Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Good Selfishness

I have been doing some thinking about this, and yes, selfishness, my own included, is a bad thing. I hadn’t quite expected this to be what I was thinking of while working on my connection to Aphrodite, but these things come as they come, not as I want them to. Selfishness is bad because it forces us, with our consent, to ignore the needs of others. It is not a good thing to have yourself as the sole reason for being, the sole reason for everyone else to be.

But, and I suppose this is where Aphrodite comes in, selfishness is a byproduct of self love? What is self esteem requires us to be selfish and that we must then force ourselves, as thinking beings, to also include love of others to temper that selfishness? And what if most people simply don’t do that?

Of course, there are some relationships in which we are selfless instinctively. We are selfless with our children, most of the time. We are slefless with our parents, some of the time, and we try to be selfless with our mates, some of the time. But if we ask ourselves, if we truly explore our motivations for the things we do, do we not more often than not come up with a selfish answer? Do we do good for others because it makes us feel good? Is that selfish? If so, so what?

You see, sometimes selfishness can cause us to do good things for other people. Sometimes a desire to feel good can lead us to making others feel good as well, and that crosses many lines in our lives, from giving to charity and donating our time to dating and making love. Sometimes making others feel good, be it in the soup kitchen or in the bedroom, makes us feel good too, and as a result it can be selfishness made manifest for the good.

I suppose it is cynical to look at a considerate lover or a nun giving her time to maintain a homeless shelter as selfish, because they are often motivated by more than just selfishness, but there is that element in all the things we do, and sometimes we have to let a little selfishness in. We have to think of ourselves and not everyone around us, because if we concentrate all our efforts on what others need, we will be sucked dry, physically and spiritually, and if we are to ever do anyone any good in the future, we must make sure we are around and willing to help in the future by taking care of ourselves today.

So, go out and do something that makes you feel good, it’s OK, just remember to temper it so that it is also making others feel good, and you will see how sometimes small acts of kindness, even done to make you feel good, can have a much greater impact on the world than you think.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

More on Selfishness

So, as I said before, my friends are self centered, self obsessed, and only ever want to do things they want to do.



It isn’t that I am internally bitter about this. I am a loner, for the most part, and if people don’t want to do things, I just go off and do them on my own. I don’t have an issue going to a movie alone, in fact, I sometimes prefer it since it means no one is talking while I’m trying to watch. I don’t have an issue going to a restaurant alone, or to a bar, but sometimes you really just want to be among other people. Not strangers in a bar, but people you can talk to.

Still, it does reflect badly on me, I think, that I give even this much thought to why people aren’t servicing my needs. Why do we do that as people? Why do we expect others to be there to help us? Even when we are more or less available to others, we should not necessarily expect the same from others, should we?

So, I thought I would give that some thought and I am sitting here asking Aphrodite to give me a clue, an answer, a hint. All I get are images of Eros, of the Erotes, of the divine goddess surrounded by her attendants. It is, I suppose, an answer of sorts. Eros, the primordial, is a God that brings things together. Gravity, if you will, and in many ways, he falls under the domain of Aphrodite in the emotional levels, while he is sovereign in his own domain. Aphrodite and her angelic aspects, the Erotes, the Horai, etc. are like a lovely family that must work together to be effective.

We seek others because it is our nature, but we expect from others because we expect reciprocity. that too is apparently our nature. The good and the bad, the selfishness and the selflessness intwined forever.

I got that from an image of Aphrodite surrounded by the Erotes?

Sure. The Erotes, the little angelic aspects of Love, are odd little critters in the mythos. They can inspire love or revulsion, obsession or repugnance, love or hate, and together the opposing aspects of divine emotion are made manifest in us. We feel all of these things, sometimes simultaneously, and we feel that just as we give, so must we receive. Two opposing aspects of the same thing. A sense of reciprocity.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


So, in my last post I asked, prompted by an orgy, of all things, if perhaps I am a selfish man. It is a fair question. One that we must all ask ourselves often enough that we don’t allow ourselves to fall into bad behaviors.

What do I mean by selfish?

I mean that I think of me, and essentially only me, in my dealings with other people. Sexually, politically, personally.

The answer is a resounding yes, and no.

First, the yes.

I am selfish because I have to admit to myself that in most dealings, I tend to consider how something affects me before I ever consider how it might affect other people. It isn’t that I never consider others, but that I always come first.

