All posts by caracola36

In my forties. South TX.

I’m a goddamn fucking pervert and liar

Yesterday my wife caught me looking at porn.  At the time, I didn’t know she had seen me.  We had been taking a nap together and I was spooned up behind her, browsing my mobile phone behind her back.  But apparently she glanced back over her shoulder for a moment and saw.

Later in the day she asked me very calmly about it.  I was scared and lied through my fucking teeth straight to her face to the effect that no, I hadn’t.  She seemed satisfied by that and even said “it’s OK if you were, I was just curious”.

And that was that.  She didn’t seem to give it another thought.

But I did.  My heart was racing because I was caught in a bind: I was terrified to tell her the truth (I was looking at porn, and it was gay porn), but I cannot–absolutely cannot–keep things from her like that.  I can’t lie to her.  (Or at least, maintain a lie to her for long.)

Only a few minutes later I confessed to both the porn and the lie.  I’m heartbroken at having browsed porn fucking again, but I’m utterly devastated at having lied to her.  That feels like a far greater betrayal.

As usual, I sobbed and sobbed.  And as usual, she consoled me and forgave me.

I’m fucking worthless.

Sorrowing Old Man at eternity's gate Van Gogh

Yay, anxiety continues to abate!

Long story short:

In addition to my anxiety diminishing as a result of Buspirone therapy, my doc recently ordered a pharmacogenetics test* for me.  The results of this convinced her to add a supplement to my Rx regimen, a “medical food” called methylfolate.  So far it’s working great!

Summer is on its way, and I’m feeling better than I have in years, maybe decades!  🙂

And here is a lovely photograph illustrating how I feel about that (because after all, Einfühlungynephilia, LOL).  Called “Swedish Summer” by Instagram photographer J Salto.

jsaltoswedishsummer

*The test determined I have a mutation on gene C677T, which makes it difficult for me to synthesize endogenous methylfolate from dietary folic acid.  Because methylfolate plays a key role in the production of both dopamine and serotonin–neurotransmitters required for good mental health–having that mutation can cause chronic anxiety and depression.  So I’m now on huge supplements of Rx-only-grade methylfolate.

Einfühlung, not autogynephilia

All my life I’ve internally felt a slight, odd sort of “female identity”.  (I’ll refrain from recounting the whole history here.)  I’ve never really thought of it as any bona fide transgender inclination–I lack almost all of the DSM-5 hallmarks of Gender Dysphoria and don’t have the prototypical life history of a classically gender-dysphoric individual–so the origin and nature of this sentiment have always been something of a mystery.  The feeling grew more acute and started to ulcerate in late 2016 and into 2017.

So I did my research.  Exhaustive, distressed, months-long research into sexuality and gender identity issues.  It looked more and more like what I was feeling was something called autogynephilia.  In a nutshell, this is a phenomenon in which a man is sexually aroused by the thought of himself as a woman.  I felt revulsion at the idea that I fell into this category, partly because the stereotypical autogynephile is a man who dresses in drag while masturbating, and partly because in my case, it just really wasn’t accurate.*  I felt no erotic arousal in envisioning myself as womanly.  It was more like some sort of emotional inner “spirit”, some kinship with something vaguely “feminine”.

(*Moreover, the scientific typology describing autogynephilia has been heavily criticized by a number of scholars, and its legitimacy is in fact a little “iffy”.  Trans scholar and activist Julia Serano has written extensively about this.)

Nonetheless, there was indeed this female “mirror self” inside me: a reflection of myself as a woman, with those attributes of my personality that are at least traditionally ascribed to women: empathy, tenderness, sensitivity, and deep aesthetic appreciation.

[cont’d below]

ArtistIsGreyerbaby
[(cc0), artist: Greyerbaby, Pixabay.com]

So I spent a long time confused but in a weird way, also happy.  I felt joyful at the thought of being “associated with” the identity of a woman.  For a few months I even painted my nails with clear gloss and wore women’s leggings at home.  And I wasn’t exactly ashamed; I spoke somewhat freely about all this, because I wanted people to associate me with beauty.  And that’s how I differ from a typologized autogynephile, I think: for me it was not about sexual gratification but rather a (probably narcissistic) desire to “become” that which is beautiful.  Because whatever else I am sexually, I’m definitely also straight and deeply appreciate and enjoy female beauty.

