Life Beyond Therapy
Do I have your attention?
As men who love men, we want all things from all men. We want hot sex; emotional intimacy; a great, loyal friend; and a handyman who can help us fix our car/house/life. In short, we want to feel loved (heart), respected for our intelligence (mind) and physically desired (genitals).
Most men I know — myself included — find this balance pretty challenging. Not only is it difficult to find a man like that, it’s even harder to be a man like that. So, what are our alternatives? Can we have it all? Or, better question — how can we have it all?
In any meaningful man-to-man relationship, it’s wise to balance the desires and demands of our heart, mind and genitals. For example, when you meet a guy and feel an attraction, how and when do you decide to have sex with him? Is it right away, when your heart and mind barely know the guy? Or is it later on, after your libido has a healthy conversation with the wisdom of your mind and the feelings in your heart?
I’m not here to tell you that there’s one right way to do it. I had a client who met a guy at our local bathhouse, had great sex with him and they exchanged numbers. The next day, he wondered if there might be more possible with this guy than merely (?) great sex. Initially, my client’s genitals had called the shots, but now his mind (thoughts) and heart (feelings) wanted to get in the game too. He came to me asking, “How can I have a relationship where my mind, heart and dick all work together?”
Good question. Let’s look at the heart first.
Your heart is all about emotions and feelings. When you’re getting to know a guy, take some time and check in with yourself. What are you feeling? What emotions are you aware of? Does thinking of him make you smile? This is your heart talking.
Now, check in with your head. Your thoughts, the rational, logical part of your brain. This is where we live most of the time: thinking, judging and analyzing. Sometimes we have lots of “voices” in our head, and they don’t always agree. One voice says, “Could this guy be husband material?” or you may hear another voice, that says, “Don’t be an idiot, it was fun: move on!”
All the voices in our head are like a committee. Each committee member has a unique point-of-view and wants to be heard. Every high-functioning committee allows each member to speak their truth, and then a consensus is reached. You can do the same with the voices in your head.
Once you listen to your heart and mind, it’s time to pay attention to your testosterone-driven friend, your dick. Watching man-on-man porn, you’d think that hard dicks and great orgasms are all that count. Where’s the intelligence, the emotion? The mind and heart are almost seen as “girly” parts of man-to-man relationships. And yet, without the mind and heart’s involvement, our relationships — from hook-ups to marriage — will suck pretty bad (pun intended).
In the best sex, your thoughts, emotions and libido all work together. Ever noticed how a good sexual relationship is mostly mental? The next time you’re making love with someone you really like, notice what makes you excited. When you masturbate, what fantasies do you have? This is all in your head: your thoughts create feelings and the feelings work in harmony with physical sensations to create great sex.
I am often asked by clients, “How do I know if I have a sex addiction?” People who have addictive sexual behavior are rarely in touch with their emotions: their dicks are running the show. Their emotional hunger never gets satisfied, so they keep looking for the next man, and one after that.
Many of us gay/bi/trans guys have lots of sex, but does it bring us real satisfaction? Relationships totally focused on sex can be fun, but — in my experience — the best relationships (monogamous or not) are those where your mind is attracted to someone, your heart feels affection and connection, and your dick gets just the right amount of attention too.