But the no surprised me, because I also tend to blame myself for a great many things that, as I put some thought to it, were not really my fault. I blamed myself for my dealings with certain people in my life and called myself selfish in the process, but as I gave this all thought, and Aphrodite helped me figure this out, it turns out I was reacting to the things others do to me.

The people I associate with are selfish. In fact, they are tremendously self centered, and it has caused me to react in ways that have been detrimental to me. An example of this is the fact that they only turn to me to do things THEY want to do, while my requests to do things that I want to do go rejected. So as a reaction I have essentially made myself as self centered as they are, and I generally now reject things if I am not personally interested in them myself.

In other words, I have a lot of ass hole friends to whom I am just companionship when all else fails them.

But, my own selfishness in this is in both blaming myself for their behavior and in reacting to it in a selfish manner. If their behavior bothers me, I should remove them from my life, not act as an ass hole in return.

Instead, I have made the arrogant move of selfishly planning things to make myself feel good and including them only as an afterthought, and so, do they now react in return? Of course they do.

Anyway, I have to explore this selfishness further as I think about it in situations of emotion, love, sex, etc.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Taking a moment...

Stumbling along, as I usually do in my life as I usually do I often stumble upon the little messages that the Gods leave behind for me to find, like breadcrumbs in a forest. This week, it was actually a fairly blatant one, and I think it was Aphrodite herself who did it.

I was invited to a party, and by party I mean a bunch of men who get together, get naked, and do the nasty. An orgy, and as I usually do, i try to go to these things because I do enjoy these things. But I found myself titillated yet not necessarily turned on. none of it seemed to really get my juices flowing, and in the end, I left, not bothered, but not satisfied either.

I usually have a reasonably good time at these things, Even if i don't necessarily engage anyone in sex, because the very visceral experience of witnessing it is usually more than enough to give me a thrill.

But something was bothering me. Something was making me feel ill at ease, and so, except with some minor engagement with a friend, I remained aloof, and others remained aloof from me. The entire thing, now that i think about it, had an almost dark feeling to it.

Of course, part of it may be my own reluctance to engage too many people in friendly banter. I find myself ill at ease with idle chit chat, i don't know why that is, but I often find myself at a lack for words when the chat is supposed to be light and fluffy. Yes, that's right, me, ME, speechless.

But something else that bothered me was the total lack of concern for anyone else that so many, including the friend I engaged with, have for the people they have sex with. I am not talking about matters of health here, we all have to take responsibility for our own protection, i am talking about the actual sex act. The actual desire to not just blow your load, but help the ma n who just helped you do the same.

I'm talking about sexual selfishness.

Now, i admit, an orgy is not the place where one should expect thoughtful consideration and total sexual satisfaction from a partner, and I didn't and do not fault any of these guys for any of this, but rather, I have to look at it as a kind of sign, and as such, I have to look inside myself and ask myself, how selfish am I in the act of love making? How selfish am I in the playful sex that is not love making? How selfish am I in general?

Not necessarily a question I can easily answer today, but tomorrow, I hope to have meditated on it enough to do so. I just hope it is an answer I am comfortable with.


Saturday, May 9, 2009

Should I have done that?

Before I get into it today, I want to make it clear that this is not going to be me feeling bad about having sex. I, quite frankly, don’t understand the American penchant for disgust in anything sexual. It is part of the Puritanical tradition of the U.S.A. that things sexual are so shameful. That the same conservative elements in our society that are screaming about how good torture is also have a heart attack at the idea of the word Penis being said in public. I just don’t get it.

This is about me trying to explore the motivations behind some of the things I have done in my life in the domain of Aphrodite and why some of those things have been bad decisions, and why some of them have lead me to further explore my own feelings and how they affect the way I treat people with whom I have sexual relations.

First, I am a man. I make no apologies for the inherently sexual nature of my being. I make no apologies for being horny or having sexual thoughts or dreams of an erotic nature. It is perfectly natural.

Second, I identify almost exclusively as gay, and I make no apologies for that either. Not to man or god. I like the male gender, I long for it, I lust for it, and I long for the love between men that is such a basic foundation of who I am as a human being.

