1. How would you describe your sexuality?
Complicated. I don’t believe in labelling sexuality but realise there is a need to know what ‘category’ you fall into when it comes to sex. For the sake of the argument, I am attracted to both sexes – both physical forms of the body please me in different ways. Though I don’t think I could ever fall in love with another guy – it is purely a sexual attraction.
2. How has societal pressures influenced you when it has come to being with partners and sharing with others details about who you have been with?
I grew up in an age where being ‘gay’ or ‘bi’ was simply not talked about. It was however, largely joked about. A homosexual/bi guy in the late 80’s and early 90’s was often labelled as weak, made fun of, seen as anything but a man, too flamboyant and widely ostracised. In the last decade or so, society has become far more accepting of same-sex relationships. Who knows what this can attributed too? Maybe more celebrities are coming out (sport stars/actors etc.), more resources for people to seek information and counseling, the computer age making it easier to chat to others in similar situations and share information/experiences, governments funding specialised support services to stem the number of suicides in young people and acknowledging depression is an illness, the list goes on…
I have a strong core group of friends I see regularly for drinks, barbecues, etc. I am the only single guy in the group (although I had had relationships in the past with women). My friends have tried hooking me up on blind dates with women and while I appreciate they have good intentions, I’m simply over the whole dating thing. I am quite happy being single. The subject of sex rarely comes up and they have given up on trying to hook me up.
I honestly don’t know how they would react if I came out and told them I had been engaging in sex with guys. You have to remember they all grew up in the same era as me and it’s because of this uncertainty I doubt I will ever tell them. I value their friendship deeply and it shouldn’t matter who I have sex with – but I’m scared of losing some of them. Am I lying to my friends? Maybe. But how many people can honestly say they don’t lie to their friend’s, family or partners. Sex is a private thing with me. I would never boast about it to others. And I would rather regret something I did than something I never tried.
3. What is your approach to dealing with people of different sexualities, in particular younger people?
I find speaking to younger gay guys (via a net dating site) incredibly interesting. Through them I am trying to work myself out. I would often have long conversations with them and try to relate their feelings and experiences to what I had experienced at their age. Most just want sex – it’s what their friends are doing and they think they’re being left out. A lot of them are confused about what they’re feeling and hormones have taken over. This uncertainty makes them very vulnerable to others. Given my professional role in society I have to identify this and offer them some precautions and make them aware of services such as Second Story.
4. What is your approach with online social networks, such as dating sites, and do you have issues with the potential dangers or over-sharing your information?
You know, if it wasn’t for the net, I’d probably still be wondering why I’m having these ‘guy crush’ moments. I set up a profile on a gay dating site about four years ago. One of the reasons I did this was to see if there was anyone I knew on it – well, Adelaide is a small place. The other was to actually meet a guy and experiment – to finally find out what it would be like to fool around with another guy discreetly. And there it is – discreet. This one word means a lot. To me it means a lot. Adelaide is a small place and I didn’t want any of my friends to know what I was doing. I would only provide a small amount of information on the profile until I was confident enough as too how much information would get me the most responses. I never provided my occupation in a profile (hate to think how many responses I would attract if I did!) and never uploaded a face picture unless it could be locked/unlocked by me to be shown only to members of my choice.
It’s no secret that some profiles are simply fabricated from start to finish. These are usually the profiles of people with dishonest intentions and are fairly easy to identify.
I would only engage in conversation on another medium such as MSN if I wanted to know more about the other guy I was interested in. I like to character assassinate through questioning and can generally gauge when a guy is being honest through his conversation. I would never meet someone I know or have met before on the street or in general day-to-day life. Having the other guy cam for you is a positive step to ensuring you meet the guy you’re actually chatting to. I would limit the amount of information about me to him until I actually met him face to face. As I said earlier, Adelaide is a small place and you’ll find that someone knows someone that knows you! So limiting the amount of personal information is of some importance to me.
5. What has your experience been with your own sexuality and decisions?
I always had some kind of feelings towards a couple of guys at high school – but always just put it down to a ‘guy crush’ and that I’d get over it. I never did. I had plenty of sexual experiences with women and that generally satisfied me. Growing up through school and in my friend’s social circle, it was simply not cool to like guys sexually. And there was simply no place to seek any help or guidance – it was a difficult time trying to bury these strange feelings. They wouldn’t be strong feelings though. I may be at the beach and see a good looking, toned guy and appreciate his looks, could be a guy walking down the street or a fellow competitor on the sports field. But sometimes the hormones would take over and I would get an erection looking at these guys and get confused because I wasn’t in love with these people. I didn’t recognise that I was actually sexually attracted to them and didn’t know how to handle it.
It would never occur to me that other guys would be in the same predicament but there was simply no way of communicating this to others in a discreet manner. For many frustrating years I would put up with this. I never had the courage to ask a guy if he was interested in me or not – I didn’t really have the confidence to know if I was attractive or not. Then there was the possibility of being knocked out if I asked the wrong guy. And it was too dangerous to go to any of the known gay beats – after all, I wasn’t gay (was I?). Growing up with this hidden feeling about guys was frustrating but it never got the better of me. I was never depressed or felt any less of a man for having these feelings/urges. But keeping them secret couldn’t have been too healthy.
It wasn’t until four years ago when I started using the net to chat to other guys that I realised there are many, many men in the same position as me. I guess I was relieved to hear that other guys had the same sexual feelings towards other men but didn’t know what to do. Some of the guys were even married!?! I have met with a few guys of differing ages for discreet meetings and loved every minute of it. I have even forged a friendship or two out of it. The only regret I’ll ever have is that I wish I had done something about it earlier.
6. Is there anything else you have experienced that you think others would benefit in knowing?
It is very clear that in today’s society that most of us have grown up to accept sexual differences. But there will always be a part of society that will shun same-sex marriages and sexual encounters – whether it be through the way they were brought up, religion or peer group pressures. But today there is no excuse for keeping these feelings to yourself – there are so many resources today it’s not funny. Many schools/universities have support groups, the internet can be a huge source of information and maybe even your own friends can support you.
If your keen on meeting a guy for a hook-up then be cautious at all times. Most dating sites have a list of Do’s and Don’ts when it comes to hooking up but it all comes down to common sense – always go with your gut feeling – it’s generally the right one.