Leitmotif

Reason as the Leading Motive

Posts Tagged ‘monogamy’

Homosexuality and its Discontents

Posted by Jerry on June 18, 2012

It is not far from the truth to complain that “most gay men want nothing more than casual sex.” Often one hears this refrain from older guys who perceive an alarming level of apparent promiscuity among the younger ones; one hears this also from young boys who seem to come manufactured with a built-in “monogamously coupled” disposition. They can’t fathom the idea of having sexual encounters that mean nothing more.

Then, there are those who are themselves struggling with frequent sexual urges, of which they are ashamed and want suppressed because of the stigma associated with multiple sexual encounters and the glorification of sexual monogamy.

So, in the midst of all these discontents, how does a homosexual find “everlasting romance”!? How does one manage to nurture a healthy, respectful, and loving relationship with another gay man, when apparently, “most gay men want nothing more than casual sex”?

Can there be such a thing as a truly loving relationship between gay men?

Now, I have a two-part reply to this:

First: All good things are rare; like diamonds, gold, or money, so is the case with people (or men) of good values and character. All valuable things come in small, scarce supply.

So yes, due to the nature of this reality, one is more likely to encounter a whole bunch of less-than-ideal options in men before finding the right kind of man who can also respond to you similarly. This is arduous, time-consuming, and a includes a bit of chance, but you can trick the game and increase your chances of finding the “right” kind of man: For example, by surrounding yourself with friends and acquaintances with similar interests; by joining clubs, memberships, or activities that are more likely to be populated by the kind of people you would like; by becoming more visible in your achievements and productivity so that your net is cast far and wide and more people hear about you, etc.

So, it’s a combination of strategy and luck–but more strategy than luck. It still requires you to have all the necessary values and virtues and personality and style of character and appearance in place before you go out seeking for people you can love, and who can love you in return.

So, in short, yes, most gay men–like the larger population in which we all reside–is for the most part uninteresting and mundane. You’ll just have to keep digging deeper, looking harder, seeking farther. You may not encounter your ideal partners 100 times a day–heck, may be not even once a day!

Second: Men like sex! This is a basic truth about our species. The male species enjoy and seek sex far more often than the female species. In the straight world, the female’s general lack of interest in pure sexual pursuits manages to balance out the male’s ability and frequency to have more sex.

However, in the gay community, there is no such counter-foil. Hence, it is easier for men to have and enjoy more sex if they are gay. The power of our hormones and physiology can be overwhelming–even when it involves romances and promises of fidelity.

So, don’t try to fight this fact of reality. Accept this fact and work out ways in which you can manage this reality in your relationships.

By this I mean, if you find yourself in a beautiful, loving, emotionally fulfilling and wholesome relationship, don’t destroy it or let go of it only because you find that you are unable to accept their need to have a momentarily fleeting sexual encounter with someone else, or their need to be in a sexually open (but emotionally closed) relationship–or only because you were unable to forgive him for that one time when he confessed to giving in to his sexual urges.

Accepting that men are built differently than women and that men face different pressures than women will help you verbally negotiate the terms and conditions of fidelity in your relationship. What constitutes cheating? What constitutes love? What are the necessary ingredients of romance in a gay relationship? And more.

The answer to the questions need not resemble the answers that conventional straight communities provide.

Finally, the basic theme of all what I said above is the “acceptance of reality as is–wholly.” The reality of the self (who we are and who we aspire to be)–and the reality of the world we live in (how men are, how gay men are, how most people are, etc.).

Happy hunting!

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Posted in Culture, General Work/Life, Homosexuality, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Monogamy May Not Be Sexual Fidelity

Posted by Jerry on March 12, 2012

I think some clarity is required around the varieties of legitimate romantic relationship designs. In particular, we must dispel this notion that monogamy is identical to sexual fidelity.

In reality, truly loving and healthy romantic relationships can occur in at least the following designs. The different is merely in the negotiation of boundaries, keeping in mind the character, virtues, motivations, and psycho-sexual orientation of the individuals involved:

(1) Monogamous closed relationship — Sexual as well as Emotional/Romantic fidelity with only one partner
(2) Monogamous open relationship — Only Emotional/Romantic fidelity with only one partner, but sexual openness based on consensual boundaries
(3) Poly-amorous closed relationship — Sexual as well as Emotional/Romantic closed-ness with a defined and exclusive set of partners
(4) Poly-amorous open relationship — Sexual as well as Emotional/Romantic openness with an undefined and non-exclusive set of partners

In other words, the concept of monogamy does not necessarily include the behavior of sexual fidelity.

