really important to him. Ok. But I think of my six year relationship with my boyfriend and the idea of one of us just being completely unattracted to the other... it seems very sad.

On the other hand, what he said is true - when you're gay, you're going to give something up. You're going to have to make a sacrifice regardless. I suppose that's more broadly true for most people, everyone has to give something up, but it feels like that tax is levied more dearly on us than on straight couples sometimes. And Josh himself has been able to avoid paying some of the price (certainly not all! but some) you pay as a gay couple. He can go to the grocery store or the movies or basically anywhere in public and not worry that his right to exist will be loudly and publicly called into question.

No matter how great their sex life is, his wife has given up knowing that her husband is actually attracted to her. That is no small thing.

And yes, I too am beyond worried for the gay kids he counsels. What does he tell them? What if one is considering going (or is being sent by parents) to one of those ex-gay torture camps? Ugh. It's great that he says we shouldn't judge each other, but at the end of the day he's a devout mormon and he toes the orthodox mormon line. He undoubtedly contributes 10% of his income to an organization that seeks to destroy the moral core of the boy scouts (although Penn and Teller have shown that they have not succeeded) and write its bigoted dogma into United States law, where it has met with some success.

I think the world would probably be a better place if this particular quandary had never been something he'd had to address. If he'd just grown up knowing he's gay, and never thinking of that as a problem, this sort of tragic happiness he's found wouldn't have been necessary.

He seems like a pretty great dad, so that's cool.

---

lester - gay men and women having sex with members of the opposite gender is not really that uncommon.

For me, I was in the Army while DADT was still in place. I had just finished training and been sent to my first duty post. We were training up for deployment and a woman in my unit set me up with her sister. I panicked.

Some conversations had shaken my confidence in my ability to pass for straight, which was really a shock to me more generally. Part of my identity had developed in college as an understanding of myself as someone who seemed more traditionally masculine. So to have a new social milieu almost instantly sort of giving me the sidelong look and having at least one person make a remark starting with "so I'm not asking, but..." I was kind of shaken.

And then this woman said I should go on a date with her sister and my thinking was basically "if I say no everyone will KNOW." So I went, and she was nice and we got along and I mean - well, I've always had a number of female friends, right? It was fun.

And then we ended up back at her place because that's what you do right? If you're straight and you go on a date with a woman and you get invited back you go, that's how it works, or at least that was my thinking at the time. I can't bring myself to write down and post what actually mechanically happened, but I guess it's at least possible for me to have and maintain an erection while experiencing some pretty unpleasant emotions. It's a memory I wish I didn't have.

Josh and his wife started from a position of her knowing that he's gay. I think that probably alleviated some of the shame and guilt I felt. They're also longtime friends. And, like Josh, I feel that my attraction to someone is kind of more based on my emotional relationship to him. I can almost imagine how it would go from being really good friends with a woman to some sort of sexual contact. Almost. More realistically, for me, the very few times I've tried the kind of hookup sort of sex that many people like, it hasn't worked very well for me. Sex is better, more intense, more satisfying, and more fulfilling the longer I've been with my boyfriend.

That's just how I'm wired, I guess.
As a man, I have a natural desire to sleep with as many women as possible, and yet acting on this instinct is frowned upon
I am a man.

I do not share your desire to sleep with a lot of partners, although many men do.

I don't think I'm much of a douchebag, although I suppose everyone has their moments.

As long as you were honest, safe, and ethical with your sleeping around, I absolutely wouldn't frown on it. Nor do I frown on it for those folks that do sleep with a lot of partners. Why would I?

If you were sleeping with women in search of stable relationships by lying to them and saying you also wanted such a thing, I would frown on that.

If you were in such a relationship and sleeping with a lot of women against your partner's wishes, I would frown on that as well.

But if you were just sleeping with women who wanted to have sex with you, then ok? Why would that be a problem?
posted by kavasa at 3:50 PM on June 9, 2012 [16 favorites]


It seems as though Josh Weed has lived quite the privileged life. He realized his sexual orientation at a young age and despite his mormon upbringing, had the courage to come out to his parents at the beginning stages of his realization, and then had the incredible luck of being completely supported and accepted by his mormon parents.

He went out on a date with a girl, whom he had known for most of his life, and came out to her as well. Lucky him! She was just as accepting as his parents - enough so to actively engage in developing their relationship enough to get to the point of marriage and child bearing. Not even a sham marriage, a seemingly fulfilling, actively functional and supportive religious marriage. I'm in no way religious, but I imagine this has to be incredibly rare in the LDS/superchristian community.

I don't disparage the relationships that exist within these contexts, I don't even disparage the utter utopia this guy seems to have grown up within, as a Really Fucking Mormon Guy, who is also gay, and whose parents seemingly immediately accepted this fact.

I personally dislike the manner and the tone in which Josh Weed has decided to present this article. In my personal opinion, from the facts given, the author has had quite an easy go of his homosexual life, especially having grown up in one of the more homosexual-intolerant religions. He has apparently had an inner circle of accepting and loving individuals to nurture his worldview.

I still applaud Mr. Weed for having the courage to come out to his readership, though I think his naivety could come back to bite him in the ass.

I worry for the kids whose parents are of the "skim and skew" variety - skim an article, skew data for personal gain...who will take this as definitive proof that there is a cure for the gays.

I don't really know how to feel at the moment.
posted by Gonestarfishing at 3:52 PM on June 9, 2012 [6 favorites]


I hope this guy is as happy as he claims, because we all deserve happiness, and don't deserve to be shoehorned into a relationship that fits us badly because of some ancient prejudice.

That being said, everybody I have ever met who has demonstrated a public urge to talk about how satisfying his sex life is has been a liar.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 3:52 PM on June 9, 2012 [45 favorites]


As a man, I have a natural desire to sleep with as many women as possible,

sez you. I am a man, I don't think "as many women as possible" is "natural."
posted by eustatic at 3:53 PM on June 9, 2012 [7 favorites]


So having died, you appear before God, and he says, "Noticed you having sex with members of your own gender down there."

And you say, "Yeah, well listen God, I'm glad to have a chance to talk to you about that. I thought really hard about how to be a good person while I was alive. I tried to treat people lovingly and generously. And I know it says in the Holy Books that gayness is bad, but they're all hearsay after all, and at least SOME of that stuff seems like it has to be wrong. Everybody down there thinks the stuff about shellfish is hilarious, incidentally. Anyway, I came to the conclusion that it couldn't be wrong to love the people I was made to love. I'm human, and I'm fallible; but I figured if I was wrong, since you made me, you'd understand."

And God says, "Yeah, but see, the thing is, rules are rules, and my hands are tied. So into the hellfire for all eternity with you. NEXT!"


I find this difficult to worship to.
posted by Sing Or Swim at 3:54 PM on June 9, 2012 [50 favorites]


I read this as a follow-up to the recent post where a Hassidic woman fought back against accusations made by Deborah Feldman. It seems like right-wing religious extremists are getting savvier about using the Internet to tell "their story" in order to push back against modern cultural norms that may question many of their patriarchal, homophobic, racist, or other tendencies. Ugh.
posted by allen.spaulding at 3:54 PM on June 9, 2012 [9 favorites]


What's curious to me here isn't that this couple found a way to exist against the opposing forces of libido on the one hand and expectations of mormon society on the other – there's enough tears and sorrow in this world, take whatever happiness you can find and enjoy it – but rather that this man so completely and unreflectively dismisses his own desires. It does not seem to have ever occurred to him that being turned on by men might mean that he should have sex with men. He's so indoctrinated into the idea that "the gay lifestyle" is wrong that he has built a psychological barrier between his libido and his morals. In Freudian terms, the superego is completely dominating the id. Desires are what the body wants, and any joy in sensual pleasure has been eradicated from the man who no longer believes in the truth of his own desires. That creeps me out quite a bit, and makes me wonder what awful psychic wounds the author is disguising behind his domestic veneer.
posted by deathpanels at 3:56 PM on June 9, 2012 [11 favorites]


I never thought that the first guest post I wrote... would be talking about how I fell in love with gay Weed.

ahaha
posted by stoneandstar at 3:56 PM on June 9, 2012 [6 favorites]


"I am attracted sexually to men. Period." and "I have a wonderful sex life [fucking a woman]."

No offense, dude, cuz I know you're really attached to this idea of being gay but being able to suppress it -- a message the church seems pretty attached to as well -- but... you're bi as fuck.
posted by LordSludge at 3:57 PM on June 9, 2012 [7 favorites]


I'm so confused.
posted by New England Cultist at 3:57 PM on June 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


Copronymus: Good point. I should have said "suppressing one sexuality in favor of another". I am of the opinion that suppressing sexuality is generally a horrible, horrible idea. If you buy the idea that pedophilia is a sexual orientation (which I don't), then that one should be suppressed. Likewise, if one's sexual orientation is "rapist", which, again, I don't believe that is a sexual orientation, then that should be suppressed, as well. But, to me, if you self-identify as homosexual, then I would think that you and all of those around you would enjoy maximum aggregate happiness by just getting out there and doing your thing. This is a self-centered view of the world, I know, but I couldn't be in a homosexual relationship at all, much less for 10 years to the exclusion of all heterosexual relationships, and still be happy or fulfilled. So this guy's saga is, to me, both fascinating and hard for me to believe. Maybe he's just a much stronger person than I am.
posted by 3200 at 3:59 PM on June 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


sez you. I am a man, I don't think "as many women as possible" is "natural."
I think what is meant here is that that little head-twitch you get when a buxom blonde is crossing the street is a form of the evolutionary drive to reproduce, as expediently as possible, with as many females of child-bearing age as possible, as quickly as possible, before you are eaten by a saber-toothed tiger.
posted by deathpanels at 3:59 PM on June 9, 2012 [4 favorites]


Also, Josh says he's gay despite never having acted on it and we can take him on face value, but it's a little worrisome at some level. I'm not sure who decides whether or not we can divorce sexual activity from sexual desire when it comes to categorization and I'm not particularly interested in policing other people's sexuality - although in a public posting like this it raises issues that should be discussed.

Yes there is a long history of gay individuals leading straight lives, having children, etc. What is shocking here is that he's "coming out" as gay but insisting that he won't change his behavior, will never act on his same-sex attractions, etc. So he's gay in a totally unverifiable way, publicly so, and in spite of evidence to the contrary.

We all create our reality and identity, sure. But if in the middle of robbing a bank, something you've done many times, you think "I'm a really awesome law-abiding citizen," well, you're wrong. When you go public and talk about how you should be treated as a law-abiding citizen but you still really want to rob banks, well, that's odd.
posted by allen.spaulding at 3:59 PM on June 9, 2012 [7 favorites]


That's one hell of a beard.
posted by loquacious at 4:01 PM on June 9, 2012 [22 favorites]


Yeah, exactly. I think that if God exists, he's kind of a douche. Why NOT sleep with as many women as possible, as long as the women are in to it?

Because women don't live in a vacuum, and they are not commodities; i.e., having sex with someone's wife, girlfriend, or even love interest is a lot like jabbing them in the heart with a rusty knife and swirling it around, and nothing like borrowing their Playstation.
posted by GIFtheory at 4:01 PM on June 9, 2012 [4 favorites]


You could say the same thing about heterosexuality. As a man, I have a natural desire to sleep with as many women as possible

As a woman (we like sex too, have you heard), I also think about sleeping with a lot of people, and yet not doing that is actually not that big a deal when I'm in a happy, committed relationship. My boyfriend says the same! I'm not sure how I feel about this article but I don't think the experiences are anything alike. (Sure, there is a kind of tragic beauty in suffering, but when it comes to "I'm also gay and Mormon, what should I do?" endorsing a poignant transcendence of human woe is kind of, I dunno.)
posted by stoneandstar at 4:01 PM on June 9, 2012 [4 favorites]


that little head-twitch

That's not genetic or biological, that's from Madison Avenue. Sorry deathpanels, but this is just pop-evo-psych nonsense that sells more Coke that's confusing you.
posted by allen.spaulding at 4:01 PM on June 9, 2012 [7 favorites]


After reading Gonestarfishing's summation of privilege, it sounds like a fairy-tale.

I am gay
Parents: OK!
I won't ever be sexually attracted to you
Future wife: OK!
Happy ending
posted by M Edward at 4:02 PM on June 9, 2012 [6 favorites]


You could say the same thing about heterosexuality. As a man, I have a natural desire to sleep with as many women as possible, and yet acting on this instinct is frowned upon, by God and non-douchebags everywhere.

I can't speak for God, and I hope I'm not a douchebag, but I definitely believe you should sleep with as many women as you want to, provided they are willing to sleep with you (and of age). If you have decided that a committment to a particular woman is more important, then either you are suffering needlessly in a relationship for some reason or you actually think she's so awesome that it's worth it to give up endless chances at hookups.

Which has nothing to do with me, or God, or douchebags; that's about you. Don't put it off on all the rest of us.
posted by emjaybee at 4:04 PM on June 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


"sez you. I am a man, I don't think "as many women as possible" is "natural."
I think what is meant here is that that little head-twitch you get when a buxom blonde is crossing the street is a form of the evolutionary drive to reproduce, as expediently as possible, with as many females of child-bearing age as possible, as quickly as possible, before you are eaten by a saber-toothed tiger.
posted by deathpanels at 3:59 PM on June 9 [+] [!]"

*sigh. nevermind.

But evolutionary psychology is such BS
posted by eustatic at 4:06 PM on June 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


This guy sounds really brave, honest, and together. I can only hope that that’s spreading.

I’m not sure what all the conflict is about. There are always people on this site talking about how gender and sexual attraction is a continuum, not black and white, that people should feel free to have sex with and fall in love with whoever they want. Religious people should be more open minded and accepting. Well, here you go.
posted by bongo_x at 4:08 PM on June 9, 2012 [3 favorites]


"you're bi"

No, sexual attraction is not necessary for satisfying sexual intimacy. Many asexuals masturbate and have sex and enjoy it and they aren't attracted to anyone.
posted by Danila at 4:09 PM on June 9, 2012 [3 favorites]


Why would a loving God create Josh (or any other gay person), give them non-harmful desires, and then command them not to act on those desires?

You're asking a question which is entirely too narrow. Limiting the question to homosexuality is missing the entire point. Let's go to right back to the beginning of the book, shall we?

"You shall surely eat of every tree in the garden, but of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die."

The fruit of the tree wasn't poisonous. Indeed, "the tree was good for food," "it was a delight to the eyes," and it "was to be desired to make one wise." Adam and Eve ate of it with no apparent ill effects on a physical level.

But they still weren't supposed to eat of it. Period. No real explanation is given. The only conclusion one can reach here is that the point really wasn't about the tree. It was about whether Adam and Eve were going to obey God.

If you aren't comfortable with the idea that God is God and you are not, and that he can give you commands which you need to obey whether or not you understand their justification... then objecting to his rules about homosexuality really seems beside the point, no? I mean, really, why focus on that? There are so many far more onerous demands in play that doubling down on this one seems a bit disproportionate.

If, on the other hand, you accept that those things... then all of a sudden a prohibition against homosexual sex doesn't seem to be quite as big of a deal. God demands obedience, not just in your sex life, but in your non-sexual relationships, your career, your finances, every choice you make and action you take.

You're either down with that or you're not.
posted by valkyryn at 4:10 PM on June 9, 2012 [18 favorites]


Heh. That's pre-existance up there not pre-xistance... did not mean to accidentally create a 90s comicbook.
posted by Artw at 4:10 PM on June 9, 2012 [5 favorites]


Kenco I don't want to devolve into a call and response but either we differ in our understanding of right or you are missing the experience of sex transcending thought. Yes there is seduction and planning of setting much thought is given to the act but the "throes of passion" is what I was referring to where you give yourself up to the physical and set aside the concerns about performance mutual satisfaction etc there is only one conjoined entity. I find it hard to believe a gay man can have that kind of sex with a woman. Again it is my understanding not saying I am right or anyone is wrong.
posted by pdxpogo at 4:11 PM on June 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


Those asexuals are just thinking of grey cubes.
posted by Artw at 4:12 PM on June 9, 2012 [8 favorites]


I knew that I was gay, and I also knew that sex with my wife was enjoyable.

YOU

ARE

BISEXUAL
posted by clockzero at 4:12 PM on June 9, 2012 [3 favorites]


I do think openly gay people who happen to fall in love with someone of the opposite sex (OR straight people who fall in love with someone of the same sex) is more common than we know.

This is the plot of Bob and Rose.

Don't all conservative religions kind of encourage this but with the understanding it's kept on the down low?

If Catholicism counts as conservative (and it always seems to on the Internet), the Church isn't officially in the 'gay people should enter into straight marriages' camp. Officially, being single and celibate is meant to be an equally valid 'calling' to marriage. Of course, traditionally, you use the priesthood to remove the gay men from the marriage pool.
posted by hoyland at 4:12 PM on June 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Not for nothing but I know a few ( via the way more churchly branch of the family) deeply religious gay men who really, really, really wanted to be fathers but couldn't reconcile that with being gay, at all, and chose family life over having a sex life cause that was more important and it was a trail to be overcome ,etc, etc.

To a man, they all ended up divorced and usually estranged from the very kids they wanted so much by " concerned" realatives who didn't think they were good influences on the children, leaving them with nothing and that fear of losing the one thing they wanted so much keeps the still married ones in line, aside from the ones who end up having furtive, risky sex with other straight men which helps internalize that whole gay sex is dirty and wrong and makes you undeserving of nice things loop of self loathing.

It's so fucking sad and thank god the younger kids from that family branch are getting out of the mindset before they make a bunch of major life decisions and bend over backwards trying to rationalize thier very real, very basic urges away.
posted by The Whelk at 4:14 PM on June 9, 2012 [14 favorites]


I’m not sure what all the conflict is about.

I can only conclude that it was never really about equality and self-expression, but about attacking traditional relationships and sexual ethics. This, my friends, is why homophobes think that there's a "gay agenda." Because even when there's an example of a happy gay man voluntarily and happily conforming to traditional norms, there's still resistance to it. It's not enough to be honest about your sexuality. Oh, no. You also have to reject traditional sexual ethics.
posted by valkyryn at 4:14 PM on June 9, 2012 [3 favorites]


In college I fell head-over-heels in love with a smart, funny, gorgeous, closeted gay man. He said then, and I believe, that he truly loved me... and later, he said, and I believe, that at the time he believed that I was likely his best chance at having a "normal" life with marriage, kids, etc., all of which would meet fully with his conservative family's approval and his own vision of what his life was supposed to be.

He didn't officially come out to me until our (understandably) frustrating long relationship was over, but I am thankful every day that whatever force within himself to push him to fight for his own true happiness was strong enough that he didn't go through with the much "easier" farce with me. I would have married him in a heartbeat. Truly. I imagine that the person I was then would have also stayed married to him, probably even through a lifetime of passively accepting if not actively encouraging him seeking the relationships with men that he actually wanted/deserved "on the side."

I do believe that he, and Lolly, are about as happy as most folks are. I wholeheartedly support people finding their unique paths with their, and their partners', eyes wide open. That said, I will be forever grateful that I did not become Lolly, and I am profoundly happy for my "Josh" that he and his gay partner and their kids have been enjoying decades of happiness together. I feel for the children of people who, in light of all the available options, believe that lives like Lolly's or Josh's is the best their children can strive for, and even more for the children of parents who are even less generous.
posted by argonauta at 4:14 PM on June 9, 2012 [13 favorites]


I knew that I was gay, and I also knew that sex with my wife was enjoyable.

YOU

ARE

BISEXUAL


Yeeeeeeah, there are so many, uh, problematic? Issues that come up when you extrapolate this personal narrative to a larger cultural narrative, and the invisibility of bisexual people, AGAIN, is right up there.
posted by Snarl Furillo at 4:16 PM on June 9, 2012 [3 favorites]


"You shall surely eat of every tree in the garden, but of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die."

(It's always been a bit weird to me that God was completely lying his ass off right there, and the serpent later comes along and tells the absolute truth about the damn tree, and this never seems to be an issue for anyone.)
posted by kyrademon at 4:17 PM on June 9, 2012 [13 favorites]


valkyryn, I resent that tone.

We (the gays in this thread) are deeply skeptical of this man because of our own experiences. The closet is a terrible, terrible thing, and despite announcing to the world that he is gay, he's still deeply in the closet. He rejects his own desires and sums them up as unimportant. It has nothing to do with "traditional morals", it has to do with honesty and worry that his example will be used to abuse gay children and teens in religious households.
posted by zug at 4:21 PM on June 9, 2012 [18 favorites]


The (devout mormon) dancer Benji Schwimmer came out via a long interview on sexuality and faith recently which came to my mind in reading the linked post, as Schwimmer was counselled by/met with gay married mormons when he was struggling with what to do. It's a long video (and this is only part 3 of 3!) but I found the whole thing interesting.
posted by jamesonandwater at 4:21 PM on June 9, 2012 [3 favorites]


He rejects his own desires and sums them up as unimportant.

Where does he say they're unimportant? I think acting on the desire to have sex with men is just..less important to him than many other things. But clearly not unimportant or he could have buried the desires and never need have spoken of them to anyone. But he told his family when he was quite young and told Lolly on their first date, so I don't think his sexual attraction to men is unimportant to him. I don't think he's in the closet at all, but I see many people assume he must be lying about something, either his gayness or his happiness with his wife.
posted by Danila at 4:26 PM on June 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


"I can only conclude that it was never really about equality and self-expression, but about attacking traditional relationships and sexual ethics."