[cont’d below]

leandrodecarvalhophoto cc0 pixabay

All of this started to subside in Spring of 2017.  I don’t know exactly why.  It might have been the natural ebb and flow of my aesthetic interests, and it might have been hormonal: I went on testosterone replacement therapy early that year.  (This didn’t work out real well, btw.  That’s a whole other story.)

Anyway, although I no longer feel compelled to publicly express myself in feminine ways and feel very comfortable in my natural masculinity, I still vaguely enjoy the imagined reality of myself as female.  (Witness all the clip art I use on this blog: almost every illustration I use to describe what I’m feeling at any given time is that of a woman.  It’s just a very minor way of expressing all this.)

So where is this all coming from??  If I’m not transgender, and I’m not an autogynephile, what am I??

As it turns out, probably just a very empathic male.  I keenly feel the emotional and aesthetic energy of things around me.

[cont’d below]

pexels cc0 pixabay

See, I’ve been reading this book by David Howe called Empathy: What It Is and Why It Matters.  In it, Howe recounts the theory proposed by 19th-century German aesthetic philosopher Robert Vischer, known as Einfühlung.  This translates best into English as “feeling into” the aesthetic world, eg, joining the artist deeply in his emotions upon viewing his art.  As a modern example, singing along to your favorite music in the shower or in the car on your way to work.  Or admiring someone’s lovely talent in some area and quietly wishing, “I wish I could do that.”  All of these are examples of Einfühlung: a feeling into the aesthetic world and absorbing its emotional and aesthetic energy into yourself.  It involves empathy, a strong aesthetic sense, and to some degree maybe, at least in my case…an envy of beauty.

That’s what I think I feel.  I’m not a transgendered person, nor am I an autogynephile.  I’m an empath, an aesthete, and a heterosexual.  How could I NOT want to “merge with” and “become” a woman somehow?  Obviously sexual intercourse is one way to express that.  In fact I think that’s what making love is: really merging with another person.  But additionally, on a different level within me, there is Einfühlung: a desire to reflect and project a woman’s physical beauty as well as “female” thoughts, feelings, and heart.

(postscript: I suppose the criticism could be proffered that this feeling is inherently reductionist, based on traditional gender roles, and therefore sexist.  ie, That it reduces the woman to a coveted “object of admiration” rather than viewing her as a whole being.  But I think this criticism rather unwarranted, as it goes without saying that a heterosexual male will admire a female; I fail to see anything wrong with that.  And in terms of reducing a woman to her beautiful physical attributes, well…I’ve already addressed that.  There is more involved: there is an envy of her mental and emotional and spiritual being, as well.)

Finally, some understanding of my anxiety

I’ve recently come to some significant revelations about my dark, lifelong anxiety, and I’m hoping these “breakthroughs” will lead to better treatment and a more robust set of coping skills.

[cont’d below]

anxiety

First things first.  As will no doubt have been amply gleaned from this blog, I suffer from chronic anxiety, sometimes reaching the point of suicidal ideation.  Nighttime seems the worst.  When things get still and quiet and dark–when the whole world is asleep except me–the blackness bubbles up to the surface of mind.

Financial worries.  Stress over mundane matters like keeping the house tidy.  My daughter’s grades in school and her future.  My wife’s health.  Accidents that might happen that we would be circumstantially or financially unprepared for.  Job loss.  Homelessness.  What it would feel like to blow my brains out (would it be less painful to shoot oneself in the heart?).  Where I would carry out suicide and how I would write and deliver the note.  (Should I e-mail the local police right beforehand to tell them where they’ll find the body, to prevent anyone seeing it and being traumatized?)  How badly my suicide would hurt my wife and daughter.  Soldiers getting their legs blown off in combat.  What it would feel like to be skinned alive.  What must have been going through the mind of Bernhard Knipperdolling as he watched the torture of John of Leiden, being so terrorized by brutality that he attempted to strangle himself with the iron cage around his own neck.

You know, that sort of thing.

This affliction of anxiety began more than 30 years ago, when I was about 9 or 10 years old.  Round about Christmas time one of those years, I noticed small bumps on the underside of my penis, near the base.  Now, even though I grew up in a fundamentalist home where sex was almost never mentioned, I had been sufficiently exposed to information on sexually transmitted diseases to be stricken with the horror that I had one (even though I had never had sex!).  I spent that Christmas utterly devastated.  And silent.  I believed my parents would punish and demonize me if I confessed to having an STD, so I couldn’t say anything.  I had to resign myself to a life of disease and ostracism.  I did my best to be cheerful, but I was dying inside.