Third, I am a strong believer in sexual freedom. There are restraints, of course, all things must be handled with both body and mind, and we must all be willing to take responsibility for our health. But I am also not a paranoid person, at least not when it comes to my health. I am not going to become a neurotic mess worried about every little germ when the truth is that it is impossible to avoid disease 100% of the time. Common sense must, however, be applied in all things, and when the Apollonian saying “Nothing to excess” comes to mind, I try to apply it in my life to all things, except maybe food, and I am working on that one.

So, what is it that I have done in my life, with relation to Aphrodite, that I have regrets about?

Nothing, really. I don’t regret having met, loved, or fucked anyone, not in the sense that I wish I had never met them, rather I feel that there have been situations that I seriously wish I had handled differently, or perhaps gotten into with more of my head leading the way.

I have been in several relationships. In the last ten years I have had two serious ones, and one which almost got off the ground but somehow fizzled, and before that I have, as I mentioned before, fallen in love a few times. The falling in love has never been an issue for me. If it happens, I welcome it and am willing to enjoy it, but I have a hard time dealing with people in many ways. I am a somewhat stubborn man, OK, way stubborn sometimes, and I am too often unwilling to give way in a relationship, which causes a wall to form that can, in time, become too tall to climb over.

With William, there was no wall. With Tony, we always had certain issues between us that caused us to build barriers between us. Some of these were physical, his HIV status demanded it, but some were cultural. I am Puertorican, he was Guatemalan, and I am much more Americanized than he ever was, and often our differences of opinion left us with walls to tear down.

With Steve, our relationship was always a little dysfunctional. We had an open relationship, which is not a problem for me, and he was just a little too immature. I had a hard time dealing with a man who still looked at life too much like a kid. He did not work, did not see his own fault in anything he did, and I eventually had to remove myself from that. The sex was hot, though. HOT.

And, finally, my relationship with Jim. That one was a bit rough because I never quite figured out where I fit in with him. He was in the closet and it became a real issue with me. I am a believer in being me. If people like it, cool, if not, too bad. He could not move in a direction that would take him out of the closet, and I could not move in a direction that would put me in a closet.

So, so far it sounds pretty normal. People have relationships, they succeed or fail on different levels, for different reasons, and I don’t regret any of them.

But then there are the things I do, and have done, while single. I have fucked and been fucked by men, in groups, singly, known there names, haven’t, and in the end it has rendered me, maybe, a little jaded to with whole experience. Sex is a wonderful thing. playful and exciting, it can be as helpful to us as adults as playing is to children, but there are also a lot of times when we use sex as a way to escape things in our lives that trouble us.

After William died, I threw myself into all kinds of sex with all kinds of people who, to be honest, I could never name. I simply never knew their names. But if I am to be perfectly honest, it was not that I was suffering over william, but that I was still very much reacting to being raped. Part of me needed to have sex and feel that it was me who was in control, me who was using them, me who was seeking it out and doing it. It never occurred to me that in doing so I was allowing myself to be used. When raped, it was forced upon me. He took me and used me, and I had no choice, and now I was allowing myself to be used. While I don’t regret the sex, I do wish I had taken the time to think about why I was doing it and had come to realize what I was doing to myself. Rather than dealing with my feelings, I was burying them in sex. That is almost always a mistake.

When I moved to Ohio and Steve and I were trying to make a go of it, I should have been more clear with him about what I expected out of the relationship. I gave myself over to the love I felt for him, and the lust, but I did not allow myself the luxury of allowing the mindful part of Aphrodite to look after my heart. I never allowed Ourania in, I simply gave in to Eros and Porne, and was slapped in the face as a return.

And, perhaps, that has always been my failing. I have given myself over to the lust and eroticism that is Aphrodite, but not the higher levels of love, at least not since Tony, and it is causing me to lose sight of a greater reality.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Once things got going

...Of course, once he introduced me to sex properly, in a way that was not dark and forced, I wanted more. Typical guy, gay or not, thinks about sex all the time. It isn’t anything immoral or dirty, it is just the reality of how we men are built. We are built to stud. We are built for sex in so many ways it is sometimes amazing to think we ever had time to do things like conquest, science, and literature. But we managed.

At this point, knowing what I had always felt, and now knowing what it all meant at a physical and emotional level, I knew I was gay. I mean, let’s get something straight, if I had had sex with William and enjoyed it but later realized that it just wasn’t for me and that it was women that I really wanted, I would not be gay. Gay sex itself is not what makes a man gay any more than lesbian sex makes a woman a lesbian. There is simply so much more to it, and even then there is just too much to feel and understand that the sex itself is not even secondary to the equation.