Oh, for the love of mike.

No. I am thrilled for this family, if they have found true happiness in their unusual relationship. Good for them.

What I find still depressing is that the author felt he HAD to find such a relationship because of what I consider the arbitrary and tyrranical dictates of his religion.

If he is happy in this relationship, wonderful, but he LUCKED OUT. There are hundreds of hundreds of people in the same boat who try to contort themselves to fit these arbitrary rules and wreck their lives in the attempt.

So, yay for him, but I would have been a lot more on board with this story if this is something he chose only because he wanted it. If he fell in love with this woman, and she with him, and they decided to raise a family together despite the lack of sexual attraction on his part, and if there was no religion dominating the background saying "and if you do otherwise you are a sinner and deserve to burn".

This is a great story when it's a choice. When it is a necessity, then it is simply the story of the one in a thousand pegs, all hammered relentlessly to fit into an impossible hole, that happened to find the perfect fit. It does not change the fact that the other 999 pegs all got broken by the hammering, nor does it make the hammering a good thing.

And if that's "attacking traditional relationships and sexual ethics", then yes, I am attacking them. No one should be forced this way to make decisions about their lives. Everyone should be able to try all the options and have a real choice.
posted by kyrademon at 4:28 PM on June 9, 2012 [24 favorites]


I read this earlier today and was fascinated by the mental gymnastics required to call yourself both gay but also happy to be married (and having sex with) a woman. I read the whole thing as sincere, and quite a strange position to be in.

Part of me really wishes he could forget the dogma of his beliefs and actually go out and date men, but then part of me respects that he found a way to make the best of a really odd situation and everyone involved seems to be on board with it (I have no idea how his kids will react when they are old enough to understand it).

Man, what a strange life to live though.
posted by mathowie at 4:28 PM on June 9, 2012 [5 favorites]


This is complicated, but I see it as a positive development. Isn't the point of today's queer sensibility "Do consensually what you want to do, and be honest"? This person decided to trade in a fulfilling sex life for some privilege. Not the choice I or most people would make. But millions of people sublimate some part of themselves for privilege every day-- let's blame the dishonest ones, not the transparent ones.
posted by threeants at 4:29 PM on June 9, 2012 [7 favorites]


Speak for your own gay self, zug. As another gay in this thread I'm only a little skeptical of this man's story. I don't think he's in the closet at all, he's quite forthright and honest in his blog post. He doesn't seem like a man who is afraid of his homosexual desires or conceals them; he's considered them and set them aside to lead the life he wants. I think it's possible, if very difficult, to do that and I applaud him for talking about it. Queer rights are about embracing all sorts of sexual variation.

While I'm here I think it's also problematic to pin the label "bisexual" on him when he explicitly says that's not the word to describe himself.

(Mind you, I'm taking him at his word that he's not lying and concealing a secret life full of hot gay sex. If it turns out he's really got a double secret sexual life I would not be entirely surprised, and I'd feel awfully sorry for his family. Actually I feel a bit sorry for his family now, this has to be an uncomfortably public discussion for his wife and kids.)
posted by Nelson at 4:30 PM on June 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


Sorry, but I have to lean with the skeptics here.

It just doesn't compute in my wetware that the guy declares himself utterly full-on gay, yet also declares sex with his wife of ten years to be enjoyable. I can see making it work for a little while. Maybe. Though, the gay friends of mine who had, at some point in their lives, tried to be "normal" and make it with a woman, to a man, report an utter failure to perform.

I really, really, really want to believe the guy is just a very confused bi-as-fuck man. What I really fear, though, that we'll next see him making the televangelist rounds witnessing to the assembled as to how God makes it possible for gays to live straight lives as He so ordained men to do.
posted by Thorzdad at 4:30 PM on June 9, 2012 [5 favorites]


Unless the benevolent, omnipotent God doesn't really have an opinion about who we have sex with, so long as we behave in a humane, loving way towards each other.

In my view, a benevolent, omnipotent God who doesn't really care about all those silly rules in the Old Testament wouldn't let people enforce them in His or Her name. So...

Because women don't live in a vacuum, and they are not commodities; i.e., having sex with someone's wife, girlfriend, or even love interest is a lot like jabbing them in the heart with a rusty knife and swirling it around, and nothing like borrowing their Playstation.

Hm? I didn't say anything about other sexual partner's of those women, and neither did you. If a woman doesn't want to fuck you, then it's not 'possible', no? And if a woman does want to sleep with you, then as you say, she's not a Playstation. You don't have to borrow her.
posted by muddgirl at 4:30 PM on June 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


Hmm. I just came back to quote this little nugget from Mr. Weed:

"I won’t get into the boring details of the research here, but basically when sex is done right, at its deepest level it is about intimacy." [Emphasis added.]

I'm not sure these are the people to talk about doing sex right. In fact, the more I think about this, the more perverse this whole thing seems to me. This whole story is dedicated to the proposition that a heterosexual marriage is objectively better, more valuable, and morally superior, to sinful gay behavior. I wish these people the best, and don't begrudge either their choices in life, but I fear that they are just a couple of steps away from "converting" gays.
posted by 3200 at 4:44 PM on June 9, 2012 [15 favorites]


That does kind of sound like, "A woman's sexuality is not a commodity, so be careful when making use of one so as not to hurt the feelings of the person who owns it," doesn't it?
posted by kyrademon at 4:44 PM on June 9, 2012 [12 favorites]


(Commenting on the "Playstation" issue there, if not already obvious.)
posted by kyrademon at 4:46 PM on June 9, 2012


The only issue I have is that this guy and his wife still think it's sinful and hell-worthy to engage in homosexual sex. I would be all 100% applauding forcefully if, at the conclusion of the piece, he stated that in addition to loving other gay Mormons and all that bullshit (yes, I think it's bullshit to simply say "hey, I love everyone!" because it pollutes the meaning of love, but anyway), if he had stated that, in addition to him loving other gay Mormons, he also believes that other gay Mormons should have the right to enter into homosexual relationships. Then we are in A-OK territory. But he doesn't say that. So I think people applauding this guy are correct, and people criticizing this guy are correct. Because people are applauding and criticizing two different things.

Thing 1: Guy speaks very openly about his personal life and his sexuality and describes as best he can how he has come to a happy place that reconciles his feelings about the gayness and also the Mormonism and also he wanted his own babbies with a life partner. Whatever floats your boat! YAY!

Thing 2: He loves, loves, loves! other gay Mormons! For real loves them super much! But also, acting gay is a sin and you shouldn't do that if you want to go to heaven. That's not really very cool! BOO!

But hey, he does seems like a pretty contemplative guy, so perhaps this post gets a dialogue going and in time he can revise his thoughts on Thing 2.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 4:46 PM on June 9, 2012 [14 favorites]


While I'm here I think it's also problematic to pin the label "bisexual" on him when he explicitly says that's not the word to describe himself.

(Mind you, I'm taking him at his word that he's not lying and concealing a secret life full of hot gay sex. If it turns out he's really got a double secret sexual life I would not be entirely surprised, and I'd feel awfully sorry for his family. Actually I feel a bit sorry for his family now, this has to be an uncomfortably public discussion for his wife and kids.)


I am definitely down with letting people chose the words they use to describe themselves on a personal level, but I think some amount of...caution? I guess? Might need to come into play at some level. The last few paragraphs of the blog post really, I think, put Josh and Lolly on the side of encouraging other religious gay people to enter into mixed-orientation marriages (or maybe just, uh, non-complementary orientation? marriages) as a way to live out their religious faith. And I think that assumes a LOT of things, the most difficult one to reconcile being that everyone's sexuality is as plastic and fluid as Josh's might/seems to be. Some people may feel WAY more sexual/emotional attraction to men than Josh in particular does, or may feel way more averse to having a hetero sexual relationship, or may just have different sexual needs, and I think using "gay" as a personal identifier in this situation erases that.

If you poke through his blog a bit, he also seems to have a pretty emotionally close relationship with a male best friend who is a work-out/gym partner, so I also don't think that it's out of the question that he's getting his "attracted/attractive to and emotionally close with men while sharing a level of physical intimacy" needs met, without necessarily being sexual outside of his marriage, which might be another way to make this whole thing work that not everyone is going to find desirable or achievable. It's...a pretty complex dance he's declared himself to be doing.
posted by Snarl Furillo at 4:51 PM on June 9, 2012 [4 favorites]


A shrink I know had a depressed Mormon patient. He insisted he was straight, a virgin, and would someday marry a woman. The 1000 or so men he'd had sex with? Didn't count. He wasn't gay! He quit therapy after only a few sessions.
posted by Carol Anne at 4:52 PM on June 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


But, to me, if you self-identify as homosexual, then I would think that you and all of those around you would enjoy maximum aggregate happiness by just getting out there and doing your thing.

I don't see, why, really, given his family and culture. To chose to live his life as an gay man in a same sex relationship would likely have meant alienation from those he loved.

I mean, this guy seems to have caught a pretty big break on that front in terms of his parent's attitudes. But I think that's fairly rare...the picture we liberals like to paint is that if you do come from a culture and a family that can't accept that you're gay, then you do make that break, and head for the big city, and fashion a new life for yourself and a new ersatz family and that this is the "Better" part of how it gets better. That a bunch of good friends and a lover are more than enough.

But cutting yourself off from your family, from the place where you grew up? That ain't nothing. That can cost a lot. The usual American story --- not just for gay kids --- valorizes going out to seek one's fortune. Nation of immigrants and all that. But I think in doing so we downplay the sustenance and support that people can get from having and place and a people where they truly belong.

So for a guy like this? He was going to have to make a choice. I don't know that it's always right to say that self expression is the most important component of happiness. 6 million stories in the naked city and fair few Eleanor Rigbys among them...
posted by Diablevert at 4:54 PM on June 9, 2012 [6 favorites]


Thing 2: He loves, loves, loves! other gay Mormons! For real loves them super much! But also, acting gay is a sin and you shouldn't do that if you want to go to heaven. That's not really very cool! BOO!

But hey, he does seems like a pretty contemplative guy, so perhaps this post gets a dialogue going and in time he can revise his thoughts on Thing 2.


I think the thing here, though, is that to acknowledge that would be to acknowledge that his whole thing here was unnecessary, because if you can be a practicing gay person and still be a good Mormon he would not have had to marry a woman. He's pretty clear that he thinks being a good Mormon means having a shared, biological family with your opposite-sex spouse. He's right that you can't do that and be a practicing gay person. He's effectively doubled-down on this. The only way to reconcile your own choices is to dig in deeper on that point, not become more tolerant.
posted by Snarl Furillo at 4:58 PM on June 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


Hm? I didn't say anything about other sexual partner's of those women, and neither did you. If a woman doesn't want to fuck you, then it's not 'possible', no? And if a woman does want to sleep with you, then as you say, she's not a Playstation. You don't have to borrow her.
posted by muddgirl at 4:30 PM on June 9 [+] [!]

My argument is simply that it's naive to think that sex between consenting adults--even between single people--couldn't possibly have ramifications for anyone else. Who wouldn't be heartbroken to find that their love interest had a one-night stand with someone else, for example? And thus embittered, who wouldn't be tempted to carry on the cycle of meaningless sex in place of meaningful relationships?

The fact that most people would happily inflict that kind of violence upon others in pursuit of their own selfish desires, and the fact that it is widely accepted, doesn't mean that it's right.
posted by GIFtheory at 5:00 PM on June 9, 2012


Well, hell, I was just trying to be charitable.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 5:01 PM on June 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


I thought his bit about the physical as well as the spiritual intimacy of sex was spot-on. And his whole position, or rationalization if you prefer, seems extraordinarily well-thought out.

This is what he wants, and sure, we all make sacrifices.

But ten bucks says he gets nailed in a mall restroom sting at some point.
posted by kgasmart at 5:03 PM on June 9, 2012 [4 favorites]


Diablevert: That's all true. But I don't think I'm "downplay[ing] the sustenance and support that people can get from having a place and a people where they truly belong." I think I'm questioning whether he "truly belongs" there. All this is, I suppose, just guesswork on my part, because I'm straight. But I assume homosexuality to be just about the same as heterosexuality (all that sliding scale business notwithstanding). To me it seems that either this guy 1) isn't really gay, in which case his "example" is horrible and misleading to actual gay people, or 2) he is gay, and he is validating the cultural practice of marginalizing that sexuality. I reviewed his website a bit more, and I'm really not comfortable with the whole thing--He's a marriage and family therapist, too. (There's a link to his bio on his site.) And one of the things he specializes in are LGBT issues. That's a red flag for me. To me, this seems like he might be one of these folks who used to "cure" homosexuality, and now might be in the biz of helping others suppress it. As a cultural practice, I find that dangerous and ultimately damaging. Little off topic there, I know.

But to your point--You are probably more correct than I give you credit, as a knee-jerk reaction of mine. I just wonder about the long-term well-being of this fellow and his family. I just don't think this is a good message, that's all.
posted by 3200 at 5:04 PM on June 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


Why would a loving God create Josh (or any other gay person), give them non-harmful desires, and then command them not to act on those desires? It's the cruelest thing I can imagine.

There's a whole lot of pain and cruelty in this world that we theists have a very hard time accounting for. The traditional answer is that the whole world is broken in ways that are hard even for an omnipotent being to fix (presumably because the easy fixes we can imagine would break something else).

I don't think there's any satisfying or convincing explanation. I think it comes down to whether you have any other reasons to believe God exists, is good, and can be trusted. I think I do, but a lot of people I respect (many of them right here) don't find them as persuasive as I do.
posted by straight at 5:06 PM on June 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Is he saying I should try fucking my male friends out of "intimacy"?
posted by jeffburdges at 5:07 PM on June 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


"If, on the other hand, you accept that those things... then all of a sudden a prohibition against homosexual sex doesn't seem to be quite as big of a deal. God demands obedience, not just in your sex life, but in your non-sexual relationships, your career, your finances, every choice you make and action you take.

You're either down with that or you're not.
"

I'd humbly protest that there are even fewer people who truly live the prohibitions put upon them by their religions than there are gay Mormons in happy heterosexual marriages, and that within that pick-and-choose, interpretation is always present and yet nearly always denied as present.

Because of that, and given the general tendency to see whatever one wants within the precepts of the Bible, it seems reasonable to question which interpretations are consistent.
posted by klangklangston at 5:08 PM on June 9, 2012 [5 favorites]


Who wouldn't be heartbroken to find that their love interest had a one-night stand with someone else, for example? And thus embittered, who wouldn't be tempted to carry on the cycle of meaningless sex in place of meaningful relationships?

This statement is packed with assumptions. That only relationship sex is meaningful, that nonrelationship sex is only done by embittered people in some sort of destructive cycle, and then the earlier comment that women belong to men like really awesome Playstations that you love a lot.

But this is becoming a derail into It's All About My Heterosexuality, which seems inappropriate, so please feel free to memail if you want to continue.
posted by emjaybee at 5:08 PM on June 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


This statement is packed with assumptions. That only relationship sex is meaningful, that nonrelationship sex is only done by embittered people in some sort of destructive cycle, and then the earlier comment that women belong to men like really awesome Playstations that you love a lot.

Just want to say I'm extremely offended by the implication that I believe women belong to men. If you want to switch men and women in whatever I said, go ahead--the same argument applies.
posted by GIFtheory at 5:13 PM on June 9, 2012


"Is he saying I should try fucking my male friends out of "intimacy"?"

Absolutely not! He's saying you should do so within intimacy.
posted by 3200 at 5:14 PM on June 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


valkyryn, I'm calling BS on that last statement of yours. You should really know better than trying to get away with that kind of straw man nonsense. The emotional and intellectual responses to the guy's post have been explicitly stated to be conflicted, and the meandering posts made here in response to it are obviously the results of not really being sure how to deal with it. Trying to characterize that as brainlessly attacking traditional sexual ethics - whatever those are - is utterly dishonest.

And yes, one of our biggest worries, and I think a super legitimate one, is that this guy is providing counseling services. What is he telling the gay kids? Their parents? It seems like he's hewing closely to the "attraction is ok, just don't act on it" position which I think is absolutely going to hurt people. Even if we take everything he says at face value - and to be honest I pretty much do - I think he's in an almost unique situation.

And the comment one mom posted, where she said she hoped any of her kids could be "unicorns" too if they turned out gay? What does she do if that doesn't happen?
posted by kavasa at 5:15 PM on June 9, 2012 [6 favorites]


As someone who's currently working to restrict "conversion" or "ex-gay" therapy here in California, I'm both personally and professionally conflicted on this story. I'm skeptical of the general narrative, but willing to concede it — sure, it's possible that a gay guy has decided that his sexual attractions are less important to him than whatever else he may get in return, and as one of the premises that I try to operate from is that whether or not being gay is ever chosen, there's nothing wrong with it inherently, I think it's consistent to accept his word at face value.

However, I do find the implicit social and political messages of dubious value, and I think that pushing back against them is also valuable. It's an awkward thing, but personal intersections with political good are often awkward, and embracing that nuance is generally something that allows all of us the ability to live the lives we want to.

This seems like he's hit a healthy place in his life — again, I have no way to judge his inner experience — but I think it's always worthwhile to push back against the idea that the exception eliminates the norm, and at this point in time, the norm is very much for this to not be a healthy path to pursue for LGBT youth, and it's still based on some assumptions that I think are unhealthy in general.

People are weird, but I'd hate to see this used to hold out hope for some other (generally less privileged) LGBT kid to follow in Weed's footsteps — hoping for that exceptionalism that so captivates the American media landscape.
posted by klangklangston at 5:16 PM on June 9, 2012 [5 favorites]


Mormon young people are very strictly instructed about abstaining from sex before marriage and I believe many of them are able to, at least technically, adhere to those teachings. These two could quite easily have been virgins when they married.

In addition to the obvious continuum about sexual orientation I believe there is a difference in the strength of the sex drive not only over time in the same individuals but in general from one individual to another. Someone with a low sex drive and no experience and a strong motivation to conform to religious expectations could have the experiences this blogger describes.

I believe he is sincere but also naive and that he is setting himself up to be the goto guy among therapists for gay Mormons. I think he might be positioning himself for the talk show circuit and his career will get a boost from this revelation. I also wonder if he is setting himself up to fail. Three children within ten years doesn't leave much energy for questioning whether or not you're happy. You're too busy. The next ten years could be very different.

In the comment thread at his post, one commenter told of looking up a friend who had vanished and finding him, living a 'gay lifestyle,' preferring his successful business and his sexual attraction to following the laws of god--he spoke of having lunch with his former friend and telling him, I just want to tell you that Jesus loves you. The blogger had urged people to tell their gay friends that they loved them, not bring this missionary-like "Jesus loves you" into the life of someone you track down in the name of friendship. Sheesh!

The self-righteous have already found a way to beat gays with this story and I don't think this 'coming out' is very much different from the 'ex-gay' movement in its potential for damage, despite his sincerity and his honesty, perhaps even because of those qualities.
posted by Anitanola at 5:17 PM on June 9, 2012 [3 favorites]


when sex is done right, at its deepest level it is about intimacy. It is about one human being connecting with another human being they love. It is a beautiful physical manifestation of two people being connected in a truly vulnerable, intimate manner because they love each other profoundly. It is bodies connecting and souls connecting. It is beautiful and rich and fulfilling and spiritual and amazing. Many people never get to this point in their sex lives because it requires incredible communication, trust, vulnerability, and connection.

I found the article to be touching -- a kind of quirky love story, and I'm a sucker for love stories. But, at the same time, it made me feel marginalized, which is extraordinary given that, as a straight white male, I'm wallowing in privilege.

But the bit I quoted above reminds me that, as usual, almost no one can acknowledge the range of human experience, even Josh, ironically. People cling to the prejudice that "everyone is like me." And, even though Josh makes a point that he's gay and not bi, that quote, to me, is a subtle version of "everyone is bisexual."

The thing is, I completely believe that he's attracted to men and never women. And I also completely believe that his wife is an exception, because she transcends gender for him -- she's a kindred spirit. And that's great for him. I've met others -- no-religious people -- with similar relationships. People who have found soul mates outside their normal spheres of attraction.

But I'm not built like that. I've never in my life, even for five seconds, had so much as a fleeting fantasy about a man, and what irritates me is that I feel like Josh would say, "Ah, that's because you've never made the right kind of connection with a man." He wouldn't tell me I was bi. He would agree that I'm straight. But, still, he would insist that if I met the right guy and forged the right kind of connection with him, I would enjoy sex with him. In other words, I just haven't had the special-snowflake, spiritual sort of relationship he has.

Except I have. I lived with a man -- in what was basically a marriage -- for five years. He was (and is) my best friend, and he's gay. Meanwhile, I was lucky enough to be raised around lots of gay people. As a kid, never knew homophobia and had to learn it existed. My parents were 60s types -- ultra liberal professors with openly gay friends who were in and out of our house. During those five years when I loved with my friend, I didn't have a girlfriend. I loved my friend dearly, and many, many times I wished I was gay. He and I connected -- and still connect -- on a deep, deep level. But I never once, even for a second, was attracted to him. I had no desire to have sex with him. I am not repulsed by the idea, but it would be like having sex with a tree or a ice-cream cone. He's just not a sexual object to me. Maybe I'm fooling myself or repressing something, but I know -- as profoundly as I can know anything -- that I don't have it in me to be sexually attracted to men.