At about age 12 or 13, I suppose, I was riding in the back seat of a 2-door car when the idiot teenage driver (a friend of my brother or sister, I think) decided to do donuts in an open parking lot.  He sped round and round, faster and faster.  And round and round again.  I started to panic.  I couldn’t get out.  It being a 2-door car, I was trapped.  He just. wouldn’t. stop. the car. from whizzing about in circles.  It was horrible.  I guess that was my first episode of cleithrophobia and fear of loss of control.

A couple years later, around age 14, I experienced my first episode of clinical depression.  I don’t remember what triggered it nor do I remember what day-to-day life was like at that age, but I do remember that was the first time I tried to commit suicide…

I had heard my dad mention casually one day, probably as we were fueling up the car or something, that gasoline fumes can be lethal.  So I started ruminating…  I could soak a cloth in gasoline, wring it out, then lie down peacefully on my bed, placing the rag over my face, and inhale deeply until unconsciousness and death came.  I would post my suicide note on the wall above my pillow.

I never did it.  It was just non-intentional ideation.  I did, however, avail myself of a random chance that arose one day when I was mowing the lawn.  I was fueling up the mower with an open jar of gas.  “Huh,” I thought, “let me just inhale really deeply and it will look like an accident.”  So I did that.

I was attempting suicide.

Obviously, I just got really dizzy and spilled the gas.  Never tried it again.

Fast-forward a few years.  I join the Army, at age 17 (see my lengthy post on THAT one, ha ha).  I was SO obsessed with being a good soldier–with graduating Basic Training–so fearful of failure and so despondent from being abused and not in control, that I sunk into a deep depression.  I didn’t understand how the other trainees could take things in such stride.  I didn’t realize it at the time, but my ultimate failure in the Army was in large part a consequence of the undiagnosed mental illnesses of anxiety and depression.

At age 25 I married my wife, and we moved in together.  As a young couple still in college, we clearly didn’t have much money.  I took a high-paying job in a call center due to my bilingual skills, but it was a nightmare.  Toxic, competitive, and extremely stressful.  I constantly worried about being undermined by coworkers, screwing up hugely, and then being fired.  (These were actually not that unreasonable, given that workplace!)  Deep depression set in.  One dark winter day I walked around the quiet snowy trees behind our apartment, utterly defeated and hopeless.  I’ll always remember that.  But we HAD to have the income, so I stayed as long as I could at that job.  Turned out that “as long as I could” was a couple of months.  Another failure.

I was drinking a fair amount throughout college.  Never really binge-drinking in the party sense, but always looking forward to that tall boy at the end of the day.

Then came the move to Texas.  Hoo boy.  Just me and my wife against a strange new world.  1,000 miles away from anything I had ever called home or comfort.  Sink or swim, do or die.

About 18 months later came my wife’s pregnancy and the purchase of a house.  HUGE responsibilities, HUGE commitments.  I was overjoyed, but even happy stress is still stress and increases anxiety.

When I got ill with viral meningitis in 2004 is when the addictions began.  Benzos and opiates just made it all go away.  Relief.  Comfort.  Escape.  But what followed was 7 years of horror, yadda yadda yadda.

Got clean in 2011, but anxiety and depression have still been my constant companions, since.

Which brings me to the present…

I have long suspected that I have Generalized Anxiety Disorder, and when I FINALLY–after 9 years of treatment and rapport-building with her–told my shrink the History Of All My Fears, she basically diagnosed me with it and put me on Buspar (buspirone), a non-habit forming anti-anxiety medication.

That was 3 weeks ago.

I have felt SO MUCH BETTER since then.  The anxieties are not gone, of course, but things feel…manageable!

I’m hopeful.  For the first time in many years, I feel truly, thoroughly HOPEFUL.

 

 

 

So I told my wife.

[NOTE: I began this post back in October, but was lazy and didn’t finish it.  Here’s the updated version.]

Told her about the physical bisexual desires, that is.

She reacted AMAZINGLY well.  She found it a little erotically exciting, in fact.

I tried to contextualize everything.  Tied it all together with all the confused gender stuff and just…told her.  Because I think I finally understand it, myself.  I’m a heterosexual male who has bisexual physical drives.

