The night I was finally victorious over shame
Gayboy, homo, fag, poof these are just some of the words that are thrown about to either take the piss out of someone in the form of ‘banter’ or are used to offend someone in regards to their sexuality.
As a young lad growing up, that is the last thing you would want to be called, because not only is it an attempt to emasculate you based on what other young lads think a man is, and should be, but also because growing up and learning about yourself while your hormones are all over the place is hard, especially when you too think you have to be a certain way to be a man.
3 years ago when I was in a very dark place and using drink and coke to block out my reality, I would often get back home to my gym (where I lived for over a year) in the early hours, highly intoxicated and with no chance of getting any sleep for a good few hours, and I begin scrolling through the darkest corners of the internet trying to find some porn that satisfied the urge. I would often spend literally hours watching and trying to find the ‘right one’.
Having grown up with a very skewed view on sex due to religion, like anything that you try to supress, it will always come with consequences.
The biggest consequence for me was living with an immense amount of shame and this has negatively impacted some of the decisions I’ve made.
One night after scrolling for hours and just not being able to find what I was looking for I began toying with the idea of typing ‘amateur gay masturbation’ in pornhubs search bar.
I can remember my heart pounding and feeling like I was doing something shameful and disgusting, probably because I was far from sober though my curiosity and intrigue ‘got the better of me’ and I ended up going down the rabbit hole.
Once I’d sobered up I would spend the majority of the day beating myself up, and telling myself I will never look at that stuff again while convincing myself it was just because of the alcohol and drugs in my body.
Almost 18 months ago I crossed paths with someone who very quickly became an important person in my life. The nights out I was having and the attempts to block out my current reality became less and less and I began envisioning a different reality, a reality where I was no longer a victim and instead would see myself as someone who brings a lot to other peoples lives, but I was also very aware that I still had a lot of work to do to even allow myself to start having feelings for someone.
After my last train wreck of a relationship I didn’t want to take any toxicity into a new relationship because it would only create the same results.
If I don’t change and improve, why would my next relationship?!
The less time I spent going out and the more time I looked inside myself I really began to like who Dan was, and spending time in Dans head was actually becoming a nice place to be.
Me and Charis started spending more time with eachother and May of 2019 something had changed inside me, I knew I could bring something to a relationship and I knew that I was ready to ‘try on’ this new and improved Dan in the form of a committed relationship.
The proposal wasn’t earth shatteringly romantic but we both just knew that this was the right time.
I made a promise to myself that I would allow myself to be seen in this relationship, something I have always fantasised about is being in a relationship and knowing that I can just be myself, no manipulation, or trying to portray a version of myself that I think is more lovable, just showing up as my true self.
One thing that I love about our relationship is the deep conversations we have and how we allow eachother that space to be vulnerable and seen.
A few months ago we went for lunch in one of our favourite places (painters café) and I felt an energy that was kind of drawing me in. We hadn’t really spoke much for the first 10-15 minutes and what came next left me just wanting to squeeze Charis as hard as I could, you know that urge you get to squeeze a kitten or a puppy because you feel overwhelmed with love in that moment.
Charis nervously started a conversation about porn. She went on to say that she watched something the other day that made her instantly feel ashamed and really sad. At this point I was unsure what she was going to say and I could feel butterflies in my stomach…
“I watched lesbian porn and after I felt so guilty and I started crying because I didn’t want to hurt you”
“That is so strange that you say that because lastnight I watched gay porn and I felt the same, I was ashamed and worried that it would hurt you” I replied.
We just looked into eachothers eyes and all I could feel was an immense amount of love for her, the fact that in that moment we were so aligned but fearing the hurt it might possibly bring to the other person.
We went on to speak about both of us maybe exploring these specific avenues and the logistics of it, in that moment I felt so loved and supported with an area of my life I’d struggled with for years.
Both of our fears were the complete opposite of the truth, and by Charis opening up and being vulnerable, she indirectly gave me permission to open up and be vulnerable.
Now the scene has been set, I want to share something with you that previously, as you can tell, I would have been terrified of anyone finding out.
So before I share this with you I want you to understand my reasoning for being so open about this.