I'm sorry to go on for so long about myself, but I feel strongly that we'll never get out of the muddle we're in unless we face the complexity of human sexuality. I suspect that we could -- at the very least -- classify people this way:

1. Only attracted to men and can't possibly be attracted to a woman, no matter how close the friendship with a woman.

2. Only attracted to men but with the possibility of transcending gender altogether and being attracted to a woman, if the bond is strong enough. [Josh.]

3. Attracted to both men and women, perhaps leaning more towards interest in one gender than the other.

4. Only attracted to women but with the possibility of transcending gender altogether and being attracted to a man, if the bond is strong enough*.

5. Only attracted to women and can't possibly be attracted to a man, no matter how close the friendship with a man. [Me.]

6. Not sexually attracted to anyone.

* I have a good friend who is the female counterpart to Josh. She's a lesbian, married to a guy, and they reportedly have a great sex life. He's the only exception for her, and it's because they formed a super-deep bond that transcends gender. They have two kids and are deeply in love.

In fact, it's way more complex than this. There are, for instance, women who are only attracted to tall men. Many of those women could overcome this preference if the right short guy came along. But we tend to tell such women that their standards are too high, and we insist that they could find the right short guy attractive. I am skeptical that that's true in all cases.

We think of women like that as shallow but we (at least the more liberal amongst us) think being gay is "not a choice." Maybe it's just as much "not a choice" for the woman who isn't attracted to short men. Or the many who is only attracted to blond women.

Some people insist that sexuality is rigid, and that, for instance, Josh is kidding himself. Others insist that sexuality is infinitely elastic, and that anyone has the potential to be attracted to anyone else. Both of those views are absurd simplifications -- two sides of the same biased coin that insists on putting sexuality in a clearly-defined box.

On a human-population level, sexuality is incredibly plastic. On an individual level, sexuality has some degree of plasticity, from none to a huge amount.
posted by grumblebee at 5:17 PM on June 9, 2012 [24 favorites]


giftheory - you're arguing with phantoms. Literally no one has said anything you seem to think has been said.
posted by kavasa at 5:18 PM on June 9, 2012


Here's the thing. Sexuality is a lot more complicated than a continuum of gay to straight with bi in the middle. I don't know what goes on in this guy's head, nor in the head of his wife. But I do know that people are terribly complex. And I figure that because people are terribly complex and have a range of desires in different ways this pair might just have hit on something long term sustainable.

It doesn't take sexual arousal for a guy to have an erection and ejaculate. Guys can be coerced into do this against their will and good judgment. Anyone can close their eyes and switch to a fantasy track and run images of something that does turn them on when in a situation that is just not enough to bring them off. Given these two conditions I can reasonably imagine that the guy in this couple could have a sex life with his wife without being bi, or straight.

If a guy can get an erection from needing to pee first thing in the morning, or from inadvertantly humping the edge of his own bed there's no reason he couldn't get one from the attentions of a woman, provided that she wasn't such a turn off that revulsion made him wilt. If loves her and trusts her and doesn't find her nude body gross or frightening then there is no more reason why her presence in the bedroom should make him wilt than the presence of a flowered bedspread would.

A great many people enjoy cuddling and naked intimacy without being turned on by it. Or are turned on by a different aspect of naked intimacy than the sexual aspect of it. If either of this couple has a paraphilia where caretaking is a turn on than that could be one of the strengths in their relationship. Supposing she has a paraphilia for gay guys? They could both deeply enjoy a sex life where he gets to describe his fantasy while they both get it off.

The possibilities for a sucessful sex life here are great. They have the pre-requisites - affection, trust, honesty.

Supposing that she is someone who has some aversive problems with sex and wants to be in control and limit the sex to not very often and probably only when they are trying to get her pregnant? Again, that is a scenario that could lead to long term relationship stability and sustainability.

People almost always have to give up something. Sometimes they give up sex because they've got kids. Or they give up on financial stability. Or they give up on sex with a body that turns them on because their partner has gotten old, but they love their partner too much to leave them. Or they work on their career and do without sex. Or they have lots and lots and lots of sex because well, it keeps their marriage together and it's better than having to work lots of overtime so they can afford to keep their partner in paid sex. And while the sex might be meh, at least it's not nasty like cleaning up after the dog. Sex is hugely important but it's still only one of the many needs people have to deal with.

So, for me I look at their relationship and nod, yup, uh-huh, no problem.

But if we start talking about their long term prospects... well, I have to say that again, if the relationship slowly or suddenly implodes because one of them has sexual needs that are not getting met, I won't be the least bit surprised because that's what happens to so many couples of any and all descriptions. Statistically I suppose they are more likely to be at risk for a marriage breakdown than a random couple because we know of at least one area where at least one half of the couple may not be getting their needs met. But that's no biggie. I figure they have pretty nearly as good a chance as any other couple of making it work long term.

So, what about his confession providing ammunition for the church fathers to demand the same lifestyle from other gay people? I'm sure it will. Not that they need ammunition because if they can't make a reference to this couple they will find or invent something else. So very likely his coming out will make it easier for some gay kids and much harder for rather more. But at the same time if straight people in straight relationships have the right to be open about their sexuality and say it works for them, so do gay people in gay relationships, and so ultimately does a gay person in a straight relationship have the right to talk about it.
posted by Jane the Brown at 5:19 PM on June 9, 2012 [5 favorites]


I cocked an eyebrow at the therapy bit, too.

I think I'm questioning whether he "truly belongs" there...[if] he is gay, and he is validating the cultural practice of marginalizing that sexuality.

Well, that's the thing, right? When I said "downplay" I don't mean to single you specifically. It's the standard liberal line on this stuff, one I've probably parroted a 1,000 times myself in other contexts: To thine own self be true, right? That's the most important thing.

But reading the guy's post, and the reaction to it here, makes me wonder a bit (what can I say, I'm contrary). Given his background, he was always going to have to chose between rejecting his culture or marginalizing his sexuality. He chose the latter and seems pretty happy with it, and there seem to be a lot of people in this thread fairly pole-axed by that possibility, for all the lip service we tend to give to embracing the free choices of others to live life according to their desires. And i think in the back of it is that notion --- if you your culture says X, and your heart says Y, the fuck your culture, it's just wrong, you must do Y. But breaking with your past, rejecting the place and the people that you came from --- that's not nothing. That costs. When you see this story depicted, those costs tend to get downplayed --- that close-minded small town was horrible, really, and they're much happier now in the big city. Those close-minded relatives do see the light and come to understand they were wrong and embrace the new you. Etc. But real life doesn't always work that way. Sometime you just lose those things and can't get them back. Sometimes it's not a choice between happiness on one side and pain on the other; sometimes it's a choice between two kinds of pain. Or perhaps, for this guy, two kinds of happiness.

Cue the Rolling Stones, I guess...
posted by Diablevert at 5:20 PM on June 9, 2012 [3 favorites]


YOU

ARE

BISEXUAL


This bothers me. Let's take him at face value and say that he is only physically attracted to men, but is able to after a very long courtship get aroused and enjoy sex with a woman with whom he is extremely emotionally intimate.

If he decides to describe himself as gay, I think it's pretty offensive and patronizing to disagree with him. I mean, who's to say that every straight person couldn't do the same boat if they were able to get over their culturally-instilled reservations (conveniently not a problem when switch-hitting from gay-to-straight) and have a sufficiently strong reason to give it a shot (like his, admittedly kind of cuckoo, religious beliefs).

Basically, it would make me really happy if we could have this discussion without denying his sexual identiity.
posted by 256 at 5:23 PM on June 9, 2012 [6 favorites]


256, I think that's largely what the Kinsey scale is for.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 5:28 PM on June 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


It does not seem to have ever occurred to him that being turned on by men might mean that he should have sex with men ... Desires are what the body wants, and any joy in sensual pleasure has been eradicated from the man who no longer believes in the truth of his own desires.

There's all kinds of things that human beings desire that we almost unanimously condemn. Browse the relationship section of AskMetafilter. So obviously the mere existence of the desire is not a very good guide for whether or not it should be acted upon.

Does acting on the desire hurt anyone? Does it fit with or conflict with the other goals, desires, and commitments in your life?

Obviously a lot of people think they can't be happy if they have unsatisfied sexual desires, but this is by no means a universal belief / condition.
posted by straight at 5:28 PM on June 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


Diablevert: Didn't feel singled out. And, at first, I was really conflicted on this. The therapy aspect has pushed me over the edge, I think, so I'm agin' it. But you make a really good point that applies beyond this sexuality issue, really--political, religious, sexual...I know about a million people who suppress "who they are" because they live in my rural hometown where they would not be accepted otherwise. (That makes no sense, I know--it's really about three or four people who I know--but the point is that I'm from one of those small towns.) And breaking out is tough. You make a good point.
posted by 3200 at 5:31 PM on June 9, 2012


The guy could be lying through his teeth, the whole thing might fall apart, and he might go off and do something else entirely, but you could say the same about anyone in any relationship.

I’m going to have to take him at his word because otherwise I’d just be saying that no one, anywhere, ever, could live like that in spite of all the people in history who’ve lived in different types of marriages and relationships. I don’t think there is one best way to define a marriage, a relationship, or how or who you love. So I’m not going to judge his way just because it’s different than mine.
posted by bongo_x at 5:43 PM on June 9, 2012


What a couple of little bad asses.

Thank you for the post.
posted by Poppa Bear at 5:44 PM on June 9, 2012


This is a great story when it's a choice.

There's no such as a thing as a choice made ex nihilo.
posted by Apocryphon at 5:54 PM on June 9, 2012


To lay it bare: The church narrative is that it's okay to be "gay", as long as you don't act on it. Just an inch worth of gay sex, and you're going to hell. This guy is saying "YES! No problem! I'm totally happy with this, and you can be too!" OF COURSE this article will be used as material to convince gay or bi-curious kids to suppress their sexuality. And of course it'll reinforce the belief that people can definitely suppress teh gay if only they try hard enough. (And we offer enough "encouragement"!)

Coming from from a very religious, conservative upbringing, I understand the mindset. Being a born-again atheist and a liberal libertarian (govt gtfo of citizens' personal lives), I'm so, so frustrated with this situation, because it clearly hurts a lot of people.

Religious folks (at least within my family, but I've heard this echoed beyond) insist that they DO NOT HATE GAYS. No, no.. they LOVE them. They love them so much, they're willing to do whatever it takes to rescue them from the eternal fire of Hell, as promised by God in the Bible. In their minds, this is not bigotry, but tough love -- like wrestling the keys from a friend who's too drunk to drive. At least on a conscious level, they think they're doing a Good Thing here. And by suppressing Teh Gay Agenda, they're saving countless others from hellfire as well.

Now this is clearly fucked up to anybody on the outside looking in. So you're gonna "love" me by telling me I can't marry the person I love, and protect me by denying me passion with those I'm attracted to. Fuck you; you are an evil, evil person.

I don't know how to fix this. Either:
1. Convince religious folks that their view on this is incorrect, because:
a. God doesn't exist. Cleanest option, but good luck!
b. Bible isn't really the Word of God and carries no weight. Again, good luck!
c. Bible doesn't really condemn homosexuality. (Maybe it does, but it also condemns a lot of other silly things.) Hard to do when they're being given a constant message that it does.
d. Bible does condemn homosexuality, gays are gonna burn in Hell, but hey it's their choice. (Seems like a lot of people are here, actually. This is more "tolerance" and less "acceptance", in my mind -- still not great.)
2. Politically steamroll them, which is fraught with its own problems, which we're dealing with now.

Seems like there ought to be a good solution here, but I'm not finding it.
posted by LordSludge at 5:58 PM on June 9, 2012 [3 favorites]


YOU

ARE

a tiny bit

BISEXUAL
posted by LordSludge at 6:00 PM on June 9, 2012


A great many people enjoy cuddling and naked intimacy without being turned on by it. Or are turned on by a different aspect of naked intimacy than the sexual aspect of it.

Yeah, yeah, yeah.

I don't know much for certain, but this I know is true: I've tried sex without sexual attraction, and I've tried it with.

The latter is better by far.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 6:02 PM on June 9, 2012 [3 favorites]


Okay, yes, it will suck that this guy will be used as a stick to beat other gay folks with.

But! Isn't it exciting and wonderful to think that sexuality and subjectivity are so complicated and strange? Isn't it great to think that we don't have to live by the same dreary ev-psych heteronormative/homonormative "we all want to fuck Our One True Type of Person and everyone secretly wants either the buxom blond or the football player no matter what they say" line of reasoning? Isn't it exciting that we can live out our sexual impulses or we can do something different?

When I was a young queer child who had no real notion of my own sexuality, I used to get really depressed by regular narratives about sex and relationships, and any time I read about something unusual or unexpected or contrary or complicated - whether it was queerness or polyamory or celibate-yet-loving relationships or whatever - I would always think "maybe someday I will find something like that instead of getting roped into finding the Best-Looking Person Who Is Willing To Fuck Me and sticking with them forever."
posted by Frowner at 6:05 PM on June 9, 2012 [12 favorites]


I'm with him about halfway. Josh gets to define his own sexuality. The only people who he could hurt by being gay are his wife and his kids, and they seem content with the arrangement.

I've said this before, but there's no excuse for someone to doubt an adult's stated sexuality. That applies to conservative ministers caught sleeping with men as much as it applies to queer kids in conservative communities who "just need to turn straight because they're confused."

(At the same time, acting gay should not be a sin anywhere. He says he's counseling younger gay mormons in therapy. I hope he's telling those parents "Do not condemn the choices your loved one makes" rather than "Sin is in action, not in temptation or attraction.")
posted by yaymukund at 6:09 PM on June 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


I wish someone would share with me the secrets of invariably getting an erection and being able to perform. Middle age is a bitch.
posted by maxwelton at 6:10 PM on June 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


He's made a decision, and maybe uncommonly consciously, we all have to make: doctrine or experience?
posted by mc2000 at 6:11 PM on June 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Also, look, I don't want to judge other people's sexual arrangements from a political tactics point of view - that way lies madness. I don't want to think " I have to disbelieve or condemn this dude because what he says will be used against queer folks if he is not discredited". That's not my politics.

If asshole conservative religious people want to condemn gay folks, they are going to do it by one means or another. And it's on them. It's not on this dude. It's not on me if I don't choose to read this dude's life through a lens of "he must be lying because Bisexual Men Drive Like This And Gay Men Drive Like This and everyone else is lying".
posted by Frowner at 6:15 PM on June 9, 2012 [9 favorites]


Frowner, that's really not much of a concern for me either, but again, the guy is a family counsellor that advertises as specializing in LGBT issues. He talks a good "your mileage may vary" talk, but he's still devout. He still thinks that it's capital-W Wrong to actually have a homosexual relationship. Is that what he's telling kids and families he's counseling?
posted by kavasa at 6:30 PM on June 9, 2012 [9 favorites]


Club unicorn, or club eunuch?
posted by Sys Rq at 6:32 PM on June 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


"If asshole conservative religious people want to condemn gay folks, they are going to do it by one means or another. And it's on them. It's not on this dude."

Yeah, but, isn't he kind of doing just that? He's not burning gays, sure...but he sure as hell isn't saying that gay people should have equal civil rights, either. Sure he loves everyone and all of that, but isn't his entire schtick here that being gay is sinful and you should just buck up and get married to a woman? And I don't buy the distinction between being gay and doing gay sex stuff. It's a nice cover for apologists and evangelicals, I guess. But, come on! "You can be gay, just don't be gay" is the message.

Imagine if swimming were sinful. I know how to swim and I want to swim. But I don't ever swim. Am i a swimmer? That is how silly this seems to me. I get that sexuality is much more complex than, in my example, swimming--but the issue here, as I see it, really is NOT sexuality. It's behavior. His behavior (granted that it is a function of his sexuality) is altered because of religious beliefs--he argues the same, that he is still gay, just not acting gay. And he's a counselor. Presumably counseling other adult and young men and women how to deal with their sexual identify issues. Presumably counseling people that it's ok to be gay just so long as you don't have gay sex.

This whole thing is bizarre to me.
posted by 3200 at 6:39 PM on June 9, 2012 [7 favorites]


Christianity has that sort of line of thinking applied to other sins as well, though. "But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart." If anything, the focus on homosexuality has become a way to scapegoat a minority and focus on one sin over all others.
posted by Apocryphon at 6:45 PM on June 9, 2012 [6 favorites]


There's no such as a thing as a choice made ex nihilo.

Yeah, I agree in principle, but there's differences in the degree to which a choice is influence by external factors. Having to choose between your church, your family, your friends, and your god on the one hand and your sexuality on the other is a cruel and terrible position for someone to be in, abstract philosophical point notwithstanding.
posted by jcreigh at 6:52 PM on June 9, 2012 [3 favorites]


3200, your comment has me picturing a water-obsessed church group endlessly chanting "love the swimmer, hate the swim".
posted by kyrademon at 6:54 PM on June 9, 2012 [9 favorites]


>

well, thanks, mr nog but quite frankly i lost patience with it when his wife chimed in with 6 or 7 paragraphs. one of things that i've discovered about metafilter is that sometimes other people will read the article completely and then tell me about it. and you know what? it sounds like he never answered my question. you didn't, but someone else did.

but you know what? i've read a bit more and i call bullshit on this guy. he's a complete and total asshole.

first, i don't consider him gay unless he's actually doing something with men. it doesn't sound like he's admitting anything but i wonder how the hell he decided he was gay if he never actually kissed a guy?

second--for him to claim he's being gay and in a fully functional heterosexual marriage? no fucking way. yeah he might be able to pull off a stiffie once in a while but not on a regular basis. unless he's not gay.

but then again maybe i should just read the rest of the article. i'm sure something in there would have made me feel differently.
posted by lester's sock puppet at 6:56 PM on June 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


The battle between adherents of baptism by submersion and baptism by aspersion reach a new height of theological rivalry.
posted by Apocryphon at 6:57 PM on June 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


Respecting others' right to define themselves is one thing, calling them on obvious bullshit is another, and there are grey areas between. This is in that grey area.

I'm going back and forth on this even as I type now. Truth is one of my highest values. However, forcing others to tell the truth, to me, to themselves, or to others, is something that I am uneasy with, and I prefer to judge the situation on the level of harm and good the lies and truth will do. In this case, I think that due to a cascade onto other lies in his life, the truth would be devastating to this man, and to his family.

We can still seek for the truth ourselves, and in this case, I think Weed is at least bisexual enough to be sexually functional with Lolly. Or his love for her as a friend is able to bring her up to the point where fantasy is able to carry him through. (In which case, technically he is an adulterer in his head, but that again is their problem not ours.) Personally I find it difficult to face the prospect of having sex with someone I find sexually contra-attractive and expect that I would likely be impotent with them. YMMV.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 6:59 PM on June 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


I seriously considered posting it this morning, but backed off for a few reasons. Like a lot of people in here, I'm a little conflicted.

I was actually texting back and forth with my wife about this while she's off visiting her very Catholic parents and siblings. She made a good point; for some people, there are more important things than sex. She equated it to not having sex before marriage - for some people, it isn't high on the list. Emotional compatibility, religion, a bunch of other things can go up higher.

Then again, he's being truthful with her (and himself, presumably). He's said that it works for him, and that it might not work for everyone.

Something just sits weird with me about this, and I'm going to need to mull it over a bit more. It's definitely a fascinating piece of mental gymnastics.
posted by SNWidget at 7:05 PM on June 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Imagine if swimming were sinful.

It's "Adam and Eve", not "Michael Phelps and Eve"!

If God had wanted us to swim, he would have given us gills. It's clearly unnatural and perverse. I am disgusted with you people. Do what you want in the privacy of your own pools, but I will not have my children raised in a world where swimming is considered "normal".

I mean, if everybody swam all the time, there'd be nobody to tend farmland, and we'd all starve. That's what'll happen to this country, if you who are so proud to be living in sin have your way.

And look at the statistics. Do you know which group has the highest rate of drowning? DO YOU? It's swimmers. Drowning is a punishment from God, a sign that the Almighty will not sit by and watch your abomination.

No society in the history of the world has ever survived the transition to an all-swimming population. I just hope people wake up and stop this madness before it's too late.
posted by jcreigh at 7:11 PM on June 9, 2012 [42 favorites]


I read about this on facebook from a very religious mormon friend of mine (I grew up in SLC). What was really interesting to me about this was the number of positive responses it got from super mormons. Now, I'm not saying that this isn't problematic. Yes, they are liking that he is a "safe" gay - which is in practice not a gay at all.

But, I'm bolstered that there is any sort of babysteps at all. There would have been nothing but negativity even to this fairly benign version of a homosexual man 10 years ago. So while the future reprecussions of this article can be that he'll be held as an ideal for others, it also indicates an increasing acceptance of gays by mormons. So that's good. That's the thought that will ulitmately win out.
posted by OrangeDrink at 7:11 PM on June 9, 2012


I can't help but picture this guy as Tobias Funke.
Does leading a conflicted double life out in the open make it any easier I wonder?
posted by biochemicle at 7:15 PM on June 9, 2012 [3 favorites]


second--for him to claim he's being gay and in a fully functional heterosexual marriage? no fucking way. yeah he might be able to pull off a stiffie once in a while but not on a regular basis. unless he's not gay.