But, I was just a teenager, so to me the sex meant just that, and I was basically right. I was, and continue to, identify as a gay man. I fell in love with William, and I am certain he did with me too. At the very least, I can tell you that he loved me, even if he was not “in love” with me. But I prefer to think he was. But it would not last. William died just a few months later, in a horrible car accident. I did not know he’d died for another three weeks, and was never able to properly say good bye to him until I visited his grave in New Canaan, Connecticut.

I will not bore you with details of every man I ever had sex with, it would be repetitious, but I do want to mention one other man, his name was Tony, and I was then about 25 while he was about 23. We met while he was still about 18 or 19, and he was dating a man who also became a friend of mine, though most recently I would have to think of him more as an adversary than a friend. His constant insistence on pushing his Christianity on people simply bugs me too much for me to call him a friend.

But the two of them eventually broke up, and Tony eventually went his own way, going home to Guatemala and then returning to the US. We met up again and got on with our friendship, and he even lived with me for a short time as he found a place to live of his own. He was beautiful. His face was almost angelic, his hair was perfectly wavy, his body smooth and alluring in the most innocently sexual way you could imagine. By that I mean that he seemed incapable of not being sexy. He didn’t intentionally dress to make your mouth water, he was just naturally that way, and no matter what he wore you just wanted him. Of course, I thought it might just be me, after all, horny 25 year old and hot 23 year old usually equals sexual attraction, but it wasn’t. There were no people who ever saw him who did not comment on his beauty.

The first time we made love it was an astonishing experience. He was just as naturally sexual in the act as he was in appearance, and it felt great. We did it on and off for a while, and I fell for him. But I did not want to push him. When he told me he loved me but did not want to “marry me” yet, I was sad, but I understood it. We were both young, we were both looking for a way to make a life before settling into something as serious as a live-in relationship. That changed when a mutual friend contacted me from the West Coast and asked me to move out there.

Tony thought it was a good idea. That maybe if I moved out there and got settled in that he could join me in a few months and we could sort of start fresh. Start a life together. I thought it seemed odd, but I was ok with the idea.

I have to tell you at this point that there is something else about Tony that was very important. Tony was HIV positive. I knew it, had known it for some time, but he had always been one to take care of himself. Always took his meds, though the meds back then were not the kind of life prolonging meds we have today. We were always careful, and to this day I remain HIV negative.

One day, while in Portland, I got a call from my mother. She informed me that Tony had died at Stamford Hospital and she was sorry she had not found out sooner. His mother had come up from Guatemala and taken him home to be buried. Unlike with William, I would never get to visit his grave and say good bye, as lame as that sounds from someone who does not believe in an afterlife.

I broke.

I had had a previous issue, which I am not going to go into here, but I can tell you that it had changed me. But this broke me. I can’t really explain what I mean by that, I can only say that my ability to connect to other people was severely damaged by this. To this day I have a real problem making friends. I have a real problem relating to people, because once he died, I think part of me did too, and that part was the best part of me. I have never recovered. I have never gotten over his dying like that with me so far away.

But I have come to understand that I still have a lot left in me. And I have come to understand that I need to make the best of what I am today, but along the way I have been just a little crazy.

Next installment? Why I have given myself over to Aphrodite in ways I never should have...

Sunday, May 3, 2009

OK, now on with the regularly scheduled program

I have been kinda skirting around an issue here because I have never really gone into anything that is too “adult” here, and by that I mean “adult” in the sense that America seems to think of sex as being adult only, a subject not for discussion, a subject which merits X ratings and censorship while murder and mayhem do not.

That’s right, sex, and if Aphrodite has one aspect that is famous above all others, it is her role as slut, whore, and sexual being. The Goddess Aphrodite is Love, Beauty, Affection, Attraction, and the pure and unadulterated expression of Sex and all that implies. For me, this has meant coming to realizations and learning that deep within we are a great many things when it comes to sex, and which of those things I am, or if even defining it in any way is helpful, to incorporating them into my life in a way that is healthy to my spiritual life.

