Saturday, June 26, 2010

A response to: meeting same-gender intimacy needs

Back in May, Active Gay Mormon blogged about Meeting My Same-gender Intimacy Needs. I wrote the following to him, but it was too lengthy to fit as a reply, so I've posted it here.

"Hey, this is a great post. Here's my take (in red) on each of your items;

(1) Playing sports with other men -- anyone up for baseball, football, basketball? I've only done this with other SSA guys and we were all pretty new to it, but I particularly enjoyed softball.

(2) Lifting weights with a buddy -- feeling support, feeling strong, feeling confident. Have done it as part of an exercise class. Didn't push any buttons for me.

(3) Going on a trip -- whether it is short day trip, a hike, or a 7 day cruise with three friend. Love these. They've been rare in recent years since my sons got their Eagle Scout awards.

(4) Getting together with the priesthood brothers to help someone move, (I think we all underestimate the power of service). Amen. Again I haven't done this in a few years since I was "promoted" into the HP group, but I agree it's a great way to feel connected and that you're making a difference for someone.

(5) Talking it up with a friend while taking a shower together in the public shower room at the gym after working-out (non-sexual nudity doesn't have to be a bad thing). Believe it or not I've done this literally hundreds of times over the past decade. Here's the math: At just two workouts a week, 48 weeks a year, over a decade, that's at least 960 times that I've changed into athletic attire, worked out, showered (usually with a buddy or someone I've gotten to know) and the dressed and returned my non-training life. The first time wasn't easy, but within a week or so, my anxiety gave way to appreciation.

(6) Going out and enjoying a nice dinner (But what is better than the midnight dinner and chat at Village Inn or your faviorite local dive) Haven't done this is years, but have good memories of doing such things as a younger man, particularly in college.

(7) Going camping -- I look forward to the father and sons outing every year. Enjoy this while your sons are young, believe me the years fly by.  

(8) Hugging and other gestures of physical affection -- what can I say it feels great. I would love to hear more about this. None of my straight friends are much into hugging. I'd love it (to give and receive), but I don't know how to initiate it. Any suggestions?

(9) Shaving -- shaving with a friend at the same time at the gym, getting ready to start my work day. Have done this a few times, usually on the lunch hour with a buddy when we both got too busy to shave before work. Agreed this is a nice male bonding activity. 

(10) Massage - what a great way to bond through non-verbal communication, non-sexual touching has tremedous healing power. I agree massage is great--that's why I have no regrets about the bucks I've spent with licensed massage therapists over the years. I'd like to ask my friends to do this, but again haven't figured out the approach. How do you approach it?

(11) Priesthood Meeting -- Going to Stake Priesthood Meeting or General Priesthood Meeting with your priesthood brothers (its even more intimate, when a friend sitting next to you, puts his arm around you, or rubs your back while listening to the speakers) I'd love that, but I'm usually sandwiched in between my sons and that has it's own warm and fuzzy aspect. But again my question is, how do you make this happen, or is it just a spontaneous gift?

(12) Watching Sports -- I love when my Bishop invites me over to watch sports with him and his sons! It doesn't getter better than that. I'm better at watching and understanding sports than I used to be, but I'd be there for the male bonding, not really because I'm a big sports fan.

(13) House projects -- whether its your house or a friends, getting those power tools in your hands destroying and building is great. Another amen on that one. I loved it when my sons and their uncles and I all chipped in on a home improvement project for an extended family member a few years ago. 

(14) Serving in the church -- I look forward to meeting with the Bishopric each Sunday to discuss the needs of the ward to minister together and administer. I used to be a clerk and I really miss that weekly contact with the Bishopric and the other clerks. Again savor it while you've got it. 

(15) Spending time with family -- I love it when my brothers and I get together and do guy things. Being without brothers, I've had to adopt a few. Participating in activities together with them, especially in the great outdoors, is one of the greatest things I can think of.


  1. With commuting and long work days, I'm away from home at 60-65 hours a week (including all day today, Sunday). My wife gets upset when I spend any extra time away from home. Yoga, home teaching, whatever.

  2. There are lots of positive ways to meet those "same-gender intimacy needs" and this list is a good start. I am constantly searching for ways to "just be".

    Yesterday at church I was accused again of being "a hugger". It wasn't meant in a negative way, but I wish I weren't labeled as a "hugger", but as one who "just is who he is".

    How I wish for a world where such things didn't need to be questioned as to the intent of intimacy - but that they just were / are.

  3. Santorio: Thanks for the perspective. There was a time in my life when I felt I needed to be with my spouse every possible moment. I don't think she expected that but I somehow expected that of myself. We've both been better off as we've given each other spaces in our togetherness.

    Beck: I would love for you to add to the list. If not here perhaps on your own blog where there are more readers and responders. ;) I'm glad you just were/are, too, and that furthermore you is what you is, and you ain't what you ain't, cause what you is is great and what you ain't ain't. :D

  4. I will give that some thought. Thanks for your ingenious response to my comment!

  5. Some good, thoughtful comments, but to be honest I'm never quite sure what to make of lists like these. Guys like doing things together, but it seems like defining intimacy downward to place sports or working on projects or attending meetings as intimacy, especially if intended as a substitute for the type of intimacy that satisfies the heartstrings in ways that go beyond friendship. Sexual orientation is a continuum, I suspect people for whom this offers an outlet are more bisexual than gay and are able to connect on an intimate, emotional level with their wives (even if imperfectly). They should count their blessings.

  6. Hi, I need your help. I am the wife of a man I believe 99.9% to be a gay mormon. We have been married for 20+ yrs and I need to talk or share with someone who is gay, mormon and married or has been married. Please can you help me? I have been keeping this secret for so long.

  7. I'm happy to help, if I can. I am the bi-sexual Mormon husband of a woman I know to be 100% heterosexual. We have been married even longer than you. I'm glad you commented here. Feel free to reply as you wish. I have comment moderation on so what you write won't show up here unless I approve it. So if you want it to stay confidential, just say so in your response.

  8. I understand so much and yet so little. I am searching for more answers and closure. What would you believe to be the general signs that he is SSA? He is in denial. I have what I believe to me my own theories but....
    And how do you keep your wife feeling like she is important to you? I always knew I was not his number one and that there was something he was keeping from me. I just never wanted to accept what was right in my face screaming at me. I was the wife of the comment from Santorio above. I was very insecure, without realizing it, in my confidence of his need for me or love for me. Of course it didn't help either, that he has never been intimately attracted to me. Silly me, I just thought when we were dating that he had "amazing" self control.
    Signs of MoHo's being SSA?
    Also not sure I am ready for everyone to know my story maybe we should e-mail? Or maybe the men in your place would like to know what it is like to be the wife of a MoHo but from a perspective other than their own wife who loves them, wants to protect the sacred nature of eternal marriage and thus would never want to hurt them? I don't believe anyone who is a practicing LDS would ever want to hurt anyone but sometimes their own hurts cloud their vision.

  9. A commenter wrote: "Not sure I am ready for everyone to know my story maybe we should e-mail?"

    I'm willing to give that a try, however, the email address I have for you is which I don't think will work.

    I wonder what would happen if you talked with your husband along these lines: "I've been reading that male bonding is important to a lot of men. I've wondered if that's true for you? I enjoy the time I spend with the women in my life, but I've wondered if you have enough time with your buddies?"

    How would that go over?

    If you want to truthfully say that you've been reading about male bonding, here are a few links:

    Good luck, let me know your thoughts, if you'd care to.