Dating and sex are a sort of mine field these days. Perhaps it has always been one of lifes biggest challenges, but there are some serious added complications now: dating apps, STI's, prophylactic medication like prep, drug use, open relating, changing societal standards, social media pressures, confusing topics such as gender identity, preferred intimacy roles, and internalized homophobia.
At least its legal to be gay now right?! In a very short time, the options as well as the challenges have really opened up.
I can not think of a single gay couple who are in a monogamous and lasting relationship. Im not saying that it's the only way, or even the preferred way, although I do believe it is what many people want; it's probably what is most conducive to a stable life. It can be argued that a stable life is not what is the most creative, or innovative, or evolutionary. However most gay people have had enough “variety” and no shortage of creative impetus. Some stability might be nice.
The primary desires, Ill even say craving, that I see in gay men including myself, is to have good friends that they can feel safe with, a healthy body, and a nice home. In addition to that, there is the exploration and expression of the sexual impulse.
Sexual impulses can motivate us to do things that we might not normally do. It's probably useful in keeping humanity going, where desire helps us to overcome sleepy contented inertia. But excessive desire without satisfaction can feel very oppressive. A deep yearning for love but feeling like it is un-accessible is the cause, I believe, for the massive drug and alcohol use in the world.
I believe that its time for people to develop the very important skill set of self satisfaction. What I'm meaning is for guys to be able to be confidently able to choose an auto-erotic lifestyle, where their sexual needs are met by themselves.
This is not simply just masturbating and calling it a day; that will not be satisfying for people. What I mean is actually a number of ways of creating intimacy, and care with ones self.
Self care is a kind of catch word these days. People are beginning to understand the importance of caring for their own well being. Sometimes the airplane mask analogy is used, where you're told to put the oxygen mask on yourself first, and then you can help another. You can only be useful to another person if you can breathe.
I really got this concept in a big way as a nurse. The difference in the days where I felt resourced in a sense of well being, compared to the days that I felt deprived, were huge. One day Id have boundless compassion, the other day I was irritable. This came from me either taking care of myself or not.
Expecting that another person, that we don't know all that well, provide us with what we ourselves are not very clear about, is unlikely. Making relationships work, making one offs satisfying, being in non standard sexual relationships and having them be smooth, are all very difficult to achieve; and I believe near impossible, if we aren't able to have a satisfying relationship with ourselves.
People get stuck, because for example, they find themselves single, or in a loveless relationship; and under those conditions they feel bad, they don't take care of themselves, they feel more needy. Then it becomes very difficult to change the situation. How likely are we to go out of our comfort zone to create a new opportunity for relating, or for expressing ourselves or feeling nourished and loved? Whats more likely is that people spiral downward, slowly or rapidly. We fill our time with sense gratification, distraction, smoking, food, shopping, we work too much and neglect our health. we don't care for ourselves because we aren't feeling nurturance. To shift that, we need to provide the nurturance for ourselves.
This most people get by doing things such as going on a holiday, buying oneself something nice, getting a massage, but its also very present in the ability to say no to doing something that doesn't feel good for you, and yes to that inner whisper of your dreams and inner child.
It means making love to yourself and romancing yourself.
See because you aren't just one. We are all very fragmented inside. We have inner relationships. Self love can be a way of harmonizing these inner parts of ourselves, a way of finding inner alignment. And if you find that rarefied state of alignment, there will be no shortage of love, there will be no neediness; you will feel whole, complete, and satisfied. That may not last, because life is always causing us to add to ourselves, adding new elements to integrate. Which can be enjoyable as long as we feel we have a foundation of well being, of love and satisfaction that we can return to.
This foundation is one that we cultivate and firmly establish with practice, by learning how to love ourselves. I propose that an auto-erotic lifestyle, a kind of celibacy, a self monogamy, may be a potent way of doing so.
This involves a decent amount of knowledge that most people do not have currently; there are a lot of moving part, and its not currently part of our cultural milieu, so education and practice are very important.