I will tell you that my, and most people’s, first encounter with sex is mental. It is chit chat with buddies and boisterous babbling of young boys who think they know what they’re talking about. The hormones raged, the talk was cheap, and, to be honest, I had no clue what any of it meant then. I was raised to be rather naive about sex, although my mother was not shy about talking about it, she was not one to make sex a topic of conversation with her 11 year old boy (or the girls that were his younger sisters). So, as with most of us, my first experience with sex was a lot of talk and bullshit from my little friends, none of whom knew anything more than I did. And along with such talk, there is the natural childish explorations, which hardly count as sex, really, but count as part of the whole continuum of activities that build our sexualities.

But, as with most of us again, my second experience with sex was, of course, with my dear friends lefty and righty. Let’s be adult about this, all human beings masturbate. Why we as a society pretend like it is something we need to hide away in closets (don’t get me started on closets) and make of it a sin is beyond me, except we, especially here in America, still can’t seem to deal with the fact that we have animal instincts, instinctive desires and needs, and so our culture has created all these horrid strictures around it all, forcing us to feel shame at the most natural of things.

But, as I made my way into my teens, I ran up against the sex thing in the worst possible ways. I was raped on a beach in Connecticut. I don’t normally talk about this, I have never told my family what happened to me because I feel that it was something I had to deal with on my own, and I have. It was an experience which, while I would hope no one ever has to experience it, did force me to see the negative side of sex. It forced me to see the violence and evil that can be funneled into the sex, and that sex was an act that could be used to hurt as well as pleasure a person.

I won’t dwell on this here, but I do want you to know that there is no sympathy needed for me here, I have long since moved on from this, and in many ways, later in life turned it around and made it not only a learning experience, but one that I feel made me a better person in the end (I can expand on this later if anyone feels they want me to) because I was willing to look at it and not wallow in the pain it caused me.

But, not more than two years later, I was faced with my first true sexual experience. This was not some quickie in the sand, or the horrors of rape, but the long lustful pleasure of love making.

I won’t lie, the relationship was completely inappropriate. But I fell in love with him. After the ordeal on the beach, I guess part of me needed to revisit it, to feel something other than anger and fear. I think part of me longed to understand something about sex that had not yet become apparent, and that was that it was not bad. It was not evil or shameful (or painful if done with my consent) and to that end I went back to those beaches late at night, watching people hang out, talk, make friends, but not able to really join them. I was all of 16 and they were people in their 20s and 30s. But one of these people, a 24 year old man, and a chick I thought might be his girlfriend, sort of pulled me in and made me their pet.

I kept staring at him and her, they seemed to be together, and I kept wondering about him. What did he look like under those clothes? How soft was his skin? What did his tongue taste like? Remember, hormonal but very confused and scared guy here, and if there is one thing a 16 year old boy thinks about constant;y, it’s sex, even if it was sometimes tinged with fear due to his only other experience with it. Add to that gay in the 80s, and there was just so much to feel fear about. I was at a point where I would either break free of that fear or become bound to it forever, and I chose to pursue a path that would lead me away from the fear. As it would turn out, she was not his girlfriend, though the two of them were sexual partners on occasion, and he became the first man to have true sex with me.

It was a beautiful experience, at least from my current perspective. But then it was a scary thing. William was gorgeous. A bit of a Punk type, you remember them from the 80s? And he was something of a free spirit. And he and I spent some time, one fine night, chit chatting about all kinds of bullshit that must have been very boring to him, because at 16, my interests were probably quite different from his, but he listened and made me feel comfortable (I really do not want anyone to write me and tell me he was a pedophile, I was 16, not 10, and we really need to stop infantilizing our young people in this country) and then he gave himself to me.

If that seems like a strange way to put it, it seems so to me too, but it really is the way it happened. He did not push me, he did not make a move, he just sort of made it clear to me that there was nothing he would judge me for, if I chose to do anything. That he would not judge me as bad, or sinful, or evil, for anything I was feeling or desiring. So, when I touched him, and my hand lingered, he did not move away, or question me, or ask me if I was sure. He accepted it and never once made me feel like a child for doing it.

He did not immediately jump out of his clothes and do me, but rather allowed me to guide his choices. When we kissed and touched each other, it was because I wanted to do it, and he was there to be the recipient of my desires. It was, for me, an experience that let me see that this was all very natural, all very kind and pleasing to the senses, and I was a little afraid.

Eventually, however, he understood that I didn’t really know what I was doing. Oh, I knew the mechanics of it, having talked so much about it, fantasized about it, and gotten my hands on plenty of images. But there is such a big difference between the fantasy and the reality, and once he understood where I wanted to go, he took over and showed me the rest of it.