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What is Love? Baby, don’t hurt me.

I’ve had several conversations with friends lately — people who are going through their own personal discoveries later in life. Out of those conversations came a thought which I’m now finally putting into words. I didn’t think Facebook – the land of kitten memes, political rants, and humble brags – was really the right place to have this conversation. And maybe WordPress is also not the right place to have the conversation, but it definitely feels a lot safer than the alternative.

I suppose I could journal about it and keep my thoughts hidden away for years on end with no real conversation started at all — mostly a monologue for my audience. And maybe that will be what this is, if there are no real conversations that come as a result. But with everything happening in our society, I believe it’s an important conversation to have, a different way to think, a different way to be.

I’ll get to my point, since I’m rambling on.

If we weren’t conditioned with the gender norms imposed on us by years and years and YEARS of traditional thought, could we — would we — be more willing to love freely and openly anyone?

Is there something as 100% heterosexuality or 100% homosexuality? Do people really live and or exist in those particular places? Can they say, with 100% certainty, they have never found another person of the same sex attractive? Does that happen?

I identify as a gay man. I have known I was gay since I was probably about five or six, before I could really put a label on it. But even under the circumstances of my coming out and declaring to the world of my love for man-on-man action, I recognize that I’m not 100% gay. I’d say, if I had to put a number on it, I fall somewhere around the 8.5 scale, with 10 being 100% gay and 0 being absolutely heterosexual.

Diving deeper into that, I recognize the beauty within the feminine form and on occasion, when I’m in my moments of self-discovery (re: masturbation), sometimes straight porn does the trick for me. In all fairness, I’m lusting after the man, but the visual stimuli is interesting and can do the trick as well. It’s not always my go-to, but it can work in a pinch.

A conversation with a friend recently as she was describing her daughter’s coming out and her son saying he could love anyone made me think — in this new generation, where it seems labels are completely disregarded and we can love who we love — if our society as a whole had that freedom, would there be more fluidity in the way we love?

Marriage now in the United States is legal between same-sex partners — at least until our idiot president decides to try to do something about it. But what’s to stop two best friends from marrying each other for tax benefits, for friendship benefits? After all, a marriage really was a strategic alliance between families where the betrothed really had no say in the matter at all. All about the business, they say. So, is it possible that could happen again?

Could Susie, lifelong friends with Diane, and who identifies as physically attracted to members of the opposite sex, be inclined to marry that person for the reasons stated above? For health insurance, for tax benefits, for other items? And while intimacy is a part of a marriage, with the rise of poly-amorous and open couples in many of our younger generation, is it possible they can define their relationship to be an intimacy-free marriage? Married in title only?

There are things that do come into play here — if Susie or Diane should fall in love and want to marry another person, they would have to go through the messy separation in order to achieve that goal.

But is it possible Susie and Diane could share some semblance of a physical relationship?

Lest you think this is some weird lesbian fantasy I may have — let me correct you that is not the case at all. It could be the exact same conversation with men./

Joe and Bob have been best friends throughout their entire life. Grade school, middle school, college. Always hanging out together for the good game. For whatever reason, they have been unlucky in love, but determine they care for each other so much, they want to spend the rest of their lives together.

So, do they? Could they? Does it matter?

How long would we have to go before that sort of thinking becomes something more mainstream? “This is my husband, Bob.” “Oh, you’re gay?” “No, just best friends. But we decided this was okay.”

And then, the question comes out of it, does physical intimacy ever come into the equation?

I’ve been rewatching “Will and Grace” since it just landed on Hulu, and they clearly love each other and spend all their time together — though at times it seems their need for a different connection is secondary to that particular bond. Could marriage once again return to the strategic alliance bgetween families? Not necessarily to propagate blood lines but an out-and-out business transaction?

There are so many people who say it’s taking an oath under God, but what if you’re atheist or agnostic? Does that mean your marriage — regardless of whether it is a heterosexual or strictly gay marriage — means any less? Absolutely not, we would all agree. The marriage is still a bond between two people.

So, within this conversation of gender fluidity, love/attraction plays where? Maybe it doesn’t. Maybe we don’t need attraction for marriage.

Another friend is strictly asexual. No sexual desire at all to be with anyone — male or female. In this situation, I could see my friend marrying someone simply for companionship — not of the physical variety but of the friendship, deep-seeded bond for someone.

Then, could/does/would it grow into something attraction? Can you have intimacy without physicality?

I would argue yes, absolutely. Intimate and personal details of another person don’t require you to be having sexual intercourse with them. It makes the intimacy stronger in some cases, but not all. We’ve all read the stories of couples who stayed together for one reason or another, but there is no longer physicality in their relationship and they’re okay with it. It truly becomes about the bond between two people.

So what would it take for our society to move towards the idea that a bond is enough to be able to be together? And not so much what the society says, but the world at large? True, the world doesn’t need to understand or accept such an arrangement. Geez, we can barely agree where people are going to the bathroom. But wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could?

If ultimately, it becomes about the person and not what’s between the person’s legs?

I would say that some of those same-sex friendships is predicated on true feelings of love. Not necessarily physical attraction but a deep-rooted love and care for the other person. Could something like that transcend the physical element? Could it bring elements of the physical into the relationship without it being ruined? Would someone be more open-minded to allowing the physicality in a situation like that?

We have made so many great strides in our country — I wonder where we’re going to go next and what that does for the things that we know.

Is it time to turn them upside down and shake them loose?

Looking forward to reading your comments.

 

 

 

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June 26, 2015 — Complete

Today, the Supreme Court of the United States made history and allowed America to overturn the gay marriage bans that had infiltrated state constitutions and laws for far too long.

Today the Supreme Court of the United States issued an order that said if I choose to marry a man, my partner, that I could, that it was effectively the law of the land.

This morning, I stood in my shower and just beamed from ear to ear, for I thought that this day would come but much, much, much further into the future, when I was old and gray, and perhaps had 15 cats and was living a life of solitude.

Instead, I am in my thirties, and see what so many people had fought for come to fruition.

I’ve always lived my life as an openly gay man, but still there was something missing.

Today, the Supreme Court says that my love is valid, and must be recognized as such.

No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were. As some of the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death. It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves. Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization’s oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right. The judgment of the Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit is reversed. It is so ordered.  –Supreme Court Majority Opinion, Justice Anthony Kennedy

I never needed their validation to love the men I’ve loved, to be a gay man, but it’s nice to know that now there are laws that protect me as opposed to laws that try to squelch and oppress me.

This is truly an historic day, and I am so pleased and proud to be a part of this monumental decision, if only cursory and supporting from the sidelines.

I had no direct impact in the outcome of this case, as many of us didn’t — save for living our lives as authentically and truthfully as we could as proud gay and lesbian, trans and cis-gendered men and women.

Thank you to all who have given so much more so incredibly selflessly to fight for our rights.  As President Obama said, this decision has… “made our union a little more perfect.”