Now, there can be strong arguments made about the varying degrees of prudence, success, and wisdom attributable to each of the above relationship designs. For example, I believe that design number 4 above is highly imprudent as a practical manner of living, because it may not entail emotional stability and success in achieving some romantic goals; it may engender emotional conflicts and logistical difficulties, and it may demand unreasonable amounts of emotional, financial, and psychological investment.

Having said that, it does not follow that deep, intense, passionate, and real romantic love cannot exist and be experienced by individuals involved in any of the relationship designs described above.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

We Evolve into Preferring Monogamy

Posted by Jerry on November 20, 2008

People generally can’t quite decide whether monogamy is natural–or even possible–for humans (men, for the most part, I think, tend to pose this doubt). There’s usually debate about the morality of monogamy or multiple partners. Some people believe that monogamy is properly moral, but we are weak-willed humans and therefore cannot live up to the ideal in our relationships.

Others argue that monogamy is unnatural–and offer biologically deterministic arguments in their defense.

I have always held the view that monogamy is neither inherently moral or immoral — a relationship’s morality is the function of the character, values, and virtues of the people involved.

Having said that, I also hold the view that monogamy is a more prudent setup–and that we consciously come to recognize it as such usually only much later in our lives–for reasons that have nothing to do with a person’s character but because of the natural context that evolves around us.

Take this analogy:

When one is younger, one is tempted–and rightly so, I would argue–to try out different majors in college, simultaneously take different courses from different streams, trying to make up one’s mind about what one prefers. Likewise, when it comes to choosing a career, a young person is eager to try different streams; he is likely to switch jobs more frequently, hunt for jobs while staying on his current one for less than a year. A younger person is more open to physical mobility–to relocation, travel, new experiences, and new friends. A younger person has a higher tolerance for transformation, upheavals, and new starts.

As one gets older, the context evolves. People tend to get settled in their careers; their tenure at a job tends to get longer–perhaps even life-long. People tend to decide upon and setup a “base” which they call home, even if they are open to long trips away. People tend to make fewer, but longer-lasting friendships. As one gets older, the tolerance for transformation, upheavals, and new beginnings diminish greatly.

Hence, my argument around the choice of monogamy–and by implication, my views about its morality–takes a similar road. I think it’s primarily a matter of prudence in response to changing contexts.

It is clear that monogamy does not come easily to most people–and certainly not naturally–in the younger days of one’s adulthood. This is due to various reasons that make up the context within which this issue arises. And in my opinion, the reasons are as follows:

  1. For various physical and biological reasons that may differ among men and women, younger people tend to have a greater sexual appetite–not just in terms of frequency but also in terms of variety. (Of course, this does not mean that such “appetites” cannot be controlled or channeled, but that’s not the point here.)
  2. For various psychological reasons, younger people tend to be more resilient to break-ups. Even though while they undergoing one, they might think that a break-up is the end of the world, younger people become quickly aware of the fact that a whole life is ahead of them and that they can move on, that they deserve better, or that they can find another mate.
  3. For reasons similar to the one above, the pressures of maintaining fidelity and abiding by the rules of a relationship tend to be weak among younger people–again, because the end of a relationship is really not the end of the world.
  4. Younger people generally have access to–or are frequently placed in–social environments that open possibilities for exploring outside the relationship (e.g., clubs, colleges, etc.). Moreover, the modern world has opened up innumerable possibilities for younger people to connect with each other–across boundaries, even. (This opens up the tangential issue of whether a person having a purely online affair can be considered to be monogamous.)
  5. Younger people generally have a lower level of tolerance when things don’t go their way in a relationship or when they experience dissatisfaction in an aspect in that relationship.

For the reasons I outlined above, I think monogamy is harder to come by and equally harder to impose upon oneself when you’re young.

As people grow older, however, I think we generally shift our predispositions quite naturally to prefer monogamy–to prefer a kind of stability in romantic relationships. 

It becomes more prudent–more sensible and in accordance with our nature as older adults–that we focus all our emotions, efforts, time, and money on a single partner (and expect likewise in reverse) because this is what lends us the most amount of physical, psychological, sexual, and emotional satisfaction.

To conclude, monogamy or open relationships are neither inherently moral or immoral. However, having said that, I believe that most people will tend towards monogamous relationships later in their lives of their own will as a consciously recognized and evaluated option that is most sensible for them–and hence, properly moral as well. Since what is rationally good for you with your life as the standard, is also properly moral.

Posted in Culture, General Work/Life, Homosexuality, India, Love and Romance, Mumbai, My Theories and Ideas, Philosophy, Rights and Morality, The Best of Leitmotif, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments »

 
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