Uh... You get that gay is not defined as the inability to get a boner if there's a vagina nearby, right? It's not like Superman and kryptonite.

The absolute most he'd have to do to achieve "a fully fuctional heterosexual marriage" -- assuming he's not impotent -- is close his eyes and maybe do some imagining. Beyond that, it's just a matter of friction.
posted by Sys Rq at 7:23 PM on June 9, 2012 [4 favorites]


Yes, they are liking that he is a "safe" saved gay

FTFY.

- which is in practice not a gay at all.

Bingo.
posted by Sys Rq at 7:25 PM on June 9, 2012 [4 favorites]


"No society in the history of the world has ever survived the transition to an all-swimming population."

Yeah, well, swimming has been documented in countless other species. May be odd from your land-centric view, but it's not for you to define for everyone.

Also, frogs go both ways.
posted by 3200 at 7:36 PM on June 9, 2012 [7 favorites]


2. Only attracted to men but with the possibility of transcending gender altogether and being attracted to a woman, if the bond is strong enough. [Josh.]

But this seems to imply that it is possible for sex to be not based on basic, biological desires at some level. Does this not negate the essential meaning of sex? There are plenty of deeply meaningful ways to physically manifest your love for someone that aren't sexual. Sex, however, seems to imply something additional about desire and passion and baser attraction.

What a bizarre and thought-provoking piece. If he's not deluding himself, I'm learning a lot about the complexities of human sexuality.
posted by stroke_count at 7:54 PM on June 9, 2012


3200, although I am a member of an aquatic species and am in NO WAY amphibious, I have been living happily on land for years! I guess the premise of this post is to share that not only am I aquatic, but I’m also a devout and believing Antibaptist. And for the first time, I’m talking about it publicly.

1. Why have I decided to share this information?

First and foremost, my clinical work as a therapist is taking me in the direction of helping clients who struggle to reconcile their respiratory apparatus with their religious beliefs. I have decided to be open with these clients about my own natatory nature, and in doing so have opened the door to people finding out about this in ways I can't control.

2. What do I mean when I say I'm “aquatic”?

When I say I am aquatic or marine or pelagic, I refer specifically to respiratory orientation. My breathing system is designed for water. It is not designed for air. It is very simple. I have many, many years of experience which confirm this to be true.

3. When did you know I was aquatic?

I knew I was aqautic when I matured from a fry into a smolt. My parents were incredibly loving and supportive.

4. If I live on land, how can I really be aquatic?

This is a really good question and I can see how people can be confused about it. Some might assume that because I live on land, I must be amphibious. This would be true if respiratory orientation was defined by respiratory experience. Heck, if respiratory orientation were defined by respiratory experience, I would be as air-breathing as the day is long even though I’ve never had the ability to extract oxygen from a gaseous atmosphere. Respiratory orientation is defined by respiratory apparatus, not by experience. In my case, I am designed to breathe water. Yet my life on land is wonderful, and I have an extremely healthy and robust air-breathing life. How can this be?

Here is the basic reality that I actually think many people could use a lesson in: breathing is about more than just extracting oxygen. I won’t get into the boring details here, but basically when breathing is done right, at its deepest level it is about the secretion of mucus from specialized cells.
posted by kyrademon at 8:03 PM on June 9, 2012 [26 favorites]


"Uh... You get that gay is not defined as the inability to get a boner if there's a vagina nearby, right? It's not like Superman and kryptonite."


nope, not buying that. as i said in my original post maybe he could do it once in a while but not on a regular basis. and as for being gay--i certainly would excuse a gay man from getting a boner when thinking about vaginas once in a while but not when he has to actually enter them on a regular basis.
posted by lester's sock puppet at 8:10 PM on June 9, 2012


256>

This bothers me. Let's take him at face value and say that he is only physically attracted to men, but is able to after a very long courtship get aroused and enjoy sex with a woman with whom he is extremely emotionally intimate.

If he is inclined to be capable of enjoying sexual relations with men and women both, he's bisexual. There's absolutely nothing wrong with that, but it's my understanding that this word accurately describes that orientation.

If he decides to describe himself as gay, I think it's pretty offensive and patronizing to disagree with him.

I would agree with you, in general. In this case, I'm saying it because he's making the case to us that someone can be gay and still enjoy heterosexual relations. Whatever else he says about it doesn't change the fact that he's using "gay" in a very different way than it's otherwise used, which is a great way to redefine problems out of existence. This is rhetoric. He's trying to persuade us that what he's saying makes sense and is plausible, which is only necessary because it's patent sophistry.

I mean, who's to say that every straight person couldn't do the same boat if they were able to get over their culturally-instilled reservations (conveniently not a problem when switch-hitting from gay-to-straight) and have a sufficiently strong reason to give it a shot (like his, admittedly kind of cuckoo, religious beliefs).

Sure, some people can. But why should they have to? Why should a minority be forever denied full humanity?

Basically, it would make me really happy if we could have this discussion without denying his sexual identiity.

He's the one in denial about his sexual identity, I think.
posted by clockzero at 8:19 PM on June 9, 2012 [3 favorites]


kyrademon: I sincerely hope that you and your family are happy, and I want you to know that I am not judging your lifestyle or your respiratory system. If I offended you, it wasn't on porpoise. I have many close friends who are fish, many of whom lived in the closet for many years. But we all knew. They spent a lot of time in the bath, if you know what I mean.
posted by 3200 at 8:22 PM on June 9, 2012 [7 favorites]


Both Josh and his wife mention his commitment to God as one of the sole reasons their relationship survived his coming out. To me, that sort of indicates there is a lot of unmined stuff under the surface.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 8:24 PM on June 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


2. Only attracted to men but with the possibility of transcending gender altogether and being attracted to a woman, if the bond is strong enough. [Josh.]

But this seems to imply that it is possible for sex to be not based on basic, biological desires at some level. Does this not negate the essential meaning of sex? There are plenty of deeply meaningful ways to physically manifest your love for someone that aren't sexual. Sex, however, seems to imply something additional about desire and passion and baser attraction.

It may not be that complicated.

There's some brain mechanism or process that causes us to feel turned on. In theory, you should be able to start that process running by cutting someone's skull open and stimulating a particular part (or parts) of his brain. Grossly speaking, it's an on/off switch. In other words, you could (again, in theory) show someone a photo of a shoe box, stimulate his "turned on" switch, and he'd feel as if he was getting turned on by the shoe box.

Some of us are rigged to have that switch flipped when we look at men; others are rigged to have it flipped when we look at women (or men and women). But, assuming it is a switch, there might be other events that switch it on. Those events probably differ from person-to-person, but I can imaging a schematic in which a particular person's switch is flipped by only by men -- by or someone of either gender, if he's reached an intense level of intimacy with that person.

In other words, someone rigged that way will never have the experience of being turned on by a woman unless that woman happens to be his best friend -- someone he's shared his deepest secrets with for many years, etc.

But aside from that, he'll think of himself as gay, and he basically is gay, in the sense that unlike straight or bi men, he never gets turned on by breasts or (female) legs or whatever.

An analogy is someone who hates Westerns. When he watches a Western, it triggers some sort of displeasure circuit in his brain. The only exception is "Unforgiven," because Gene Hackman is his uncle. It's so much that there's a Western that he likes. It's more that Gene-Hackman-being-in-it bypasses the displeasure circuit and makes him love the movie in spite of the fact that it's a Western. It still makes sense to describe him as a Western Hater. You could say he's a Western Hater, but also a person who likes any movie with Gene Hackman in it. And if his brain is faced with a movie that is both a Western and a Gene Hackman vehicle, the movie's Gene-Hackman-ness overcomes its Westernness, and the "great movie" switch gets switched.

I think our brains do this sort of thing all the time. I'm an introvert. I hate parties. It's wrong to say I'm some sort of bi-trovert, who is sometimes an introvert and sometimes an extrovert. My baseline personality is always introverted. But if someone threw a party for me in which they gave me the gift of a million dollars, I'd probably have a great time. The "I'm rich!" experience would dampen my hatred of parties. It would be true that I was having a good time at that party. It would also make sense to call me a person who hates parties.

I am basically pulling all this out of my ass. I have no idea how sexuality works in the brain. My main point is that (assuming Materialism is true), it's some sort of "mechanical" process, and there are often multiple ways to "switch on" such processes. The normal way to switch on a car is by turning a key in the ignition, but hot-wiring it also works. And many people can get high by smoking pot or by jogging.

I think it's often helpful to think on this level. "Gay" or "Straight" is one particular layer of our makeup. But on a more foundational level, we are beings with an "I'm turned on switch" and various things that can trip it.
posted by grumblebee at 8:36 PM on June 9, 2012 [5 favorites]


In principle, is this much different than marrying a really unattractive person of a sex you're typically attracted to? I thought packaging wasn't supposed to matter -- it's what's on the inside that counts, etc etc.

Mind you, I haven't figured out this relationship stuff in the least, so I really can't add any personal intuitions.
posted by mantecol at 8:36 PM on June 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


> This, my friends, is why homophobes think that there's a "gay agenda."

I hate to say that I am upset by this statement, because its author, to me, is a random faceless guy on the Internet, but I do find it painfully sad. I gain nothing by saying "gotcha!" or "now he shows his colors!" — it just feels like that moment in a conversation where one realizes that there is a vast gulf of disagreement, and not only are you failing to bridge it, you are in fact continuing to map out its vastness and depth.

Taking Josh's account at face value, I find it unutterably sad that he lives in a world where, to keep the things he values, he has to make such a shitty compromise. And calling it shitty does a disservice to shit. If I am reading this correctly, he is buying community and acceptance and family at the cost of ever finding sexual fulfillment. It's so easy to imagine a world where he wouldn't have to make this trade-off. And, apart from the beliefs of his fellow people, there is absolutely no reason why that must be. It's such an arbitrary price. That he has reconciled with it and seems happy enough just makes it sound more cruel. Would it be so different if his beliefs required him to blind himself or cut off an arm in order to be accepted as a normal member of his community? What a horrible waste of human energy. Who forced him to make this horrible choice? "Gay agenda" indeed.
posted by Nomyte at 9:03 PM on June 9, 2012 [9 favorites]


jcreigh: "Imagine if swimming were sinful.

It's "Adam and Eve", not "Michael Phelps and Eve"!

If God had wanted us to swim, he would have given us gills. It's clearly unnatural and perverse. I am disgusted with you people. Do what you want in the privacy of your own pools, but I will not have my children raised in a world where swimming is considered "normal".

I mean, if everybody swam all the time, there'd be nobody to tend farmland, and we'd all starve. That's what'll happen to this country, if you who are so proud to be living in sin have your way.

And look at the statistics. Do you know which group has the highest rate of drowning? DO YOU? It's swimmers. Drowning is a punishment from God, a sign that the Almighty will not sit by and watch your abomination.

No society in the history of the world has ever survived the transition to an all-swimming population. I just hope people wake up and stop this madness before it's too late.
"

Sorry, but I will have to go THERE...

Look what happened to Atlantis. I bet they were swimmers and look what happened to them. Don't lie to yourself saying "I'll just get a little wet. Just dip a toe in..."

Then you are, in fact, A SWIMMER!

GOD HATES BUOYS!
posted by Samizdata at 9:17 PM on June 9, 2012 [9 favorites]


"GOD HATES BUOYS!"

Thank you.
posted by 3200 at 9:19 PM on June 9, 2012


3200: ""GOD HATES BUOYS!"

Thank you.
"

Ummmm, you're welcome?
posted by Samizdata at 9:21 PM on June 9, 2012


I do have sort of a dog in this race, since I self-identify not as bi, although I had an ongoing relationship with a pre-op transgirl (which did include some mutual activities that would not be considered straight hetero), but as "non-judgemental." By that I mean that if you dig someone, go for it! After the digging someone part, it's only a engineering problem. Not sure if that invalidates my sexual orientation or what, but any relationship is all about digging someone deeply. After that point, sex is only (for me) about bringing them pleasure and receiving pleasure from them. Thus the flippant "engineering problem" comment.

Frankly, I don't really find any fun in performing fellatio (especially not with my hyperactive gag reflex) innately, but, she used to enjoy it so much (and I always hated the idea of being a selfish lover so much) I couldn't say no.

So there.
posted by Samizdata at 9:28 PM on June 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


One of the sad truths about being homosexual is that no matter what you decide for your future, you have to sacrifice something. It’s very sad, but it is true... «snip» ...If you choose a same-sex partner, you are sacrificing the ability to have a biological family with the one you love.

Evidently he's not up on the latest research:

  CHRISTWIRE: LESBIAN CHINESE SCIENTISTS CREATE ARTIFICIAL SPERM

(That's satire but the real story is still pretty interesting.)
posted by XMLicious at 9:33 PM on June 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


If I am reading this correctly, he is buying community and acceptance and family at the cost of ever finding sexual fulfillment.

He says he is doing what he wants and living the way he wants to live, who am I to question that? He says he is sexually fulfilled. Seems unlikely to me, but again, on what basis would I call him a liar about his own sexuality? I wouldn’t be surprised if he changed his tune later, but I wouldn’t be surprised if any of us change in important ways over the years, I’m suspicious of those who don’t.

He’s not living the way I would want to live, but I don’t like to judge or dismiss people based on their sexual preferences. That includes pity.
posted by bongo_x at 9:46 PM on June 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


He says he is sexually fulfilled.

He also says that he is unquestionably, definitely attracted to men, and that he will never allow himself to act on that attraction.
posted by Nomyte at 9:49 PM on June 9, 2012


Nomyte> It's so easy to imagine a world where he wouldn't have to make this trade-off.

That's the key, isn't it? One thing I've learned is that what is easy for me may not be easy for you or him, and what's hard for me sometimes comes easy for others. As he says:
One of the sad truths about being homosexual is that no matter what you decide for your future, you have to sacrifice something. It’s very sad, but it is true.
Clearly it's not easy for him to imagine such a world.

And that's also the point in his essay where I lost some sympathy for him (though as a straight guy I've not had to deal with what he has). Up to that point I could take him as someone who has created an interesting non-standard arrangement of gender and affection to live his life in. But the freedom to create this, to come out as gay and not to be fired or run out of town, was won for him by others, and I don't see him acknowledging this.

Not only does he not acknowledge his debt, but in that sentence he firmly sets up new barriers. Okay, we can't all be pioneers, but someone else blazes new trails, and all you do is move the walls? Seems a bit heedless, a bit inappreciative.

That said, it's a hell of a balancing act. I wonder how long he'll be able to keep it up, and how far he'll fall if he does.
posted by benito.strauss at 9:50 PM on June 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


I am a heterosexual who tried - twice - to have sex with a man on the basis of my beliefs. I think this is what Josh is claiming: that although he is a homosexual, he has sex with a woman because of his beliefs.

As a hippie, I believed you should be able to love everyone, physically, emotionally, and spiritually regardless of gender. However when I tried to go through with it, the actual reality of stubble on my friend's cheeks, the feeling of a boner through another guy's jeans: it was awful. I couldn't get past a chaste kiss. I have a feeling there is something Josh is not telling us.

I have heard gay men tell me how disgusted they are by the very idea of touching a wet squishy pussy; it must be the same feeling I had trying to be intimate with another man. I read Josh's whole letter, hoping to get an idea of how sex with a woman felt to him. I guess he felt it would have been too explicit to describe.

But I'm assuming he is fantasizing about men when he is fucking his wife, and I think that what he claims is intimacy is, in fact, deceit. I wonder how his God feels about that. In any case, I'm assuming their sex life is a pretty sad and seldom affair, which I'm guessing is another reason he evades the real elephant in the room.
posted by kozad at 9:55 PM on June 9, 2012 [12 favorites]


He says he is sexually fulfilled.

He also says that he is unquestionably, definitely attracted to men, and that he will never allow himself to act on that attraction.


There are men who are unquestionably, definitely attracted to women and won’t allow themselves to act on that attraction, and women who feel the same about men. Are you saying you’re positive they can never truly be happy unless they have sex?
posted by bongo_x at 9:55 PM on June 9, 2012


And this makes it really clear to me that concretely defined sexual orientations just don't work on the individual scale.
posted by Drumhellz at 9:59 PM on June 9, 2012 [3 favorites]


I am a heterosexual who tried - twice - to have sex with a man on the basis of my beliefs.

Now that's impressive dedication to an ideal.
posted by Chekhovian at 10:27 PM on June 9, 2012 [5 favorites]


The whole "love the sinner, hate the sin" thing? Combined with the whole "it's not a sin to be same-sex attracted, just a sin to act on it" thing? That's the biggest pile of horseshit in this whole freaking debate. I can't tell you how much it pisses me off that social conservatives try to cut and slice people's psyches this way.

It's trying to have their cake and eat it, too. It's an attempt to hold two doubly insulting positions for a quadruple-whammy of condescension and judgment, wrapped end-to-end.

It's one part "Oh, that thing about your very nature, about your very identity that makes you who you are? That's a sin. Never, ever EVER act on it. But you know, we love YOU. Just not that whole big part of what makes you, you."

Plus one part "Oh, what you want to do is perfectly all right, not sinful at all that you have these desires. But if you ever ACT on those perfectly acceptable desires, then you're a sinner."

It's like a Mobius strip of bigotry, where just when you've been able to work out what's wrong with one position, you find yourself back at the starting point of the other. It's a self-fulfilling prophecy of despair and any time I hear anyone spouting any variant of this crap, it makes me nauseous.
posted by darkstar at 10:29 PM on June 9, 2012 [17 favorites]


Are you saying you’re positive they can never truly be happy unless they have sex?

Do I find self-imposed celibacy on purely religious grounds ("because god said so") sad? Yes, about as sad as any other kind of thorough self-denial and abnegation on purely religious grounds.

To give an example, I can imagine taking a (temporary) vow of silence to, I dunno, plumb the depths of the soul or something. On the other hand, I'd find it pretty repellent if someone believed that their god wanted them to shut up, and so they stopped talking purely to satisfy the demands of a religion.

Now that's impressive dedication to an ideal.

All it took was a little… friction.
posted by Nomyte at 10:30 PM on June 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


And I say that as a gay man who voluntarily remained celibate until my late thirties while desperately trying to live a Christian life in a socially conservative subculture, including very nearly getting married to a woman to try to make the best go of it I could, until I realized that this was all horseshit and I should just be who I am, because I'm a pretty darn good person without trying to fit into anyone else's ideals.
posted by darkstar at 10:32 PM on June 9, 2012 [8 favorites]


Drumhellz...
Huh? Josh is unequivocal that he feels no sexual attraction to women, not even his wife. Considering his situation, I think it would be odd for him to exaggerate how strongly he is attracted to men.

This story isn't about the fluidity of sexuality because unless you know more than Josh he's a through and through homosexual.

This story is about religious bigotry and the awful pressures it places on people. When someone threatens your everlasting life and connection with God using their Right hand; while wielding social pressures with their Left hand, it leaves people with no good options.

If you choose not reject something as basic as your sexuality, you become ostracized by your family, community, and church which can seem insurmountable to many. Or, like Josh, they convince you that it's for the best if you mimic the sexuality of others as best you can while never, ever acting on your own genuine, natural, healthy sexuality for all of eternity; except Josh portrays his decision as motivated by his desires, without acknowledging that most of what he fears losing isn't the necessary consequence of living a 'gay lifestyle,' it's just the punishment of a religion that hates you for having been created different than they imagined.
posted by PJLandis at 10:34 PM on June 9, 2012 [5 favorites]


except Josh portrays his decision as motivated by his desires, without acknowledging that most of what he fears losing isn't the necessary consequence of living a 'gay lifestyle,' it's just the punishment of a religion that hates you for having been created different than they imagined.

QFT
posted by darkstar at 10:36 PM on June 9, 2012 [7 favorites]


"So I'm a dude, and I've been nailing my boyfriend for 10 years straight -- and let me tell you the sex is *fantastic*, really just amazing on every level -- but I am positively, absolutely 100% straight... not even a little bi."

Come on.
posted by LordSludge at 10:53 PM on June 9, 2012 [8 favorites]


Maybe the choice is easier for some people because the reasons they choose to be ascetic outweigh the things they are denying? Or maybe the things they deny aren't as important to them? Sexual drives can be on a varying range.
posted by Apocryphon at 10:54 PM on June 9, 2012 [3 favorites]


Many men can fuck just about anything when the desired object is unavailable. Straight farmboys fuck sheep. They would prefer a woman but hey, sheep is right here! Guys in prisons will happily fuck other guys and still maintain that they are straight.

So why can't a guy enjoy fucking his wife even though he'd prefer a dude if god would let him.

Lack of boner? No problem, that's why god gave man Viagra.
posted by a humble nudibranch at 1:01 AM on June 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


It's hardly unusual for gay people to marry straight people in the hopes that they can ignore their pesky sexuality and make the marriage work. If Josh is truly "successful," he is very much an outlier.
posted by Wordwoman at 1:19 AM on June 10, 2012


If he decides to describe himself as gay, I think it's pretty offensive and patronizing to disagree with him.

