Well, it looks like it’s been about a month since I last updated. It’s certainly not for a lack of anything to write about. Quite the contrary. There’s almost been too much to write about!
To begin with, I’m currently in Seattle for a short vacation. It has been almost ten years since my last actual vacation, which was in London in 2005 with my friends Mark and Emily. That was my last plane ride as well. So I literally landed here about four hours ago, was very happy when my luggage turned up with me at my destination, and managed to get myself from the airport to the place where I’m staying. This is also my first solo excursion anywhere, so it’s a bit of an adventure!
So I’m sitting in a coffee shop (the one pictured on the right, which is not Starbucks—still haven’t made up my mind just how touristy I’m willing to be… I’ve already made up my mind to skip the Space Needle), and this is the first time I’ve felt like there’s time to actually breathe and gather my thoughts.
As prelude to what I wanted to write about today, last Thursday, my housemates had an acquaintance of theirs, Jacob, over for drinks and conversation. He’s a 23-year-old recent college graduate who used to clean their house several years ago, and who they recently ran into at a local theater event (thus spurring the invitation).
For about a week leading up to his coming over, there were some jesting comments about the possibility of Jacob and me hooking up at some point during the evening. And not without cause.
Prior to moving into their house this summer, this was a fairly common thing in the months following the breakup with Jay (my last boyfriend) in March of 2013. Considering how little and poor the quality of sex I’d been having in the last few months we were together, I felt justified in having a slutty phase to make up for lost time.
In fact, the couple who’d later become my current housemates were incredibly supportive in the months following the breakup. And there were quite a few evenings when I’d be over at their house, and they’d have another single gay guy over, and we’d all have a little too much to drink and I’d end up spending the night with him in one of the bedrooms. Some evenings were more regret-inducing than others.
But shortly after I got laid off from the university job at the end of June in 2013, all of that changed. I’d just moved to the Uptown area of Minneapolis the month before and wasn’t sure when I’d find another job, or how I’d pay bills. It was around this time that I descended into one of the longest and most profoundly depressive periods in my life. I felt unattractive and undesirable in virtually every way possible.
And having nothing but time has a way of bringing to the surface long-buried thoughts.
It was during these months that I realized just how deeply my fundamentalist Christian upbringing had deeply scarred me. In the months that I was working with Sarah, my last therapist, some of this came to light, but it was when I was sitting alone in my apartment, looking through job description after job description, that it really sunk in.
In short, the depression killed my sex drive, or at least that’s how it felt. There were a number of disastrous experiences that also contributed to this, such as an ill-begotten four-way that left me feeling even more dysfunctional and undesirable than ever. Then there was the date from this past May with the bisexual guy who failed to mention before our second date that he’d been thinking about getting back together with his ex-boyfriend. Last I heard, that was what he decided to do.
So all of that is a prelude to last Thursday.
At some point in the evening, my friend Joe texted me this picture:
We used to attend the same church, Grace Church, and it’s a picture of me singing in the worship band. I’m not sure when it was taken, but my guess is somewhere between 2005 and 2007—pre-atheist and definitely pre-coming out.
Maybe it was because I’d had quite a bit to drink at that point, but seeing that picture brought back a wave of painful emotions and memories from that period of my life. Those years were very angry for me, full of despair and hopelessness. I was struggling with my sexuality, still unable to resolve the dissonance between my feelings and my faith.
So perhaps that’s why after my housemate Matt left the steamshower where we retired that Jacob and I went at it. There was no actual sex, but this was the first actual sexual contact of any kind that I’d had in… well, months.
My therapist wasn’t surprised when I mentioned this incident on Monday. Seeing that image was, for lack of a better word, traumatic. That word gets thrown around a little too freely, I think, but given what I’ve been through, this was the revisiting of a traumatic event. And considering how deeply it was connected to my sexuality, it makes sense that I’d attempt to cope with these feelings by acting out sexually with someone with whom I had no history. As a way of trying to establish normality.
I hope that makes sense.
A big reason why I haven’t been interested in sex the last couple months is that, especially after the bisexual guy (who I was getting interested in when he ‘fessed up to not being available after all), it more that I’m not interested in anything that isn’t going to go anywhere. It takes enough energy as is to connect with anyone (sexually or otherwise), and having sex just isn’t as important right now as is building an intimate relationship with someone I care about.
Moral of story: No random hook-ups in Seattle this weekend.