Now that I have your attention, SEX! You know, that thing my blog is inextricably tied up with, because I’m a gay dude and Catholic? Well, I really haven’t felt the need to think about it lately.
This isn’t to say my sex drive has gone down, or that I’m any more chaste now than I was six months ago. But—I don’t know—I’m not worrying about it like I used to. Trying to think my way out of the problem wasn’t getting me anywhere. Which makes sense. Sex is a relational thing (or at worst a simulacrum of relating), and relating to people does take thought but it takes a lot of other things too. Getting stuck in your brain just isn’t productive; up to now, I’ve done it because thinking feels safe and clear to me, whereas feeling is risky and possibly hurtful. I think I’m finally starting to move past that reflexive reaching for the wrong tool.
Part of this comes from working on my next book, of which about the first half is memoir. It may seem (and be) pretentious to write memoirs in your early thirties, but here I am. Point is, both on my own and with help from my writers’ group, I’m revisiting a lot of formative memories. Realizing I was gay at thirteen. My first few terrible experiences coming out, or getting outed. My journey into the Catholic Church. Ex-gay counseling. Depression and cutting. The two different men I fell in love with, and how they each changed me. The times I was raped. I’m doing a lot of processing now that I couldn’t do when I was a teenager, or even in my twenties, because it was all too close or because too much other stuff was happening.
Now, make no mistake, time does not heal all wounds. You might as well say time cooks all food. But time can give you the, uh, time to digest your experiences without hurting yourself further, and to learn ways of coping and understanding that do allow you to heal. I’m not trying to tell any reader You’ll grow out of it, which is honestly insulting—I’m old enough to cringe at every word that came out of my mouth as a fourteen-year-old and I still think teens are unduly disrespected—but I can at least tell you that Right Now doesn’t last forever.
I haven’t reached a place where I know how to have a healthy approach to sex, given everything I’ve been through. But I no longer feel like I’m a bad person or a failure as a Catholic because I haven’t gotten there yet. And this is a good feeling.