Welcome to my world -- I am in basically the same boat as Mr. Weed, except I'm a secular Jew, so "coming out" was never a big deal for me. Also, his wife is cis-fem while mine is genderqueer (as we put it, a boy with an "innie") so I don't know if that makes my claim closer to Passable As Genuine Homo or whatever the fuck, but I still empathize tremendously with him; this really hit home.

I have to deal with the same kind of questions whenever this comes up (not every day, but it happens). I wish I had 1/10th the patience and compassion that he demonstrates, because it just pisses me right the hell off when someone calls me a liar with a wink and a nudge, or takes pity on me for my "suffering", or tries to lay down semantic rules based on the Kinsey Study on Chicks and Boners (Chapter 8: It's Not Gay If Ur Dicks Don't Touch). I get to choose an identity for myself, and you don't get to "correct" me. Well, actually, you're free to correct me, just as I'm free to tell you to go fuck a wood chipper.

Anyway, Mefi has always been pretty amazing about gender/orientation stuff, and I've actually learned a lot about this from the more well-spoken among you. I'm really happy to see some folks are standing up for Josh.

On preview:
If Josh is truly "successful," he is very much an outlier.

The type of person you are describing surely exists (in my immediate family, in fact), but he does not fit that description, according to the article. Did you actually read it? It's not a matter of "ignoring" his "pesky" sexuality at all; he adores this human being so much, going back to early childhood, that he wants to share the rest of his life intimately with her, and has found that they can have a fulfilling physical relationship because the attraction is more "up here" than "down there". I can confirm that this is a real thing that happens. As for being an "very much an outlier", that seems pretty cynical. How are you so sure?
(p.s. I don't hate you and in fact I love your pug avatar)
posted by jake at 1:59 AM on June 10, 2012 [8 favorites]


It is somewhat amusing to see MeFites going "pschaw, he must be bi." Not only is it dismissive of his identity (ostensibly because of his religion), it's downright catty.
posted by Apocryphon at 2:05 AM on June 10, 2012 [3 favorites]


I am not sure why this is so much of a mystery: he's a religious counselor, and this is essentially an advertisement for his services, aimed at people like the commentor cited at the beginning of the thread. He doesn't care what other people think, he cares that there are a ton of Christian parents out there who are hoping against hope that their kid, who has just come out to them, can be made straight (into a 'unicorn' like him) by his method.

It's a particularly good marketing pitch, since other forms of Christian counseling or advice intended to 'fix' gay kids tend to blame parents, particularly mothers, for male homosexuality. So with his services (or his method, described in what I am sure will be a forthcoming book now that this post has gone viral) , the parents get the 'fix' without the blame or the instruction to change their own family lives - your kid was just born that way, but can be fixed if he finds someone to marry. In that context, I am not sure how much of this person's description of his own life we should trust: it sounds a lot like the other 'totally perfect, totally awesome straight marriages' others have used to sell various other kinds of ex-gay therapy.

This is not a good thing, since a) he advertises himself as a counselor for "LGBT issues" and is likely only going to add to those issues for his clients and b) his method isn't just praying away the gay, it involves preying on others, by finding a straight coreligionist to marry.
posted by Wylla at 3:02 AM on June 10, 2012 [7 favorites]


It actually seems like kind of a crappy advertisement for a method to "fix" teh gay if he's still gay after being married for ten years and tells people with gay loved ones,
I also promise that pressuring them to live the life you want them to lead will only hamper their ability to make a genuine and authentic choice for their own future, be it what you hope for them or not.
posted by XMLicious at 3:36 AM on June 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


Dude can do whatever he wants with his life and call himself whatever he wants; maybe his wife is also homosexual and benefits from the setup as well. If they are nice to their kids, I have no objections to their private decisions about their lives and I'm not in the business of telling others what their "real" orientation is. If he counsels anyone who is in crisis to aspire to emulate his life as he's described it despite his having identified it prominently as a one-off, he's evil and he will have his hand in all kinds of twisted, life-fucking outcomes.

It is normal that he is receiving such an outpouring of support because his decisions are precisely in line with the needs of the community around him. There is only a single detail of this which is out of the ordinary for bearded religious gays and that is that he says "I am gay". But this is also beneficial for his community since it expands the circle of gays who can be "fixed" by not living a gay life from closeted gays to both closeted and uncloseted gays, which is pretty much the jackpot if you're woken up at night by the idea that non-heterosexuals are living full lives.

I just wanted to say that this:

One of the sad truths about being homosexual is that no matter what you decide for your future, you have to sacrifice something. It’s very sad, but it is true.

Is categorically untrue. I never sacrificed anything in order to be homosexual. When I came out I felt an immediate end of sacrificing a fully human existence in order to make things easier for other people who were comfortable with receiving that sacrifice from me every day. After that I never encountered any of these apparently myriad sad truths of being homosexual with the sole exception of Eurovision parties. I believe in the existence of multiple sad truths in his life but I wish he wouldn't misattribute them so easily and in such an objective-sounding way in front of the audience he has, which laps that stuff up.

There are all kinds of decisions that I've made in my life where doing one thing meant not doing another thing and maybe that's what he means. That isn't some universally sad thing about homosexuality, it's a sign of life on time's arrow. This is the one thing in his article that I think is deeply insulting, and something with which I think he deeply insults himself: he takes a pretty neutral characteristic of human existence which is completely universal and because it is part of his life and he is gay and finds gayness to be sad, he pins it on the sadness of homosexuality. Meanwhile so many around him are both applauding him for admitting how sad gayness is while privately howling in the depths of their own heterosexual existential crises, which are of course not the result of some fundamental tragique-ness of being straight but just the usually difficulties with being human, having free will, wanting connection, trying to learn what success would be for them and doing that, wondering what the point of their life is, getting older, facing death, etc. And other people, gay and straight, around both him and those sad straight people feel differently about it; maybe they are OK with their lives and their choices. Maybe they are glad at some of the things they left behind.

So you have this weird spectacle, of a man who has made decisions that many of the people who have made different decisions under similar circumstances find sad, and watching him claim that his sadness is inherent to his state so he doesn't have to ask the question of what would end that sadness, and see the people around him cheer for this information, because its universality also means they don't have to ask whether they are culpable in what makes it sad for him.
posted by Your Time Machine Sucks at 3:52 AM on June 10, 2012 [28 favorites]



The type of person you are describing surely exists (in my immediate family, in fact), but he does not fit that description, according to the article. Did you actually read it? It's not a matter of "ignoring" his "pesky" sexuality at all; he adores this human being so much, going back to early childhood, that he wants to share the rest of his life intimately with her, and has found that they can have a fulfilling physical relationship because the attraction is more "up here" than "down there". I can confirm that this is a real thing that happens.


Me too. I know a not insignificant number of people who have identified strongly as gay and then had a partner of the opposite gender. And people who went from one orientation to another, in the sense that they went on to have more than one relationship with the opposite gender. (Not that the numbers of people matter; it just doesn't strike me as that much of an oddity.) With all those people, though, it didn't seem to happen because they were feeling societal pressure except maybe-- in a couple of instances, with people who are elderly now and probably didn't see gay marriage as an option-- the desire to have a traditional family. But even in those cases it seems like it was a matter of chance or something that evolved. It seems much different to suggest that someone else can do it. It's very close to that thing people used to say in the olden days: "You're not gay; you just haven't met the right man/woman yet."

I would agree with you, in general. In this case, I'm saying it because he's making the case to us that someone can be gay and still enjoy heterosexual relations. Whatever else he says about it doesn't change the fact that he's using "gay" in a very different way than it's otherwise used, which is a great way to redefine problems out of existence. This is rhetoric. He's trying to persuade us that what he's saying makes sense and is plausible, which is only necessary because it's patent sophistry.

This pretty much nails it for me. If you want to call yourself gay and and have sex with the opposite gender, no problem, in my view-- if that's how you want to look at yourself. But he is clearly trying to use this to persuade other people of something.
posted by BibiRose at 4:07 AM on June 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


Chocolate Pickle: "Sounds like he's bi, not gay."

Bonzai: Sounds like you didn't read it.

I don't understand why this got so many up votes: just because someone claims not to be bisexual, doesn't mean that they actually aren't. I'm highly sceptical of his claims that you can have a satisfying sex life with nothing but intimacy: if you're enjoying sex, intimacy is part of it but I just don't believe enjoyment is possible without desire as well.

In the end, his extraordinary claims quickly seem ordinary if you accept he is actually bisexual. Its easier to be in a fulfilling, heterosexual marriage, and not give into temptation, if you're bisexual. Pretending this is a solution for non-bisexuals is just a cruel fantasy.
posted by axon at 5:06 AM on June 10, 2012 [5 favorites]


You know what would be great? If human rights were not a matter of debate. Economic inequality is rising in Western societies, we do out damnedest to avoid looking at problems like energy provision or climate change, and we still have to fight for rights that are so bloody obvious that people in a few decades will stare and wonder.

P.S. Athens Pride
posted by ersatz at 6:10 AM on June 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


I have to admire him, because it seems he is doing his best to be true to his principles.

There is something very admirable in committing to your choices in the way he has with his wife.

I am not married and not sure if I want to be, but everything I've heard about marriage is that in order for it to work, it has to be based on committing to the choice of the person you marry, and that this commitment is based on AGAPE: godly, selfless love.

Given that any choice we make will be difficult to fulfill for decades, choosing marriage and sticking with it as he has, despite temptation, well I see nothing hypocritical about it.

Any commitment requires ignoring temptations, be they sexual or otherwise. He's built himself a fulfilling life and he's sticking with his choices--- he seems happy so I say good for him.

AGAPIC love is based on self sacrifice and altruism. I think it is a very important aspect of human fulfillment.

I want every gay person on earth to be able to make whatever choices they want and not be subject to shame, persecution, rejection and discrimination.

I also think making long term commitments based on lust will end up as a failure.
society's obsession with sex has hurt me, and this is why I support this man.

I'm a feminist and gay ally so i normally would not support anyone who represses their homosexuality.
But this guy is doing his best to live out his choices. time will tell whether his great sex life and perfect happiness will wear off, but
basing your life around agapic choices is probably one of the best ways to find complete fulfillment.
posted by costanza at 6:15 AM on June 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


I can only conclude that it was never really about equality and self-expression, but about attacking traditional relationships and sexual ethics. This, my friends, is why homophobes think that there's a "gay agenda."

You should recalibrate your powers of conclusion. The conflict here is because this relationship, in context with his counseling, is observationally equivalent to a clever scheme to turn liberal attitudes towards sex against themselves. You liberals say people should be able to live as they want, well what if they want to live repressed, closeted lives of marriage to people they're not and cannot be attracted to and claim to be happy about that? You have to allow that, right? The conflict is that whatever the truth of his relationship is, and unless someone has a download of him handy we can't know what that truth is, this guy is with certainty going to be used a club to beat homosexuals from Christian families.

Also I am unaware of any traditional sexual ethics that valorize having sex with people you are not attracted to. Not since Onan spilled his seed, anyway. If anything, I would think that traditional systems of ethics would condemn it -- if you are having sex with someone you are not attracted to and cannot be attracted to, you are holding important parts of yourself back from your spouse. If he's truly not attracted to his wife, in the sense that straight men are not attracted to other men, then at best his sex with her must be a relatively mechanical affair. At worst, he is fantasizing about other men while he uses his wife's body to masturbate. In such a circumstance, it seems impossible that sex could provide a full unitive function and, indeed, might even have a divisive component.

This is doubly true from historic Christianity, though someone above indicated that Mormonism differs on this. While it's something that universally receives little more than lip service, it's difficult to deny that at the basic textual level Christianity is not big on marriage and valorizes single celibacy; about the nicest thing that Paul says about marriage is to grudgingly admit that it's better than burning with lust. The idea that there's something good about a marriage where you're still left burning with lust for other men seems facially wrong.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 6:37 AM on June 10, 2012 [4 favorites]


One of the sad truths about being homosexual is that no matter what you decide for your future, you have to sacrifice something. It’s very sad, but it is true.

Is categorically untrue. I never sacrificed anything in order to be homosexual.


It could be I read that wrong, but I thought of it more like "One of the sad truths about being a human is that no matter what you decide for your future, you have to sacrifice something". I have this discussion regularly. I don’t have kids, am not going to, and am happy about it. But I know I’ve given something up.
posted by bongo_x at 6:51 AM on June 10, 2012


You liberals say people should be able to live as they want, well what if they want to live repressed, closeted lives of marriage to people they're not and cannot be attracted to and claim to be happy about that? You have to allow that, right?

Yes.
posted by bongo_x at 6:51 AM on June 10, 2012


I should have been clearer: you liberals say people should be able to live as they want, well what if they want to live repressed, closeted lives of marriage to people they're not and cannot be attracted to and claim to be happy about that? You have to [refrain from any criticism whatsoever of such decisions], right?
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 6:56 AM on June 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


I should have been clearer: you liberals say people should be able to live as they want, well what if they want to live repressed, closeted lives of marriage to people they're not and cannot be attracted to and claim to be happy about that? You have to [refrain from any criticism whatsoever of such decisions], right?

Yes.
posted by bongo_x at 7:11 AM on June 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


Also I am unaware of any traditional sexual ethics that valorize having sex with people you are not attracted to.

Are you kidding? You've never heard of the conjugal act being a duty of marriage? I don't recall any exemption from this duty if one is no longer attracted to one's spouse; the value of the act in traditional sexual ethics would appear to be completely divorced (ha ha) from attraction.
posted by XMLicious at 7:13 AM on June 10, 2012 [3 favorites]


He opens with:
I am gay. I am Mormon. I am married to a woman. I am happy every single day. My life is filled with joy. I have a wonderful sex life.
and people are still talking about his entirely unremarkable marriage, a situation that might not be common, but is in no way without precedent?

This guy is lying. I don't know whether he's lying about what he says about his sexuality, whether consciously or not, and I don't care. I do know that if he's literally happy every day, some of those days have got to also include sadness, and mundanity; and if his sex life is wonderful, there are also occasions when his wife isn't in the mood or they both are but they're sick and the sex is kind of underwhelming or -- you get the point, right? That's the kind of language people use when they are either lying to themselves, selling something, or both. That entry sure did have a whole lot of words for not leaving one single vivid impression of who this guy is (as opposed to what he wants us to think he is) or what he's been through. The most evocative part of the entire thing is when he's an unthinking jerk to his lesbian therapist, and then doesn't apologize for it.

That he's a dude who considers himself gay and is married to a straight woman is not actually remarkable. Gay men marry women all the time. It happened decades, even centuries, before this guy was born. Why is he trying to present his situation as unique, as opposed to presenting the individually unique aspects of his situation? This is not a deeply personal narrative of his own struggle and journey, this is ad copy.

The difference between this blowhard and Freddie Mercury and Robert Maplethorpe isn't that they eventually left their special ladies and had sex with other men, and this dude is still together with his wife and will probably never bone a dude, it's that they made art and he has a blog.
posted by The Master and Margarita Mix at 7:19 AM on June 10, 2012 [16 favorites]


As a hippie, I believed you should be able to love everyone, physically, emotionally, and spiritually regardless of gender. However when I tried to go through with it, the actual reality of stubble on my friend's cheeks, the feeling of a boner through another guy's jeans: it was awful. I couldn't get past a chaste kiss. I have a feeling there is something Josh is not telling us.

If someone claims to be different from me, he must be lying.
posted by grumblebee at 7:30 AM on June 10, 2012 [4 favorites]


There is such a thing as a Kinsey 5. It should really be up to that person how they choose to identify their sexuality, based on that fact. A lot of people who are probably Kinsey 5s identify as homosexual. A lot of 2's identify as straight. Presuming he's really being straightforward about actually enjoying his sex life--and no, I don't think it can be summed up as 'men will do anything', any more than a woman could say she had a truly satisfying sexual relationship with a vibrator--then it should be up to him how he identifies there, but he's probably in that category.

And great for him. But *not* great for him if his idea is that this is a plausible or desirable outcome for all other individuals who are attracted to members of the same sex. What if you're a Kinsey 6? What if you're a Kinsey Anything-But-One who never meets a member of the opposite sex with whom you are really compatible, but you do have a member of the same sex with whom you are just as happy and fulfilled as he evidently is?

That is, obviously, assuming he's not being disingenuous. And as a person who is both Christian and a lesbian, I think that people suspect this not because they don't respect the possibility of making this decision, but because the last few decades are just littered with the remains of marriages that failed because someone was just positive that they were going to be able to make it work and discovered, after some length of time or after meeting someone more compatible, that all the faith in the world is not necessarily enough. I never got as far as tying the knot, thankfully, and I'm grateful that my theology was capable of being flexible, because I was not willing to spend the rest of my life trying to be what I wasn't.

And, well, of the people I know who've been through that, a lot of them hit that point in their 30s and 40s. So, while I can respect the possibility that this is real, I also think that "hey, look, I've been married for ten years and I AM SO VERY HAPPY" is not exactly proof that this is true. The happier that someone insists they are on the internet, the less likely it is to be the case.
posted by gracedissolved at 7:41 AM on June 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


I can't get with a god who would give people a sexuality and not let them fulfill it, but I also can't help but be impressed by someone who wants and believes in things so fully that he's willing to forgo his sexuality for them. He seems to care very deeply, not just about his religion, but also about having children who are biologically related to him, and I can certainly understand that seeming more important to him than his partner's biological gender. I think Josh's beliefs are wrong, but it's inspiring to see someone who's chosen to live a difficult life according to their beliefs, and found happiness within that.

As for whether Josh and his wife can have a satisfying life together---which I'm sure everyone here is much more qualified to pronounce on than they are: I can see it. I'm a straight guy. But I can imagine if there were a man who I'd been close to since childhood, and wanted to spend my life with, *and* that man was my only path to having biological children... I'd probably get used to the stubble and the penis. Eventually, given that it represented the person I loved, I might even get to like it. Anyone who's ever been in a long-term relationship has had sex with someone who wasn't their erotic ideal at the moment, and people's sexual response is surprisingly fluid.

Would Josh's life "scale"? No, probably not. Orientation seems to be pretty fixed, and if you *don't* have the beliefs and priorities and personality that Josh has, living as he does would be as torturous as dropping someone with no interest in charity work in the middle of a plague-ridden Third-World village. But then, people are under no obligation to have lives that scale. As a counselor, he makes clear that he tells families not to suppress their gay kids orientation, and he tells gay kids that they can make any choice they want. I can see his perspective being very useful for gay kids who are deciding between their sexuality and their desire for biological children: "Here's what I chose, and what it meant to me, and how it's worked out. Now you have something to think about."
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 7:52 AM on June 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


Eh, I think there are lots of people with, for lack of a better word, 'nonstandard' sexuality, who are also partnered with someone who is not a perfect match for their interests. Complete (or really any) sexual compatibility is one of the many things that may go up on the chopping block when people try to form lasting partnerships. I can believe this guy is happy because traditional Mormon fatherhood is probably more important to him than whatever he perceives the "gay lifestyle" to be. Which is where I was a little baffled, because "lifestyle" seems to imply a very specific set of cultural mores and shibboleths, where as having sexuality is usually just one facet of one's existence. The gay lifestyle sounds like something dudes talk about in ex-gay therapy, as if being gay was a rolling train of one night stands, rainbows and clubbing, and not merely an increased chance of muddling your underpants in your mutual laundry endeavours and a different niche when you bought porn.

I'm approaching this from the opposite direction, of someone who decided she'd better identify as bisexuality because of all the ladies she was enjoying herself with, not for the male audience in a Katy Perry-esque fashion, but because it was there and easy. But under normal circumstances I wouldn't want a romantic relationship with a woman, and I fall in love exclusively with men and feel most desire for men. And the connection is different. I was hoping that I was one of those 'loves the people not the contents of their trousers' types, but instead I'm just a slutty opportunist who likes women and Loves Men. Thus if my culture were different I can see a marriage to a woman because we were good friends, in that loving sort of tribe member way, and had the same priorities and goals. I think I could be happy, but I'd still be thinking about dudes way more than thinking about my wife.

As a man, I have a natural desire to sleep with as many women as possible, and yet acting on this instinct is frowned upon, by God and non-douchebags everywhere.

I'm not a douchebag and I support your right to have as much sex as consenting women want to have with you. I suggest heavy use of the barrier method for your mutual protection. And anyway God seems to like incest or relationship models that are currently unpopular, like father-in-law/daughter-in-law disguise sex; drunken father post apolcalyptic rape sex; impregnating (according to some theologies a woman who was already immaculately conceived) teenage girls with yourself; offering your daughters to the mob in search of the virtue of hospitality; populating the earth from incest or severe inbreeding; and really all manner of stuff that way okay in the theology but strongly discouraged now.
posted by Phalene at 7:57 AM on June 10, 2012 [6 favorites]


Me too. I know a not insignificant number of people who have identified strongly as gay and then had a partner of the opposite gender.

People seem to like dichotomous categories so much that they prefer to include all bisexuality under the umbrella of "gay" than just admit bisexuality exists. And this is a constant problem for bisexuals - we get rejected by both the homosexual and heterosexual groups, and as soon as a new relationship forms people will nod and say "oh, you're really (whatever the new relationship is)."

What is wrong with just accepting the idea that some people have a more absolute sexuality, and some people have a more flexible one? I think it would solve the problem of whether he is trying to help gay people escape from an unsatisfying life, too. If he would admit that he is an unusual bisexual man - a Kinsey 5, maybe, but if he is able to have a fully satisfying sex life, there must be something akin to attraction going on with his wife, just of a different nature than the kind that he feels with men - then there would be no need to fear that what he says is meant to apply to other gay people.

