I do not hide the fact that I am a man and am in love with a man. That is my sexual orientation: male-male. I was born that way. Of course, I didn’t know my sexual orientation as a child, but as I grew older and explored my sexuality, I realized that I liked men for more things than just being buddies. I liked women, too, but kept the relationships as friends, but had no sexual interest in them.
Recently, I received and read an email from someone I know who is going through a tough time in his life. In that message, he said that he was going to “live conservatively and be straight.” He said that years ago, he “crossed to the other side” when he lived with a man as his partner. But now he has “nothing against the gay lifestyle (for me) BUT he is now going to live straight.”
Oh criminey. This guy is confusing issues which probably has to do with what he reads and hears from media reporting about sexual identify, sexuality, and sex. In my opinion, he was saying things that confuse two basic human characteristics: one’s sexual orientation and one’s choice of how to live — one’s lifestyle.
My lifestyle, as I described it to him, is that I am “a fairly conservative living, politically liberal-leaning, community-oriented, faithful family-oriented caregiver who happens to enjoy riding a Harley and likes to wear boots and leather.” This has nothing to do with my sexual orientation and that a man is my mate, and I choose to have sex only with him (that choice is called monogamy).
He had no idea how offensive it was to me for him to refer to someone’s sexual orientation as a “lifestyle” as if I could have chosen to “be” gay or “be” straight. I am who I am and my sexual orientation is what it is.
I think this is the fundamental core of the ongoing debate and rage in society, where Bible-thumping conservatives think that one can choose his sexual orientation, or that someone who has a same-sex sexual orientation can have it changed to an opposite-sex orientation. I truly do not believe that is possible (or healthy) — at least with me (and my partner.)
I do make the choice to be in love with one man, and to have sex only with him. There are other gay men who play in wider circles. That’s not for me to judge, as I request that they not judge me for the fact that my partner and I keep our sex lives to ourselves.
Life is short: don’t refer to something that someone is born with as a choice, when it is not.