Monday, March 16, 2009

Radical Man-to-Man Love

As a boy, I used to stroke the belly of my puppy. He would lie on his back and enjoy every caress. I also noticed that when I stroked him, he would sometimes sprout an erection.

I am thinking today about how much I love my friend. My straight, male friend who shares with me his very heart and soul, who knows me in all of my vulnerabilities, and yet still accepts me, fully. My friend, who upon hearing how I struggle with same-sex attraction, comes close to me, his body touching mine, looks lovingly into my eyes and tells me that he would like to embrace me in a long, warm bear hug. My friend, who is not afraid to admit that when he feels loving feelings towards others, gets a tingling sensation in his loins. Not a sexual thing, he says. Not a desire to actually have sex; just a physiological reaction of love.

Dare I tell him that I too get the same sensations in the loins when I feel the love I have for him? Dare I tell him that I long for him to stroke me on the belly to the point where I would sprout an erection like an innocent puppy, all giddy and vulnerable?

Alas, I am not an innocent puppy, and I am not straight like him. I have crossed one too many boundaries and I am conditioned to associate male-love with orgasm. Unlike my friend, male-love for me has been sexualized.

How much can one man love another man before it becomes homosexual?

I think my friend lives at the extremes of man-to-man loving, right up to the edge of homosexuality but not crossing over. He has brought me this very edge, and I am teetering, doing everything I can not to fall over the boundary; to embrace his love for me without falling sexually in love with him.

I remember one time, in my adolescence, when I was stroking another dog, and it sprouted an erection. Out of curiosity, I reached out and touched its protruding red penis. I don't remember exactly all that happened after that, but I do remember that its face changed and its happy posture turned into a confused and possibly aggressive one. I also remember feeling as though I had crossed a boundary, and I stopped.

I believe that my straight friend loves me deeply. And I have come to love him back just as deeply, if not more. But it is uncomfortable for me to love a man so deeply and not have it turn sexual. I have only loved one other male figure so deeply and not have it be sexual: Father God.

Such intense man-to-man loving is radical. For me to receive such loving is like having someone open up a huge gaping wound in my heart, pour antiseptic into it, and having me lie there quietly, accepting it all without reacting.

It is killing me.

And yet it may be the only thing that will restore my manhood to me. To experience being fully loved by another man without having it be sexualized. To physically internalize God's masculine, fatherly love for me through the love of a straight man, in the real.

If it be Your will, my Lord, then let me die, that I may find myself resurrected pure and whole in You.

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