If he seriously defends the idea that he is not the least bit bisexual, then it seems logically preposterous to continue to claim he has not also made the choice to sacrifice his sex life. That would be a perfectly legitimate choice, to give up part of a physical pleasure for the sake of a family life, but to say he has no interest in sex with any women and he has great interest in sex with a woman fails on a strictly definitional level. He just has to redefine: he thought he was gay and discovered he was actually more flexible than he knew.

A person who's out about being gay but interested in raising a family, and wants to experiment with the opposite sex wouldn't have to repress their desires, as long as they were honest with themselves about the results and didn't expect that if only the connection were deep enough it would work. Maybe some people just aren't bisexual. But this guy is, if what he reports is accurate.
posted by mdn at 8:32 AM on June 10, 2012 [5 favorites]


After re-reading much of this discussion, it seems like many of us are trying to ascertain whether or not Josh is telling the truth. Most of us are basing our conclusions on our own sexual feelings. It's hard enough to know if someone is telling the truth in person; when someone has thought about how to express his situation for years, and then writes it down...well, it's impossible to figure out the truth quotient of this story. The doubt some have thrown on his motivations doubles the difficulty of knowing how true this story is.
posted by kozad at 8:43 AM on June 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


I suspect in five years, this guy may end up a divorced ex-Mormon. I wish him luck on trying this, and god knows if you're going to marry a woman when you don't lust after them, he probably has the best situation for that he possibly can have. His wife hasn't been tricked or lied to, she knows what's up and went into it with open eyes. They have their purpose in having children. Etc., etc., etc. Sure, it sounds good right now, when you write it all down on the Internet. But inherently there's things not mentioned here--like how they define a good sex life--and some implied references to troubles that they have to be glazing over when they write things down. It can't be as perfect as they claim, it just can't. We've heard too many "ex-gay" stories to 100% believe this guy, and at the very least we hope he's really bi rather than 100% loves the dudes because otherwise this isn't going to fly.

But dick finds its way. Think of all of the closeted gay politicians we know of now who did the same thing--married a woman and had kids--and on top of that, went into politics and became flat-out bigots in public. Now, THOSE guys deliberately chose to make themselves a life where there was no way in hell they could or should come out of the closet...and yet they all get busted with rent boys or approaching someone in the men's toilet ANYWAY. Because dick finds a way. Much as I hate to think about Woody and Soon-Yi, the heart--or dick--wants what it wants. And someday it will probably force its hand on this guy too, like everyone else. I just doubt he'll be able to 100% hold it in for the rest of his life.
posted by jenfullmoon at 8:46 AM on June 10, 2012 [3 favorites]


Gracedissolved: "That is, obviously, assuming he's not being disingenuous. And as a person who is both Christian and a lesbian, I think that people suspect this not because they don't respect the possibility of making this decision, but because the last few decades are just littered with the remains of marriages that failed because someone was just positive that they were going to be able to make it work and discovered, after some length of time or after meeting someone more compatible, that all the faith in the world is not necessarily enough. "

I don't doubt the possibility of someone making this decision...I just think it's fairly obvious that this person's blog is intended to get new clients for his counseling business. He isn't just describing his life, he's making a pitch for himself as a person parents of a gay teen can turn to for a 'solution' to their 'problem' or depressed gay people can go to for 'relief' , so his entire description of his life should be read in that light. He's essentially saying "It worked for me, and I can make it work for you if you pay me for my services!" I therefore assume that he, like other gay-cure promoters who have used this sort of pitch in the past, is lying about his life in order to sell himself as a model success.

XMLicious: "It actually seems like kind of a crappy advertisement for a method to "fix" teh gay if he's still gay after being married for ten years.."

It's a great advertisement: he is letting parents know that it doesn't matter if your child says they were born this way or that they will never be straight - he's holding out the hope that staying in the closet for life works, and parents don't even have to feel guilty, since the closeted person can be happy and will thank you later for forcing them back into the closet. (Yes, he's being open about his gayness, but he gives all sorts of special-snowflake reasons for that which his target market will see as not applying to them.)

You mention that he says"I also promise that pressuring them to live the life you want them to lead will only hamper their ability to make a genuine and authentic choice for their own future, be it what you hope for them or not." To translate, this means "Stop trying to pressure them to go back into the closet because your type of pressure doesn't work. I will push them back in that direction by far more effective means, so it feels like their own choice."

The phrase 'a genuine and authentic choice for their own future' is the giveaway: for religious reasons, he can not see a gay life as genuine or authentic. To use the evangelical phrase, for him, gayness isn't 'what God made you to be,' and his choice is the genuine and authentic one.

The only difference between him and traditional ex-gay therapists is that they believe that gayness is actually curable, and view a straight marriage as a proof of cure, to be undertaken at the end of a successful therapy. They torture a lot of people, but because many of their patients don't ever feel they've been fully successful, these therapists are likely not responsible for huge numbers of sham marriages. Because this guy views gayness as inherent, he doesn't see marriage as a proof of success, to be undertaken only after therapy is over. He rather seems to see a life in the closet as the path to happiness. For him, you marry a convenient female friend at the start of your journey - it's what puts you on the path to a secure role in the community, fatherhood, etc. So it's likely that if his methods become widespread now that he's a minor celebrity, he will victimize far more of his patients' spouses than the average ex-gay therapist.

I agree with jenfullmoon that this guy will eventually be a divorced ex-believer (I'd give it 15 years, since he seems to be gunning for a profitable career for now), but the sad thing is that he'll leave many divorced straight women and abandoned children in his wake.
posted by Wylla at 8:55 AM on June 10, 2012 [8 favorites]


I say we buy the screenplay rights. The guy gets rich counselling people to pray the gay away, and they can afford to hire a handsome gardener. This baby writes itself.
posted by Trochanter at 8:56 AM on June 10, 2012 [4 favorites]


I was 100% convinced this was going to be about Orson Scott Card.
posted by oh pollo! at 9:02 AM on June 10, 2012 [3 favorites]


I don't see why so many people in this thread are saying he must be bisexual.

I think it's entirely possible, (to put it crudely), to masturbate with someone else's body. Physical stimulation is going to be "enjoyable" as he put it, even if you're not attracted to the other bits of human being that happen to be attached to that vagina/penis/whatevs. Plus throw in that ultimate trump card of "GOD SAYS SO" and you can really get people to do just about anything—even be gay and have lots of sex with an opposite-gender person.
posted by fontophilic at 9:12 AM on June 10, 2012 [3 favorites]


Are you kidding? You've never heard of the conjugal act being a duty of marriage? I don't recall any exemption from this duty if one is no longer attracted to one's spouse

No longer finding someone attractive is a completely different case from marrying someone that you both are not attracted to, *and* believe that you could not possibly, ever, under any circumstances whatsoever, be any more attracted to them than you are to a sister or a shoe, owing to intrinsic and (almost)ineradicable qualities of your spouse.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:21 AM on June 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


There is no such thing as homosexuality. Or heterosexuality. Or bisexuality.

It is not about the junk in the trunk. That is FAR too limiting a category.

There is just sexuality, in infinite variety.

Josh's sexuality isn't about body parts. He's into the mind games of monks and ascetics: the mastery of self-will over the desires, needs, and demands of the body. imo.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:25 AM on June 10, 2012 [3 favorites]


This baby writes itself.

By the way, it's mainly the wife's story.

Gwyneth Paltrow's the wife. Travolta's the husband. Robert Pattison's the gardener. Sun drenched cinematography. Lots of smouldering stares and silence. Probably an Italian director.

It. Could. Work.
posted by Trochanter at 9:28 AM on June 10, 2012 [8 favorites]


Far From Heaven already exists.
posted by The Whelk at 9:39 AM on June 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


I don't see why so many people in this thread are saying he must be bisexual.

I think it's entirely possible, (to put it crudely), to masturbate with someone else's body.


Have you done it? Do you feel completely fulfilled having sex with someone of your non-preferred sex? A body is more than a little toy. It is smell and taste and texture and weight difference and sound and a lot more. And a person who you love and care for makes it that much more intense.

You've got to have a very powerful imagination to just recede into the image in your mind, and to do that every time for years and still claim your sex life is full of intimacy is bizarre. As a bisexual person, I enjoy and am fascinated by the myriad differences in human physicality, but if one gender is essential to the equation, you can't just pretend it's not there.

But: I don't know if he is bisexual. I'm only saying if he really is fully sexually fulfilled, then he should redefine his sexuality. It's more likely that he is situationally bisexual - that, like a fair percentage of people, in a pinch (prison, all boy's school, etc) he can make do with what's available, but he is not exactly sexually fulfilled. In that case he'd have made a choice to sacrifice one thing for another.

Some people would really just be miserable to have to have sex with someone that they are totally unattracted to. Some people can adapt to varying degrees. Some people happily find both options interesting. By saying he's gay, and he's got a great sex life with a woman, he is just using the wrong words. He is either somewhat bisexual, or his sex life is not really that good.

The reason I push this is that there are people who are "more gay" than he is who could not find the happiness he claims in a heterosexual relationship. If you don't like calling him bisexual, at least he is homoflexible or something.
posted by mdn at 9:53 AM on June 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


No longer finding someone attractive is a completely different case from marrying someone that you both are not attracted to, *and* believe that you could not possibly, ever, under any circumstances whatsoever, be any more attracted to them than you are to a sister or a shoe, owing to intrinsic and (almost)ineradicable qualities of your spouse.

...okay, so "falling out of love" is different from something like a marriage of state to Jabba the Hutt, but traditional sexual ethics would still find great importance and value with the intercourse in either case even in the absence of attraction. You said that traditional sexual ethics would condemn sex under these circumstances as it would be a "relatively mechanical affair" but the opposite is true: the person(s) in question would be told to just deal with it and fulfill their marital obligations because those are much more important than the presence or absence of feelings of attraction. Especially if you're the woman and are in practicality chattel, traded along with a dowry.
posted by XMLicious at 10:05 AM on June 10, 2012


They posted a followup video. I have to say just as a half-assed layman's attempt at reading body language/vibe, the part where Josh starts talking about it all being about love, loving each other, accepting each other for who you are ... I'm just not buying this. At all. I'm sure they really do love each other, but this is a relationship founded on a lie that they're trying to turn into a badge of honor

The only people saying it shouldn't be about love and acceptance and being who you are, is your church, Josh
posted by crayz at 10:12 AM on June 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


Also his story of falling in love is telling:
Josh: Well, I guess that means we're gonna skip dinner...

Lolly: Skip dinner? Um, I don't think so. I just threw up. Now, there's more room for dinner.

Josh: You just threw up, and now you're ready to go get something to eat? You are awesome.

It was at that moment I was pretty sure I wanted to marry this girl.
This is the story of a man who made a really great life-long friend, and then because he could see no better options, married that friend. I wonder if Josh has ever felt the insane, overwhelming soul-dissolving, brain-rewiring passion of romantic love and its physical expression. I can't imagine if he ever does let himself feel that, that his current life will remain intact very long afterwards. And if he doesn't, that's far more sad
posted by crayz at 10:21 AM on June 10, 2012 [5 favorites]


(from the blog)

You can't fake this kind of happy.

and to have certifiably the best wedding night ever in the history of Earth.


yeah, that does kind of sound like someone trying to play the part of a happy husband who has no real idea what it means to be a happy husband... Who knows. He could just be a hyperbolic type, I guess.

I now extend that invitation to every one of you. I am not a myth. I am real.

I cordially welcome you as the newest member of Club Unicorn.


It is absolutely clear what the point of his post is, though. He is not just letting people know this little personal story. He is inviting gay people to solve their problem, because he is living proof it can be done. And if you look at the comments, there are countless examples of people talking about what a message of hope he has provided.

He is redefining gay to mean someone who is attracted to men, but who can ultimately be happy in a heterosexual relationship if they just try.
posted by mdn at 10:41 AM on June 10, 2012 [6 favorites]


The idea of supporting clients who prioritize religious beliefs over sexual orientation has been gaining traction among therapists for some time. There are a few stories in here that sound very similar to Josh's (though none sound nearly as happy about their choices).
posted by oryelle at 10:54 AM on June 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


Although I don't consider it any kind of comment on the label debate, I am finding it somewhat ironic that "unicorn" is actually already a slang term for a certain kind of bisexual.
posted by kyrademon at 11:28 AM on June 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


but traditional sexual ethics would still find great importance and value with the intercourse in either case even in the absence of attraction

Again, you're confusing "happen not to be attracted to" or "isn't attracted to anymore" with "asserts that they are fundamentally incapable of being attracted to you, but are attracted to others." Being in a royal marriage or falling out of love aren't relevant here, nor are any unfortunate events that might take place in an existing marriage.

The relevant question here is "When you are absolutely not attracted to someone and believe you are fundamentally incapable of ever feeling a stirring of sexual desire for them, because of their intrinsic nature rather than any transitory quality, would traditional sexual ethics suggest that you should marry and have sex with them anyway?" Nope. At the very least, not unless there is a truly pressing reason that makes not being married to anyone impractical.

Really, their marriage reads to me more like the terrible perversion of a relationship that should have remained something-like-fraternal than anything else.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 11:36 AM on June 10, 2012


I wonder if Josh has ever felt the insane, overwhelming soul-dissolving, brain-rewiring passion of romantic love and its physical expression.

"Your father didn’t love me when we married. He hardly knew me, or I him. Love didn’t just happened to us, we built it slowly over the years, stone by stone. For you, for your brothers and sisters; for all of us. It’s not as exciting as a secret passion in the woods, but it is stronger. It lasts longer."

Sorry, that scene just jumped to mind just then.
posted by Apocryphon at 11:37 AM on June 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


Sorry, that scene just jumped to mind just then.
So is there where we start quoting Game of Thrones?

"Do you want my brother to come in? Do you want him to get you started? If you like you can bend me over and pretend I'm him."

Random aside, is it incest if the brother and sister aren't having direct sex with each other?
posted by Chekhovian at 11:47 AM on June 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


something else that came to my mind -- I know two couples whose relationship has endured, including a healthy and satisfying sex life, even though one person in the couple underwent gender transition. In all the cases I know of, the non-transitioning partner did not (and does not) identify as bi, and the transitioning partner transitioned to their non-preferred gender. So -- one couple presented as mixed gender pair, and the person who initially presented as male transitioned to female. The other couple presented as a lesbian couple, and one partner transitioned to male.

Those transitions happened decades into the relationship. Are the non-transitioning spouses living a lie because they are no longer partnered (and, in some very important ways, have NOT been partnered) to someone of their preferred gender?

I agree that the political implications of Josh's openness are problematic, particularly considering that he's a therapist. There are definitely some parents who are going to make bad decisions for their kids on the basis of Josh's apparent success, and that is terrible. I even agree that it is possible that Josh only thinks he has a satisfying sex life because he's never had a sexual encounter with someone of his preferred gender. But I don't agree that it's impossible for Josh to be telling the truth, because I've seen other examples of relationships like this with my own eyes.
posted by KathrynT at 11:50 AM on June 10, 2012 [5 favorites]


Yeah, I also thought of Renly while reading this.
posted by Apocryphon at 11:56 AM on June 10, 2012


I think lots of people accept that "heterosexual", "homosexual", and "bisexual" are often inexact and incomplete terms when applied to any individual human beings.

At the same time, I don't think it's unreasonable to view with a certain degree of suspicion a story which comes across a litle bit as "I, a one hundred percent no-question cock-loving gay guy, discovered through my research the amazing secret of having a satisfying sex life with a woman anyway, and you can too!"

A shorthand self-identification which falls on one side of a blurry line is one thing. Implying that others who self-identify in a similar way are necessarily right there on the blurry line along with him - which he does when he talks about sex and intimacy - is likely to result in some pushback.
posted by kyrademon at 12:15 PM on June 10, 2012


interesting. a gay breeder. he's like a double agent.
posted by eustatic

I’m not sure what all the conflict is about.

I can only conclude that it was never really about equality and self-expression, but about attacking traditional relationships and sexual ethics. This, my friends, is why homophobes think that there's a "gay agenda." Because even when there's an example of a happy gay man voluntarily and happily conforming to traditional norms, there's still resistance to it. It's not enough to be honest about your sexuality. Oh, no. You also have to reject traditional sexual ethics.
posted by valkyryn


Mormon Elders-- and valkyryn too, perhaps-- might want to be careful what they wish for.

If, as most people now seem to think, sexual orientation is largely something you're born with, then it probably has a strong hereditary component.

Josh is essentially trying to maintain the status quo ante, in which gay men generally got married and had children anyway because they really had no other option than soldiering on, in the face of the triumph of a culture which values personal choice and happiness more highly than any that came before, by showing that it's possible to exercise the choice to be gay and still happily marry and have children.

And by doing that (marrying and having children), gay men will maintain the proportion of gay people we currently see in the population into succeeding generations.

But if most gays go off into an exclusively gay lifestyle, that will sharply reduce the number of gay people we see in the next generation, and would conceivably continue to reduce those numbers generation after generation, possibly to a very low level.

And that would solve the church's problem!

On the other hand, I'd think it would be a Pyrrhic victory to achieve universal full self-realization for gays, and have that very victory virtually eliminate people like you from the population and extinguish your culture.

Maybe we should all be careful what we wish for.
posted by jamjam at 12:22 PM on June 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


And by doing that (marrying and having children), gay men will maintain the proportion of gay people we currently see in the population into succeeding generations.

That gayness is so explicitly inheritable, like its the color of your eyes, its pretty ludicrous. The last major study on it I saw seemed to show that birth order was a hugely determining factor, ie 4th sons were much more likely to be gay than first sons. There was some speculation about changing hormone levels in utereo between different pregnancies.

Whatever organic cause might be there, its probably much more complex than what you're describing, and could probably never be "bred out" of humanity.
posted by Chekhovian at 12:36 PM on June 10, 2012


ROU_Xenophobe, I guess I just don't agree with you. You seem to be insisting that no possible situation actually dealt with by traditional sexual ethics can be compared to this one, therefore since it's completely hypothetical you're simply unquestionably correct about how such ethics would evaluate it. But I just don't see the principles or cases you apparently do where traditional sexual ethics bases the value of the sex act or the marriage so centrally on attraction that it's the overriding, deal-breaking concern and all other aspects are insignificant. That sounds much more like a modern late-20th-century or 21st-century attitude to me.

In fact, "the terrible perversion of a relationship that should have remained something-like-fraternal" does not at all sound to me like something that traditional sexual ethics would hold as verboten; that actually sounds better to me, more mutually agreeable, than many things traditional sexual ethics countenanced, like people who don't even particularly like each other marrying due to economic need or because there's nobody else in town.

If the latter two examples are what you meant by a case where not being married is impractical, the exception you added in this latest comment, then the suggestion that these sorts of situations with an absence of sexual attraction were condemned still does not seem accurate to me. It's because traditional sexual ethics much more readily accedes to marriages and conjugal duties where everyone involved is miserable and straight-jacketed by circumstance and the demands of faith and societal rules that many people are inclined to think he's putting on a rictus grin rather than being genuinely blissful, whether that's true or not.
posted by XMLicious at 12:37 PM on June 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


But if most gays go off into an exclusively gay lifestyle, that will sharply reduce the number of gay people we see in the next generation

I dunno, gay men in the past were often the "confirmed bachelors" and monks or priests, not necessarily married men. Plus there are now plenty of sperm donors or dads by artificial inception. Which is all before we even address whether being gay is passed from gay parent to gay child - even if it is genetic, it could easily be a recessive gene (genetic combination) that hetero family members pass on.
posted by mdn at 12:57 PM on June 10, 2012


(artificial insemination!)
posted by mdn at 12:58 PM on June 10, 2012


But I just don't see the principles or cases you apparently do where traditional sexual ethics bases the value of the sex act or the marriage so centrally on attraction that it's the overriding, deal-breaking concern and all other aspects are insignificant.

That's not what I'm saying. Most Christian denominations would agree that sex is for different things -- it feels good, it makes babies, it unites couples, etc. If you were Catholic, you'd call the last one a unitive purpose, which is a good enough term. While I don't think many other denominations would come close to the Catholic hierarchy's rigid insistence that all intercourse must activate or be open to both unitive and procreational purposes, I expect most would agree that they are important things and without them sex becomes improper. Part of why a traditional Christian might assert that sex with prostitutes is bad is that neither purpose is active; there is only pleasure and commerce.

What I am saying is that in the absence of mutual desire -- or at least in a situation where the partners believe that mutual desire is absolutely impossible -- the unitive purpose cannot function properly. How can sexual intercourse bring people together who do not and cannot desire each other, and know that no matter how many times they do it or how hard they try or how hard they pray, that mutual desire will -- according to one of the partners himself -- never, ever arrive? How can sex function "properly" when the two partners cannot even desire each other in generic, impersonal terms? No matter their statements right now, sex under these conditions seems likely to me to be actually divisive rather than unitive.

