This is a topic that is dear to my heart. English is a funny and a strange language. By simply switching two words in a sentence, you can radically change the meaning and implications it creates.
I was talking with a friend of mine on Thursday who's going through a few things. Something he mentioned was how he started meeting up with guys he was connecting with through Grindr, a gay dating site.
I thought to myself, "Hmmm..."
So on Friday, I created a profile on Grindr.
"Whoa whoa whoa, wait a second--you did what?" you might be saying. Let me explain:
I have a powerful belief that you can make a positive and very beneficial use out of almost anything, even things that are typically used for baser, unholy purposes. Really, it all boils down to what you are seeking, and what you are doing to go about seeking it.
Take, for instance, the friend I met with on Thursday. Him and I met as he responded to a post I made on Craigslist. Considering how I have not quite made the connections I had hoped for with even the best of people that I have interacted with on Craigslist, he made all of my efforts worthwhile. Understand, now, that in the two times we have met up, we would greet each other with a hug, talk about life for an hour or so, and then part with another hug. He's a great guy, even though he would vehemently deny that in light of his struggles. I can concede that he asked me a few questions ("interesting" is again the word I choose to use here, describing those questions) in our first visit that I had to navigate carefully. But he did warn me he was "horny" at the time. I am grateful he exercised as much self-control as he did.
So with this experience in mind, I thought I would test Grindr's virtue (which, by the way, is a sentence that feels really weird coming out of my mouth--er, fingers). Note that my experiences are my own, and I don't in any way desire to come across as espousing nor criticizing Craigslist, Grindr, or any similar resources. But I do mean to say that there are many things that can be acknowledged as such--resources--as they are used with prudence, care, and discipline.
I think in the past few days, I have been rewarded for my belief that there are inherently good people out there. I have interacted with a few that are genuinely good people, both those who are celibate and those who are not, yet respect my decision to be so. Given, I have bumped into a few that weren't too fond of my choice of lifestyle, two of which sent me inappropriate pictures of themselves unexpectedly and without invitation, after which I promptly blocked them, and took measures to prevent further altercations of that nature. Although it's not too easy to have that shoved in my face, I knew there was the possibility of that happening. I'm already in a constantly libidinous state (behold my word of the year)--I don't really need anything to exacerbate that. Hopefully that doesn't happen again.
But I had an interesting conversation yesterday. I have a tendency to have these hypothetical conversations with myself, evaluating how I would respond in various situations. One of my favorites is the skeptic, questioning my faith and my consequent lifestyle. That is a conversation I have revisited a number of times.
This particular chat got interesting when this guy, who apparently lives close by, asked, "Why are you looking for "platonic" relationships with openly gay men?"
I thought that was a great question. There is a part of me that wants to believe that there are gay men out there that are genuinely good people (I am, aren't I?), that can put aside any ravenous romantic and/or sexual appetites they might have, even if it's only until the moment I am not in sight. That's not asking for too much, is it? No kissing, no excessive body contact, nor anything beyond that? I will wait until I have found Mrs. Lakely for all of those things (which is a conversation for another post). I'm not asking for someone to chip off a part of their soul that they will probably not get back. I would be very content to be friends where we would be willing to voraciously fight each others' battles, like the guys in the sitcoms at the plasma donation center, or in the anime I am so fond of.
Am I looking in the right place for that? I'm not 100% sure yet. But at least I'm still looking. Anyway:
I also explained to him that there is this innate part of me that knows that, in order to really and fully figure myself out, I will need to confirm and experience for myself that I can be attracted to a guy, and him possibly have mutual feelings, and be able to mantain a very positive, platonic relationship. Sex can only go so far, but no matter how much I might crave it at times, I know with complete certainty that sex that cannot have the Lord's stamp of approval will only ruin my life thoroughly.
That led/leads to my next point, that I wanted to save that part of me for when I fall in love with and marry my wife. I don't have much experience in this department, but I'm pretty sure that a fear of STDs/HIV would work pretty well at killing my (one-day) married sex life.
Did I ever say that I am probably going to talk openly about a number of generally taboo subjects?
Let me say that now: I am probably going to talk openly about a number of generally taboo subjects.
You've been warned. I can rest in peace now.
But I hope never to be inappropriate nor irreverent in the weighty things I discuss.
It was interesting how intent he was upon challenging me. He told me that, if I continued my celibate lifestyle, I would end up in a mixed orientation marriage, sneaking around behind my wife's back for random sexual encounters with men. I refuted that. He told me that the eros wouldn't be nearly as good with a girl as with a guy. Maybe he's right. I don't really care, honestly. I told him I would simply have to see for myself. Then he asked me why I wouldn't do the same in his case or similar cases.
Somebody give this guy a prize. He's good.
I had to give him my best answer for such a well-thought-out question. I explained that, when it came to having a romantic and eventually a sexual relationship, I want to reserve that for a relationship that I knew had the potential to last for eternity, and to spoil that for a quick fix (or a series of quick fixes) would be to shortchange myself. Another point to him--he noted that I was stating these things as facts, and not as beliefs.
I validated that, saying that these were things I knew to be true, as certainly as the sun is in the sky, and that I would fight like a raging lion to live in accordance with those truths I have. Though he argued that, basically, beliefs are subjective, and that there is no absolute truth, I rebutted, indulging him, that even if he was right, that didn't mean that I held conviction in something that wasn't true.
I basically ended the conversation there, but I had to thank him, as he allowed me to confirm a number of things to myself, renewing my determination to live the law of chastity. He certainly put up a very formidable intellectual fight, to which I was grateful to share my unwavering conviction and commitment.
So if you are asking why I am celibate, this is my reply.