The majority of my life has been filled with shame around sex, I’ve often wished that I just had a ‘normal’ sexuality where nothing was to far from the mainstream ideology surrounding sex, I’ve even considered the possibility of having some form of sex addiction, none of which sat well with me so that left me with 1 alternative…
Embrace my sexuality and enjoy it, because after all, if our genitals were purely for procreation purposes then sex wouldn’t be pleasurable.
A few weeks ago on a night out I ended up engaging in sexual activity with another man. Now this didn’t go as I had hoped, partly due to how nervous I was, but also because I couldn’t help but judge myself which resulted in the experience being more of a little ‘teenage fumble’. In that very moment I wanted some reassurance from Charis because I was scared that she might now see me differently to the point where I felt sick to my stomach, so many feelings were coming up for me and I was struggling to rationalise everything.
When I got home I laid on my bed trying to make sense of everything, all I could think of was although I knew I am in a relationship where we can both sit in uncomfortable emotions and have open conversations, how the fuck do I tell her that I have gave myself permission to experience something that still even to this day carries a lot of stigma.
I began thinking,
What if she actually can’t handle this and doesn’t support me,
What if this rocks the boat so much that I feel judged and I can’t deal with it,
How do I have a conversation I have NEVER had before?!
I spent the whole of Sunday at Charis’s with this stirring of mixed emotions inside me, half of me felt proud and empowered, and the other half felt scared in case this side of me was potentially unlovable in this relationship.
Monday morning upon waking I was feeling a completely different emotion…
Excitement, I was so excited to have this amazing opportunity to be truly seen and whatever the outcome I knew I was doing the best for me, something I have very rarely done. You may think of this as selfish and I would have to agree with you, but this is what I’ve learnt about relationships… if you share things truthfully and honestly with your partner based on what you actually want for yourself and your relationship, and your partner acts differently towards you, judges you, or takes it so personally that your relationship begins to experience toxicity that you can’t get through, then atleast you know that the relationship you are in isn’t going to be a relationship that will facilitate self growth and therefore means it will have a very short shelf life.
Relationships aren’t meant to be shackles holding you down but act more as wings to lift you to new heights propelled with unconditional support and love.
The conversation began as we were in the car driving towards Colchester… I started it by saying, “I’ve got something I really want to tell you but I’m a little unsure how you are going to take this” “ok I’m scared now” replied Charis nervously. Telling her about everything that happened Saturday night I really tried not to have any expectations of the outcome but instead just give her all the information, no manipulation, no lies, just the 100% honest truth.
The last bit of the journey was fairly quiet to be honest, I don’t think either of us really knew what to say or even whether to say anything at all.
We parked up and went to the closest coffee shop so we could sit down and speak abit more but this time face to face. I told her how hard it was for me to go ahead and actually act on these thoughts ‘that night’ and my biggest fear being that she would think differently of me. She told me that, of course it hurts to hear that you have been with someone else but I just want you to know I love you and support you.
Over the next few days we had some really tough conversations, but they really enabled us the opportunity to learn things about eachother and more importantly ourselves. I would say that we communicate reasonably well and are open and honest but we’ve learnt that our communication skills are an area we need to focus on a lot more.
We are still working through this and setting clear boundaries when it comes to us both exploring our curiosities surrounding our sexuality, and how we can support eachother fully because I don’t want my fears or insecurities to stop Charis from experiencing all the pleasure she wants because after all we only get one life and I have no right to tell her what she can and can’t do with her own body.
The person I want to be is the person that is able to metaphorically high five Charis when she tells me how much fun she had doing x,y and z, and when I get to that point I know I will be living in a state of love and NOT fear.
I’m still learning to love who I truly am and that only comes with giving myself permission to be truly seen. I’ve already had a bit of backlash which indirectly has affected Charis, no one wants to see their partner being ridiculed or judged, but the thing is, I have done so much to get to this point and although sharing this now as openly and honestly as I am does still bring up feelings of ‘what will people think of me’ I feel I have a duty, not only to myself, but also every other person who is carrying around a suitcase full of shame around, and if by me opening up and talking about things gives someone else that bit of courage to open up, then little by little we all begin to allow eachother to step into who we truly are, NOT who we think we are meant to be.
P.s I am so full of gratitude for my life and everything in my life right now, I have an amazing girlfriend, I have a family that love me, I have a handful of very close friends and I have the opportunity to help people on a daily basis
Live your life unapologetically you!