What I am saying is that using ethical concerns that I think valkryn would respond to, he should not support this marriage as any good thing.

like people who don't even particularly like each other marrying due to economic need or because there's nobody else in town

These just aren't relevant any longer. It doesn't matter that people used to be fine with explicitly loveless marriages for political or economic purposes; those purposes have all but evaporated. Further, even if two people marry due to economic need or because there's nobody else in town, the expectation and hope is that over time (and sex, and more sex) their relationship will become one of mutual love and desire. That hope is dead for this couple.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 2:04 PM on June 10, 2012


This is the story of a man who made a really great life-long friend, and then because he could see no better options, married that friend. I wonder if Josh has ever felt the insane, overwhelming soul-dissolving, brain-rewiring passion of romantic love and its physical expression. I can't imagine if he ever does let himself feel that, that his current life will remain intact very long afterwards. And if he doesn't, that's far more sad

Heterosexual married people have that happen to them every day. And AskMeFi is almost unanimous in telling those people to ignore the sudden infatuation and stay with the spouse you've been happily married to all these years.
posted by straight at 2:37 PM on June 10, 2012 [3 favorites]


(I mean it happens to someone out there every day, not that individual people experience it every day of their lives.)
posted by straight at 2:38 PM on June 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


ROU_Xenophobe>Further, even if two people marry due to economic need or because there's nobody else in town, the expectation and hope is that over time (and sex, and more sex) their relationship will become one of mutual love and desire. That hope is dead for this couple.

I don't see why you would say this hope is dead for this couple. I think the point that Josh is trying to make (whether you agree with it or not), is that whereas many/most couples begin their relationship because of sexual attraction, lust, etc., (I have quibbles with how he phrases things, but whatever) for every couple, that's going to fall off eventually. What keeps relationships going long-term (but what is certainly not inevitable)is a love that is beyond (and unrelated to) sexual attraction. Or, in Josh's words:
Here is the basic reality that I actually think many people could use a lesson in: sex is about more than just visual attraction and lust and it is about more than just passion and infatuation. I won’t get into the boring details of the research here, but basically when sex is done right, at its deepest level it is about intimacy. It is about one human being connecting with another human being they love. It is a beautiful physical manifestation of two people being connected in a truly vulnerable, intimate manner because they love each other profoundly. It is bodies connecting and souls connecting. It is beautiful and rich and fulfilling and spiritual and amazing. Many people never get to this point in their sex lives because it requires incredible communication, trust, vulnerability, and connection. And Lolly and I have had that from day one, mostly because we weren’t distracted by the powerful chemicals of infatuation and obsession that usually bring a couple together (which dwindle dramatically after the first few years of marriage anyway). So, in a weird way, the circumstances of our marriage allowed us to build a sexual relationship that is based on everything partners should want in their sex-life: intimacy, communication, genuine love and affection. This has resulted in us having a better sex life than most people I personally know. Most of whom are straight. Go fig.
Pay attention to what he's saying. He's saying that he and Lolly are able to have "mutual love and desire" -- whereas many straight couples who are compatible orientation-wise DON'T -- because his relationship was never based on "visual attraction and lust" or "passion and infatuation"...but rather, it was based from the beginning on "incredible communication, trust, vulnerability, and connection."

Now, as I said earlier, I have quibbles with how he phrases things. He emphasizes the physical attraction associated with sexual orientation (e.g., "the powerful chemicals of infatuation and obsession"..."visual attraction and lust"..."passion and infatuation"), but I would say that sexual orientation too is not about those things...but about "a human being connecting with another human being they love." So I would say that the physical attraction, rather than hindering intimacy, communication, genuine love and affection, encourages us to to pursue it with another.

...but I wouldn't necessarily say that two people couldn't have those things *in absence* of the initial physical attraction spark bring them together in the first place.
posted by subversiveasset at 2:53 PM on June 10, 2012


Here's the problem with paying attention to what he says. He talks about when sex is done correctly. Why should we expect him to know anything about the subject? From that line it seems like his whole perspective is flawed. He knows as much about the subject as I do about thirteenth century romanian love poetry.
posted by allen.spaulding at 3:10 PM on June 10, 2012 [5 favorites]


but you know what? i've read a bit more and

You know, you could also read the whole thing? And then you would be contributing something remotely worthwhile? TIA
posted by Greg Nog at 3:18 PM on June 10, 2012 [4 favorites]


Josh isn't the only man with a 'Beard'...

NYT on 'Brokeback' Marriages
posted by PJLandis at 4:51 PM on June 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


So if a guy tells us that he has amazing sex with a man but swears up and down that he is 100% straight do we say, "OK because sexuality is a spectrum and each person gets to define....blah, blah, blah."?

I read all the comments and I am struck by how many people are defining "gay" and "bisexual" in ways that I don't. Is this a new thing? I'm perfectly on board with the spectrum idea but I'm having trouble with the new definition of gay.

As to Josh and his wife, for me to believe he has an "amazing" sex life I need details. I'm not usually this prurient but without the details I can't figure out how to reconcile 100% gay with amazing sex with the opposite sex. Do they schedule sex? Do they have sex fully clothed? Does he fantasize about men ever?
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 4:54 PM on June 10, 2012


I'm with The Master and Margarita Mix on this: there's an air of trying too hard around his statements, and yes, even a little bit of smugness underneath the counselor-speak. As far as we know, his wife is the only person he's had sex with--full stop--and he's dated only one other woman, who he broke up with quickly. (And speaking of which, it's odd that he hands the post over to his wife for the account of their courtship; I'm not sure why he punts that part of it over to her, unless he wants to save the mental processes that he used to justify/rationalize his decision for his potential clients, if not the nigh-inevitable book/DVD/lecture tour/seminar series.) He simply has no basis for implying that his sex life is somehow better than one founded on actual sexual desire. I've known more than a few people who had to let people around them know that their lives were better in almost every way that mattered, on a regular basis, and to say that they were covering up for some powerful dysfunction is putting it a bit mildly.
posted by Halloween Jack at 6:50 PM on June 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


When I lived in SF in the late 70s I worked in a restaurant on Castro . I cannot tell you the number of middle aged and elderly LDS men who came in on their "secret vacations" from their happy Mormon families back in Utah and Idaho. Many of them talked about the security they had felt for years with women who they had known and loved since college.They loved their religion,too. But they reached a point where it just wasn't enough.
I am generally all for people doing whatever fits them in the partner choosing and sex department, but this couple has been married only ten years and apparently feel that their "unicorn" club could be a franchise for other gay men.
posted by Isadorady at 6:51 PM on June 10, 2012 [3 favorites]


I think this is really hard for a lot of people not because of who Josh is and what he is doing, but because he's doing it publicly, and he's doing it to tell other people that it can be done, and, as a few people have said above, this is likely to be used as a stick to beat people with for a while.

But I think we should separate that discussion from 'Is he telling the truth?' Because I think it's plausible, for a few reasons.

Once, when I was in the military, I was forced to attend a "chaplain's retreat" for single people. It was one of the most terrifying experiences of my life - learning about how people actually thought about these things. At the retreat, one of the reasons they argued for no-sex-until-marriage was, no shit, "because then the married couple will never be sexually unsatisfied."

And that's sad, right? Because there are a lot of super-religious people not having sex until marriage, and thinking, hey, this is the best! The best it can possibly be!

But this doesn't mean Josh isn't having a good time, or enjoying his marriage.

Because sex is a continually expanding experience, and it is a relative one. Your definition of "fantastic sex" is always anchored at the best sex you've ever had. When I was a kid and was masturbating, that was incredible! Fantastic! And then when I got super-cool vibrators, that was incredible! Fantastic! And then when I had sex, it was incredible! Fantastic! (Even though it was just missionary and not very good and the guy didn't spend a lot of time on pleasing me.) Then a few down, I had a guy who was "the best sex I ever had" because he had great refractory powers.

It took me a long time to get to the current point where I have a really high boundary for what fantastic is.

So, yes, I think Josh is absolutely having what he thinks of as "fantastic" sex. It may be more akin to masturbation than what a lot of us think of as sex. Or it may just not be super-pleasurable for him, and he may be focused more on making his wife happy, because he does genuinely love her and wants her to be happy.

That doesn't make him bi. It doesn't mean he's attracted to women. It means he is having what I would call a fairly poor sex life, but it doesn't mean he's necessarily unhappy.

Another thing to consider is that in addition to the sexuality dial, there's also the "desire for sex" dial. Some people have a very high sex drive. Others have a very low sex drive. Josh may have a very low sex drive, which might be why he hasn't felt this is terrible. I don't know. But I can't judge him.

I am sad for Josh, because I think that he could have a much better life. I don't think he's unhappy, exactly, but I think that he could be happier - if only people didn't have awful prejudices, and religious ideas that make them do awful things to other people. If he didn't have to lose his family. If he believed in surrogates - he could have everything he wants.

But he doesn't - he lives in this world - and for him, he's sacrificing either way, and he's made the best compromise he thinks he can.

It's awful, and sad. I can't really say much more than that, other than it's really depressing, but I don't think he's wrong, persay, any more than hetero couples who get married without having passion are. I'm just sad for him.
posted by corb at 7:24 PM on June 10, 2012 [5 favorites]


Who cares about Josh? Talk about burying the fucking lede. Let me rewrite that headline for you:

WOMAN PERSUADES BEST GAY FRIEND TO MARRY HER, HAVE BABIES

Lolly should write a self-help book. That thing would walk off the shelves.

(Kidding.)

(Mostly.)
posted by rdc at 8:40 PM on June 10, 2012 [15 favorites]


Segundus: "I don't think this is really as strange as all that: I suspect generations of gay men have lived out orthodox straight Christian lives out of principle in the past."

I suspect generations of gay men have lived out orthodox straight Christian lives out of principle in the past, while their peer were watching them. And meeting rent boys and other furtive liars behind the colliseum, in the baths, amongst the park trees, and out back of the barn, when no one who would judge them was watching.

A very few might never, ever have ever acted upon their sexual desires, sure. But allowing sex in your life, just not the kind you want to have, is probably even harder than being celibate.
posted by IAmBroom at 9:05 PM on June 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


motty: "Just where does he get off telling other people what they should and should[n't] do with their lives like that?"

You presume he is genuine and honest.

I presume he is a fraudulent talking point, perpetrated by members of the homophobic Gawd-worshipping Right to allow them to claim that "sinless" homosexuality is possible, just as they pretend that they can "cure" gayness. (Frankly, being married to Michele Bachmann might almost be enough to "cure" my heterosexuality.)
posted by IAmBroom at 9:13 PM on June 10, 2012 [6 favorites]


Maybe our culture should just simultaneously be less repressed and less obsessed about sex.
posted by Apocryphon at 9:52 PM on June 10, 2012


Jamjam, that explanation doesn't work if a "gay gene" is, for example, favorable for one of the parents. I actually vaguely remember a study suggesting mothers of gay men tended to be more fertile and to have more children in general but am on my phone and can't search for it. It could have just been a proposed mechanism. But the point is that gay people don't need to have biokids in order for there to be more gay people, even assuming a straightforward genetic explanation (sort of unlikely, since identical twins are often mismatched in orientation).
posted by en forme de poire at 11:19 PM on June 10, 2012


I'll be really interested in the follow-up story 5, 10, or 20 years from now when his kids are all grown up and the variables have changed.
posted by Doleful Creature at 11:45 PM on June 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


Did anyone else do a doubletake when he was all like, "You mainstream couples are distracted by your chemistry and sexual infatuation. You have know idea what real intimacy and sex are like. Seriously I feel bad for you."

How hipster is that, right?
posted by Hollow at 12:16 AM on June 11, 2012 [8 favorites]


What are his qualifications as a therapist?

He's chosen privilege and that's nice for him, but like many people it's not enough for him to just be happy with his own decisions. He wants other people to validate them, and justify them. And I think, given the therapist thing, mostly what he wants is the reassurance that comes from having other people copy your plan. If he can convince other gay men to marry women, then he won't have to be a unicorn anymore.
posted by harriet vane at 2:54 AM on June 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


I've been reading a lot of Patrick Dennis lately. He is a textbook case of a married man with kids leaving his family to become part of the Greenwich Village gay community. He drank/gave away the millions he made from his books and at the end of his life was a butler for Ray Kroc, the owner of MacDonalds. He found happiness, I think, but it came at a huge price.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 6:12 AM on June 11, 2012


You presume he is genuine and honest.

I presume he is a fraudulent talking point,

Yeah, and that is why you are not worth taking seriously. If you're going to presume that someone is lying on the basis of you just know that he must be, you're not going to contribute much of interest.
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 6:44 AM on June 11, 2012 [4 favorites]


jamjam: "On the other hand, I'd think it would be a Pyrrhic victory to achieve universal full self-realization for gays, and have that very victory virtually eliminate people like you from the population and extinguish your culture."

That's a rather naive understanding of genetic evolution. Not every genetic adaptation is successful because it encourages the survival of the particular individual; the argument that homosexuality can't be genetic because it would be bred out of our species is analogous to the argument that drone bees must "choose their lifestyle", because if their roles were supported by genetic markers they couldn't reproduce them.

(Drone bees are also selected by a diet choice while in the pupal stage, but there is absolutely a genetic structure guiding their development into neutered adults.)
posted by IAmBroom at 7:13 AM on June 11, 2012


ThatFuzzyBastard: "Yeah, and that is why you are not worth taking seriously. If you're going to presume that someone is lying on the basis of you just know that he must be, you're not going to contribute much of interest."

Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof.
posted by IAmBroom at 7:14 AM on June 11, 2012 [3 favorites]


Let's see, he's been married for 10 years and just came out the other day. Don't you all think it's plausible that there's another post coming down the road "How I have gay sex on a regular basis but Lolly is totally cool with it because she knows I come home to her."? Yeah, it's on the horizon.
posted by Kokopuff at 7:39 AM on June 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


I don't know this guy's real feelings, so I can't speculate, but fuck it I will anyway.

I think because of his Mormon programming, he's in love and satisfied with the idea of having "normal" procreative sex with his wife, because it satisfies God. In a way, and probably in his mind, he's really fucking God, who we all know has a big swinging dick. I don't think his "satisfaction" with his sex life has anything to do with his wife's vagina.
posted by HumanComplex at 9:26 AM on June 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


Alan Jacobs on this story:

The really interesting thing about the story has nothing to do with homosexuality, but with the possibility that our society has the logic of attraction all backwards: we start with sexual desire and hope to generate other forms of intimacy from that, but this model suggests that it could make more sense to start with the kind of intimacy that is more like friendship than anything else, and to trust that sexual satisfaction will arise from that.

When we read Jane Austen novels we think that the attraction between the protagonist and her beau had to have been primarily sexual but the topic just couldn’t be broached in those prudish days, but what if that’s just our narrowly sexual cultural formation talking?

posted by straight at 9:30 AM on June 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


There, but for the grace of God, go I. I'm just another homosexual like him. But I made the other choice. It's not impossible I could have made his choice. Except for the part where my father was the opposite of Josh's father. Given my stra8 father was such an asshole about it, no way was I going to be an asshole like him.

I hope Josh didn't trade his soul for an empty life of acceptable symbols.
posted by Goofyy at 9:34 AM on June 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


Yeah, and that is why you are not worth taking seriously. If you're going to presume that someone is lying on the basis of you just know that he must be, you're not going to contribute much of interest.

ThatFuzzyBastard, I can't take at face value somebody who comes out with this klanger: I am happy every single day.

We don't even need to address his gayness to question his credibility. Have you ever met a single sane person who claimed to be happy every day? Either I've been hanging with the wrong crowd, or he's the first of his kind on earth (an actual unicorn), or IAmBroom's simpler explanation: he's lying to himself or to us, or both.
posted by amorphatist at 9:39 AM on June 11, 2012


but this model suggests that it could make more sense to start with the kind of intimacy that is more like friendship than anything else, and to trust that sexual satisfaction will arise from that.

Well, hey then, homosexuality should be a perfect answer. It's often easier to get along and understand people of your own gender, and you can just let sexual satisfaction arise over time, once the friendship is deep enough.
posted by mdn at 9:49 AM on June 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


Alan Jacobs and other people (including many on this thread) are extrapololating from their own heterosexual experience about how it just might be possible for Weed to be happy as a gay man in a mixed-orientation marriage. It all makes sense on paper, but it ignores the fact that such logic and every possible twisty permutation of it has been applied by thousands of gay people who've attempted mixed-orientation marriages. These people (and their ex-spouses) are the best ones to speak to how well it ultimately works out. The thing I find galling about Weed (and the discourse around his post) is how unextraordinary his story is. Maybe he's really the first Mormon man to admit via the internet that he's gay and married and trying to make it work and that right now it's going really well, but he is not some pioneer. On the contrary, his is a well worn path. There is absolutely nothing in his story that makes me think it's going to lead someplace new.
posted by Wordwoman at 10:06 AM on June 11, 2012 [4 favorites]


Actually, Alan Jacobs is saying, Hey, maybe heterosexuals can learn something from this guy (although I think mdn's comment shows few heterosexuals would be willing to follow the logic all the way).

I think what some people mean when they fret about homosexuals threatening the institution of marriage is that gay marriage seems to be the final nail in the coffin for the idea that marriage could thrive in the absence of sexual attraction. But that idea is pretty dead already, at least in this culture.
posted by straight at 11:22 AM on June 11, 2012


amorphatist: " or he's the first of his kind on earth (an actual unicorn)"

Wow, interesting point. He took as a symbol of his life story something that doesn't actually exist, no matter how much one might hope it does.
posted by IAmBroom at 11:57 AM on June 11, 2012 [3 favorites]


I know I couldn't suppress my heterosexuality for 10 years.

You don't know any real-life 40-year-old virgins? A.C. Green did it forever....

It is an interesting story, and good on him and her for making whatever crazy life they want work, but ...

There is absolutely nothing in his story that makes me think it's going to lead someplace new.

Yeah, I can't help but think that one day this family will be turned upside down.

I have a wonderful sex life.

...

I have an extremely healthy and robust sex life

...

My life is filled with joy. I have a wonderful sex life.

...

It's weird to me that despite the length of this piece and its relentless quasi-frankness and positivity, he never addresses the elephant in the room, which is: Does Josh Weed consider his solution a tenable one for everyone else in his position, e.g. gay people in religions that forbid homosexual relationships?

That's not the elephant in the room for me. The elephant in the room for me is, "yeah, but HOW DO YOU GET OFF?!" In this case, I think additional details are required, if you really care about convincing people (which you may not), though some bones.

For example, "my wife gives awesome blowjobs--I close my eyes and imagine Brad Pitt sucking me off." ... or "my wife wears a strap-on and a Richard Nixon mask" etc.

It just doesn't compute in my wetware that the guy declares himself utterly full-on gay, yet also declares sex with his wife of ten years to be enjoyable.

That being said, everybody I have ever met who has demonstrated a public urge to talk about how satisfying his sex life is has been a liar.

Ding ding ding.

I realize that these are highly personal and possibly embarrassing details and not considered topics of conservation for "mixed crowds" ... but I think if you're making such bold and unusual claims, specific, practical details would help corroborate such claims.

For example, I'm on the flip side of this equation (heterosexual man married to a woman who is probably a lesbian) and for me, I tell her sexy lesbian stories during intercourse (truly hope I am anonymous enough and this is buried far enough down in the thread/site that she never finds this comment ... ). I am still a bit worried about the future though. :(

Good luck, son, but you (we) are swimming against a strong current here. ;)

One of the sad truths about being homosexual human is that no matter what you decide for your future, you have to sacrifice something.

fft.
posted by mrgrimm at 1:26 PM on June 11, 2012 [5 favorites]


I'm also really curious as to what form this incredibly satisfying sex takes. I'd love to hear Dan Savage interview him about the details, but there's no way he'd do the Terri Gross style let-them-stay-in-their-comfort-zone style interview needed to draw Weed out.
posted by benito.strauss at 1:38 PM on June 11, 2012


Wordman: It all makes sense on paper, but it ignores the fact that such logic and every possible twisty permutation of it has been applied by thousands of gay people who've attempted mixed-orientation marriages. These people (and their ex-spouses) are the best ones to speak to how well it ultimately works out.

Why are you pre-selecting for people whose mixed-orientation (or gay woman/gay man marriages, which also happen) have already failed, in deciding whose account you're going to deem credible?

Not all of these marriages fail. Obviously a ton of them do, and having some good data on the percentage that succeed and the percentage that fail would be a useful thing to have, but not all of them fail.

I'm also really annoyed by his stance that he's a pioneer just for the mixed marriage thing, but that doesn't actually speak to the possibility of relationships like these actually working. Which, itself, doesn't actually speak to the moral issue, ie, gay relationships or what he calls the "gay lifestyle" are not wrong, and straight marriage isn't automatically right.

One thing I've thought of since the first time I read this article, is: does anyone else think there is no way he would have done this if any of his wee brood of children had been little boys?

Also, my skin is absolutely crawling thinking about what things are going to be like for any of his little girls who turn out to be lesbians, or worse, trans. I think that could be worse, in a lot of ways, than unreconstructed homophobia and outright rejection/abandonment. At least with all the gay and queer and trans folks I know who went through being kicked out or cut off from their families, eventually they were able to accept themselves and reject the poison they'd been raised with, and move on and build a family for themselves, even if they later reconciled with their parents. Assuming his marriage lasts and they really are the loving, devoted parents they seem to be, I think if I'd grown up in that situation, I'd have killed myself before I hit twenty. I'm lucky enough to have parents who don't care about my partner's genitalia or whether I have kids or what my genetic relationship to my kids is, but I think I would have taken my chances with vicious homophobes over the mindfuck a dad like Joshua Weed.
posted by The Master and Margarita Mix at 1:53 PM on June 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


It just doesn't compute in my wetware that the guy declares himself utterly full-on gay, yet also declares sex with his wife of ten years to be enjoyable. I can see making it work for a little while. Maybe. Though, the gay friends of mine who had, at some point in their lives, tried to be "normal" and make it with a woman, to a man, report an utter failure to perform.

What I read was that his view of sex with his wife is more like masturbation + emotional intimacy. Putting it bluntly, he probably doesn't masturbate, and so when the fires get to be too much to bear, he just cuddles with the wife and humps the wet spot.

It's probably not unlike a lot of other long term relationships where the attraction to the partner has waned, and the partners hold their nose and go through the motions to get their rocks off.

In fact, and I absolutely loathe this expression FWIW, it sounds like he is saying "everyone is pink on the inside," and there are more important things to him.
posted by gjc at 3:36 PM on June 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


I am happy every single day. My life is filled with joy. I have a wonderful sex life.

*Said in monotone while staring into a mirror with a single tear rolling down cheek*
posted by jnnla at 3:57 PM on June 11, 2012 [5 favorites]


...oh but also - seriously, the only thing I remotely care about in this whole clusterfuck is what he tells his clients and how his experience affects other people. As already noted, this guys story will be used as another "the gay can be cured" talisman by the conservative crowd with a fix-the-gay agenda. Dude has no control over that though...what he does have control over is how he might guide troubled gay folks who come to see him...and if he tries to guide all of them in his direction I think he is trouble. Otherwise he seems pretty genuine, but I think this is a textbook case where religious beliefs are clouding the well and making things more difficult than they have to be...and I do agree with another poster regarding this being some bizarro marketing thing for his services. Red flags have been triggered.

...also...I poked around his site and this dude has a serious preoccupation with "unicorns" he mentions the word everywhere. This is also a gem from the following blog entry: http://www.joshweed.com/2010/11/celebrity-crush.html

Wife loves black men and bites her lip visibly whenever a black man sings on any TV show. I'm pretty sure that secretly she wishes I were black. Or at least part black.

No dude, I'm pretty sure she secretly wishes you were straight so she could feel desired the way a straight man can sometimes desire a woman...but I don't know you people or your life. Whatever.
posted by jnnla at 4:14 PM on June 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


I think what some people mean when they fret about homosexuals threatening the institution of marriage is that gay marriage seems to be the final nail in the coffin for the idea that marriage could thrive in the absence of sexual attraction. But that idea is pretty dead already, at least in this culture.

I don't. I expect nearly all people who make that claim mean one of three things.

(1) "Fags are gross."
(2) "I don't want the same word for what we have and what THEY do."
(3) Occasionally, the "I am a normal straight guy. Like all straight guys, I constantly crave cock..." thing.

The number of people who say that and mean what you said could, I expect, be counted on the fingers of a mutilated hand.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 6:04 PM on June 11, 2012 [4 favorites]


Dan Savage on this topic: "By Josh Weed's logic, straight guys who want truly amazing, transcendent sex lives should marry gay men, right? "
posted by smartypantz at 7:25 PM on June 11, 2012 [9 favorites]


The number of people who say that and mean what you said could, I expect, be counted on the fingers of a mutilated hand.

Pff. I can give you the names of a whole lot more people than that whose thinking about the issue is basically what I described.
posted by straight at 7:58 PM on June 11, 2012


Upon rereading, I feel he's possibly got a little histrionic personality disorder, with a healthy dose of relationship related Dunning-Kruger. Something strikes me as awfully strident about him, a little too strident to believe him.

"I'm 100% GAY! But I have a wife. AND I AM SO HAPPY! I find men sexy. BUT SEXY TIMES WITH MY FEMALE WIFE ARE THE MOST AWESOME EVER!"

Sorry to quote Katy Perry, but this came right to mind.

"Cause you're hot then you're cold
You're yes then you're no
You're in and you're out
You're up and you're down
You're wrong when it's right
It's black and it's white..."

Sorry I know the song, but I used to work somewhere where they played this stuff on the radio all the time...

And I do understand the spectrum of sexuality is infinitely varied, and our need for labels quite frankly sucks, but, to paraphrase...

"Gay. You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means. "

And, upon the fact he is a counsellor? Smells of Pepsi Blue.
posted by Samizdata at 9:33 PM on June 11, 2012


When I look at this, I take a deep breath and remind myself of the growing ranks of mormons who have decided to go the route of "accepting the gay and all that it entails" (exhibit a and b) instead of "fighting the gay." My hope is that, eventually, there will be no pressure to become unicorns as the only route to reconcile orientation and faith. And gender orientation will enter the conversation. It's worked for Josh and Lolly. And men who kiss men also complain of near-guilt-inducing happiness with the love(s) of their life and adorable children (a charming triad of husbands comes to mind).
posted by Leucistic Cuttlefish at 11:09 PM on June 11, 2012


When we read Jane Austen novels we think that the attraction between the protagonist and her beau had to have been primarily sexual but the topic just couldn’t be broached in those prudish days, but what if that’s just our narrowly sexual cultural formation talking?

Jane Austen was a romantic novelist, and romance very much does have a sexual component event if it's a laced-up-and-hiding-behind-a-fan type sexuality. Ask any nine year old Justin Bieber fan. She may not know what sex actually is, but that doesn't mean her infatuation isn't sexual. Ask any woman in love with Mr Knightley or Mr Darcy.

What Josh Weed is really discounting here is the idea that romantic love is necessary or even desirable for marriage, and in that respect he's far more radical than any in-love gay couple hoping to marry, at least when it comes to the Western tradition.
posted by Summer at 2:57 AM on June 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


The Bible says it's wrong to do sex against one's nature. Plenty folks just assume that "nature" means straight. What if it means nature? As in, each according to her own kind?

It's not like I haven't heard this argument used before. It certainly seems more sincere. Definitely more compassionate for all involved.

We know that God loves us and wants us to be happy. Otherwise, yeast, and therefore, beer, would not exist. Maybe we're also supposed to just chill on other folks being different, and just be happy when different folks get to be happy in their way.
posted by Goofyy at 3:01 AM on June 12, 2012


Oh, wrong proof. I forgot that Mormons think they are better than Jesus, and forbid drinking alcohol.
posted by Goofyy at 3:03 AM on June 12, 2012


ThatFuzzyBastard, I can't take at face value somebody who comes out with this klanger: I am happy every single day.

We don't even need to address his gayness to question his credibility. Have you ever met a single sane person who claimed to be happy every day?


Actually, religious people typically report higher levels of personal happiness, with Mormons reporting the highest. This is one of those things about religious people---along with faster recovery from medical trauma and addiction and higher levels of charitable giving---that us non-religious folks could learn to emulate.

You're never going to learn anything if you only listen to yourself.
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 7:34 AM on June 12, 2012


Actually, religious people typically report higher levels of personal happiness, with Mormons reporting the highest.

I guess all those antidepressants are working, then.
posted by Sys Rq at 8:00 AM on June 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Goofyy: "The Bible says it's wrong to do sex against one's nature. "

Citation? I'd love to have it, if that's accurate.
posted by IAmBroom at 8:11 AM on June 12, 2012


faster recovery from medical trauma

That abstract was very confusing -
Those with stronger religious beliefs subsequently had fewer complications and shorter hospital stays, ...
Attendance at religious services was unrelated to complications but predicted longer hospitalizations.
Prayer was not related to recovery.
Depressive symptoms were associated with longer hospital stays.


Does that mean people with stronger beliefs do not pray or attend religious services?
posted by mdn at 8:19 AM on June 12, 2012


Who cares about Josh? Talk about burying the fucking lede. Let me rewrite that headline for you:

WOMAN PERSUADES BEST GAY FRIEND TO MARRY HER, HAVE BABIES

Lolly should write a self-help book. That thing would walk off the shelves.

(Kidding.)

(Mostly.)
posted by rdc at 5:40 AM on June 11 [12 favorites +] [!]


This right here.
Josh made his choice and that's great or whatever. But the people that are going to read too much into this, hoping this happens to them are not the poor mothers with gay children, but those women who exclusively hang out with gay male friends, secretly hoping that one of them will marry her and they'll have cute kids together and everything will be picture perfect. ("So, when we're both 40 and haven't found anyone let's marry, ok?!?"). This story is detrimental to those confused women, not to gay kids who have plenty of support groups. Happily marrying your gay best friend is dangerous wishful thinking.
posted by ruelle at 8:50 AM on June 12, 2012


Pff. I can give you the names of a whole lot more people than that whose thinking about the issue is basically what I described.

Okay, but it's a strange, strange thing to think.

I mean, for one thing, legal same-sex marriage would open more doors for asexual marriage, not close them down.

For another, it's weirdly antibiblical. If you aren't sexually attracted to someone, why marry them? Why not live in chaste community with them and maybe other people you're not attracted to, like Paul says is better?
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:59 AM on June 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


Actually, religious people typically report higher levels of personal happiness, with Mormons reporting the highest.

Actually, the article you link to says that Jewish people report the highest level of happiness...

Utah Happiest State in Nation

"The postcard image of Utah is a state of gleaming cities, majestic mountains and persistently smiling people. But new research shows a very different picture of the state, a snapshot of suicide and widespread depression."

Utah leads the nation in suicides for males 15-24. "Deadly taboo: Youth suicide an epidemic that many in Utah prefer to ignore"

Why high antidepressant use in Utah?

Money quote: "Perhaps one of the reasons the residents of Utah lead the nation in the use of antidepressants is that since they are generally more educated and aware of the symptoms and treatments of depression, they are more likely than the residents of other states to seek medical treatment."

If it weren't so horribly sad, I'd laugh.
posted by mrgrimm at 1:08 PM on June 12, 2012 [5 favorites]


The Bible says it's wrong to do sex against one's nature. Plenty folks just assume that "nature" means straight.

Huh? Most anti-homosexual crusaders point to Leviticus 18:22, i.e. "'Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman" etc.

Goofyy: "The Bible says it's wrong to do sex against one's nature. "

Citation? I'd love to have it, if that's accurate.


I suppose the Bible money quote there would be 1 Corinthians 6:9, "Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders."

If you take "sexually immoral" (other translations use "fornicators" or "people who continue to commit sexual sins") to mean performing "sex against one's nature" I suppose that's it. (Though "sex against one's nature" or "sexual sins" are pretty nonsensical.)
posted by mrgrimm at 1:13 PM on June 12, 2012


For another, it's weirdly antibiblical. If you aren't sexually attracted to someone, why marry them?

If you're just talking about the Bible, then the most common reason you see people getting married was because a girl's father gave her to a man. But if you're not a fundamentalist, there's a lot more to Christian thought and teaching about marriage than just quoting Bible verses.

But either way, the idea that the mutual sexual attraction and satisfaction of the couple is the primary reason for marriage and the primary indicator of the health and success of a marriage is, I think, pretty recent, and at odds with most Christian thought and teaching about marriage. I'm not saying it was unimportant, just that it didn't have the primary place it does in our society now.
posted by straight at 1:39 PM on June 12, 2012


I know. But it seems hard to get around the idea that unmarried chastity is better than marriage is better than burning with passion. So what purpose does marriage, as opposed to unmarried chastity and Christian community, serve when it's not even an alternative to burning with passion?

I mean, we're not talking here about someone who isn't attracted to their spouse any more and leaves or tries to trade him/her in for a newer model, or someone who's insisting that their spouse perform some act they really don't want to, or anything like that. We're not talking about someone leaving their spouse to join a monastic order. We're not talking about anything that might happen or develop over the course of a marriage.

We're talking about a couple where the man says "I have zero lust/passion/whatever for you (or anyone like you) and will never have more than that. Therefore, let us marry and have sex together."

That seems pretty fucked-up to me in this context, especially as an alternative to unmarried chastity.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 2:39 PM on June 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


Or, if you want to get more specific:

valkryn: this is a great traditional couple and you liberals only dislike it because you dislike traditional sexual values

me: under some ethical/religious principles I think you subscribe to, these people should not have gotten married. They should have lived in unmarried chastity. Therefore, you shouldn't like it either.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 2:53 PM on June 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


ROU_Xenophobe, if you're really hung up on that one comment Paul made in 1 Corinthians, most scholars think Paul's advice was intended for that particular situation rather than as a general rule of life for all Christians, that Paul saw them as living in a time of upheaval--in which there would be persecution and Christ might return any day--that was unsuited to starting new families. (It's possible he was familiar with Jesus' warnings about the fall of Jerusalem: "Woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing infants in those days!")

You claim Christianity would frown on a marriage not founded on sexual attraction, but Christianity hasn't traditionally frowned on arranged marriages (some of which, historically, must've included people who were homosexual).

So what purpose does marriage, as opposed to unmarried chastity and Christian community, serve when it's not even an alternative to burning with passion?


The guy says a reason he had for getting married is he wanted to have a family, to have children. He couldn't get that from living in chaste Christian community.

Also, you're looking at things only from the man's perspective. The way they tell the story, they were good friends, and she had the hots for him. One hopes she's getting some sexual satisfaction from the marriage. It's possible she could've found someone else to marry who wasn't gay, but maybe not. Not everyone who wants to can.
posted by straight at 3:46 PM on June 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Goofyy: "The Bible says it's wrong to do sex against one's nature. "
IAmBroom: Citation? I'd love to have it, if that's accurate.


I think what Goofyy's pulling from here is Romans 1, 26-7: For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections, for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature. And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.
posted by KathrynT at 4:03 PM on June 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


ROU_Xenophobe, if you're really hung up on that one comment Paul made in 1 Corinthians

Less hung up on it than trying to use it against valkryn. I'll admit that I don't take Paul's pronouncements about sex terribly seriously and would rather that he just find some nice man to take up with, but I do find it baffling that theologically conservative Christians would support this as a good thing. Except as a political tactic to marginalize gays, anyway.

Myself, I find it weird and creepy, and to the extent that their sex life means basically using each others' body to masturbate with, I think that's wrong (treating people as means rather than ends).

You claim Christianity would frown on a marriage not founded on sexual attraction

No, I'm claiming that Christianity would prefer chaste companionship to specifically and freely choosing to marry and have sex with a gay man, in the absence of any pressing legal, social, political, or economic reason to do so.

And, more specifically, I'm not claiming that it would -- history is full of things Christianity has condoned or performed that it ought not have -- but that it ought to frown on marrying gay men to straight women, or straight men to lesbians.

The guy says a reason he had for getting married is he wanted to have a family, to have children. He couldn't get that from living in chaste Christian community.

I can think of at least one person back in NC who was living in chaste Christian community along with her kids. Granted he'd only have the choice of adoption, if the local Mormons haven't rendered that impossible.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 6:18 PM on June 12, 2012


Granted he'd only have the choice of adoption

An overwhelming majority of people prefer to have children with their own genetic material rather than adopting. He's hardly weird for wanting that.

I find it weird and creepy, and to the extent that their sex life means basically using each others' body to masturbate with

It seems to me you're making an unwarranted assumption that you understand how this works for them.

Do you find it creepy if a person is not at all in the mood for sex, but freely offers to help their spouse get off as a way of saying, "Hey, I still love you even if I don't feel sexy right now"? It seems possible there might be a similar dynamic going on with them.

I'm claiming that Christianity would prefer chaste companionship to specifically and freely choosing to marry and have sex with a gay man

Again, it's hard to talk about this without the specter of it being used as a stick to hit gay and lesbian people. There may not be a conservative Christian vision of marriage that you wouldn't see as homophobic. But if there is such a thing, I think part of it is the idea that sexual fulfillment--particularly as popularly understood-- is not the sine qua non of marriage. That there are other goods that make a marriage worthwhile even in the absence of sexual fulfillment. They would see marriage as a promise that two people make to a community (and to God), to fulfill a particular role in that community, a promise which is as or more important then any promises they make to each other.
posted by straight at 8:35 PM on June 12, 2012


Do you find it creepy if a person is not at all in the mood for sex, but freely offers to help their spouse get off as a way of saying, "Hey, I still love you even if I don't feel sexy right now"?

I think there's a bright, bright line between "don't feel sexy right now" and "don't feel sexy right now, haven't ever felt sexy, and will not ever do so to the same degree that a straight man doesn't get sexy for other men." I think this is a difference of type, not degree.

This is really a lot stroppier than I really feel.

I could certainly imagine a theologically conservative Christian saying that gay men just have to remain celibate. It would be cruel, but seems consistent to me. I could even imagine a theologically conservative Christian saying that a gay man should marry a woman and hope and pray every day to wake up straight; it would be horribly misguided but doesn't seem inconsistent to me. But saying that gay men should just up and marry women anyway and be gay husbands to their wives, and regularly have sex with them, until death do them part... not even to try to be straight, to be "ex-gay," or anything like that, strikes me as inconsistent, and in some ways violative of what I think of as traditional understandings of the role of sex in marriage.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:47 PM on June 12, 2012


I’m a Mormon, Not a Christian
posted by homunculus at 12:21 PM on June 13, 2012 [3 favorites]


Myself, I find it weird and creepy, and to the extent that their sex life means basically using each others' body to masturbate with, I think that's wrong (treating people as means rather than ends).

I really don't understand this. Can you explain? Is the "wrong" part that he is getting off (supposedly) with someone he's not attracted to "physically"? it's clear he is emotionally attracted to her. ...

I have no clue what "treating people as means rather than ends" is supposed to mean.
posted by mrgrimm at 12:29 PM on June 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


Obviously there are versions of conservative Christianity that would probably say that a gay man ought to do that (or worse). I'm just talking about a version of Christianity that would say there's nothing wrong with what this man is doing. That it's okay to marry for companionship and to raise children instead of for sexual fulfillment.
posted by straight at 12:54 PM on June 13, 2012


What's with everyone taking it at face value that a gay man who is married to a gay man can't have biological children of his own? I mean, I know several that do. You need someone willing to do you a really big favor, sure, but it's hardly impossible.
posted by kyrademon at 4:52 PM on June 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


Max Perry Mueller has this article up in Slate.
posted by BibiRose at 8:37 AM on June 14, 2012


And this is a similar LDS marriage from the wife's viewpoint
posted by Isadorady at 9:42 AM on June 14, 2012 [5 favorites]


Wow, thanks for posting this, Isadorady. I'll be perusing the comments and the links all day. There's at least one more family blogging about their experiences.
posted by BibiRose at 11:10 AM on June 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


What's with everyone taking it at face value that a gay man who is married to a gay man can't have biological children of his own? I mean, I know several that do. You need someone willing to do you a really big favor, sure, but it's hardly impossible.

Alternately, you do the really big favor for someone else. I know of several gay men with biological children.

Both powerful links, Isadorady and BibiRose. The second is tough--so hard to see such pain. He's both suicidal for not recognizing his sexuality but at the same time, so proud that he didn't break his marriage vows. What a fucking mindfuck these religions are.
posted by mrgrimm at 11:33 AM on June 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


EXPOSED: Opposite-Married Gay Mormon Is Actually An Ex-Gay Reparative Therapist
posted by Carol Anne at 11:54 AM on June 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


Ha. Well fuck that shit then.
posted by Artw at 11:56 AM on June 18, 2012


This is my shocked face.
posted by maxwelton at 12:15 PM on June 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


Wait, wasn't his clinical practice made clear in the original? Here:

my clinical work as a therapist is taking me in the direction of helping clients who struggle to reconcile their sexual orientation with their religious beliefs.

I don't think there's anything more incriminating than that original statement in the link posted today, though I do think that the original statement is, itself, fairly fucked up.

There was actually a comment early on in this thread that quoted the above statement above the guys clinical practice (with the appended judgment "This man and his religion are dangerous to humanity", though it got deleted.)
posted by Greg Nog at 12:52 PM on June 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


I knew it, I KNEW IT!

It all sounded too good to be true.

And, for those of you that wish to see the rare and mysterious egress, step right over there through the door marked Egress...
posted by Samizdata at 12:36 AM on June 19, 2012


Not new information, exactly, but the contrast between the blog-- which he calls a "humor blog" in his ad-- on the one hand, and his ad and the Lifestar ad on the other, is pretty funny considering the aggregate is the public face of a therapist. And that stuff about "is taking me in the direction..." makes it seem like his practice is evolving naturally along with his therapeutic interests, not like he's signed up with a group. Of course, we all know he's signed up with the Mormons but I think most people are prepared to believe there's variety within a religion. That Lifestar outfit clearly has a pretty strict line to toe. The blog makes it sound like he's a family therapist who probably tries to nudge you in the direction of the church's practice, not someone who works in a boot camp.

I can't help wondering whether he lost the previous job that was mentioned in his materials, and now he's got this other gig and suddenly he can't fly under the radar with his sexuality any more. or it's more marketable if he doesn't. So they decided to package it this way.
posted by BibiRose at 8:34 AM on June 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


Born Evil: That's What the Mormon Church Taught Me as a Brown and Female Child. The daughter of a Navajo mother and a white father tells a painful story of racism and sexism in the Mormon Church.
posted by homunculus at 11:20 AM on June 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


Romney boosts liberal Mormons: With their religion front and center, progressive Latter-day Saints are becoming bolder about speaking out
posted by homunculus at 10:49 AM on July 1, 2012


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