I kinda took advantage of her being a little tipsy one evening–when she was relaxed, giddy, and happy–to broach the subject of sexual fantasies.  Just easier to talk about this stuff then.  Maybe that was wrong or manipulative to begin the discussion on those grounds, I don’t know.  But she didn’t seem at all upset the next day, even.

It was scary, but it was just something I had to get out.  Even if you’re not committing any kind of infidelity, you just can’t live with secrets like this.

Over the past few months things have been great.  My wife is amazingly tolerant and supportive.

She has expressed a remote concern about “waiting for the other shoe to drop”, ie, a further and more catastrophic relevation about my identity, desires, etc.  I can understand her apprehension.  I’ve talked to her about stuff that could be significantly disturbing to a spouse.  She has taken it all in stride, but it’s to be expected that she might be apprehensive about something bigger and more life-changing down the road.  I’ve tried to reassure her that I have really told her EVERYTHING now, and she seems to believe me.

Anyway, I feel SO. MUCH. BETTER! about all of this.

Yeah, after all this time, I think I’m gonna hafta go with…

Bisexual.  Or at least “sexually fluid straight male” as sex therapist Joe Kort coined it.

The doubt, the questioning–the dilemma–has always been Why is it that I’m not nearly as visually attracted to men as I am to women, and yet I still want to have sex with them?

The possibility of “just a kink”, “just a fetish” never felt adequate.  It felt dirty.  Disrespectful, both to me and to my (imagined) male partner(s).

Then I finally realized:  Simple biSEXuality is a legitimate form of bisexuality.  That is to say, although there are indeed differences between sexual orientation, sexual behavior, and sexual identity, feeling that one has an inclination towards both genders in any one of these areas is well and truly grounds for the bisexual label, if one chooses it for himself.

And I need a label, despite people constantly saying that labels are limiting, counterproductive, unhelpful, problematic, etc.  Labels help us understand ourselves.  They help us juxtapose ourselves in a space and time and in social and biological constructs.  There are those of course who are content to happily embrace the wonderful ambiguity and complexity of the human being, but I’m not one of them.  I need to feel grounded.  Situated.

I’ll probably never really “come out of the closet” with this.  There’s no need to, and it could prove counterproductive.  I think my wife already kinda suspects I’m somewhat bi to some degree, but if I were to boldly just assert it, I’m not sure how she would react.  And since I have no intention of ever seeking male-male sex or romance, there’s no point in telling her anyway.  I guess this just has to be private.  Between me and my blog.  (Oh, and reddit.  I put stuff anonymously on reddit, LOL.)

Bi-flag_new

A lot can change quickly. Plus, more “straight-gay” stuff.

I realized recently that it’s been a while since I’ve posted anything here.  That’s good, I guess.  It means that not much is troubling me to any great degree.  So I’ll take this quiet opportunity afforded by the blowings-over of Tropical Storm Harvey to catch up.

It’s funny:  The things I struggle with the most (eg, gender identity) ebb and flow like the tide.  Right now, for example, I feel about 98.5% happily masculine, and have for weeks.  Summer seems to bring out the male in me, and when I feel the vaguely “autogynephilic” idealization the strongest, it’s always in fall and winter.  I have no idea why.  But I’m not questioning it.  Just enjoying the lack of inner turmoil over it at the moment.

I still have a lot of inner questioning and confusion, however, over my homosexual desires.  What confuses me is that they shouldn’t be there: I’m honestly, legitimately STRAIGHT.  So why is it that women turn me on so much and fulfill me emotionally, but I also want to have sex with men??

(In a recent post I “came out” as bisexual, but that still feels wrong for some reason.)

Answers to this question run a predictable (and unsatisfying) gamut:

“You’re gay and in denial.”  Um, no…if you could feel through my genitals how hot sex with my wife is, you’d know that’s just not true. I’ve also been truly HAPPILY married for 17 years.  Plus, it’s unwarranted and unfair to just dismiss someone’s claims of subjective sexual identity experience merely because they don’t conform to your own worldview.  A lot of gays, for example, will use the “you’re gay and in denial” approach with someone like me.  I’m pretty sure that they would be highly insulted, however, if someone were to tell them, “You’re really straight and just in denial.  This is just a phase.  A kink.  You’re just confused.”  No, they KNOW they’re gay, skin to bone, especially if they’ve already started sleeping with other men.  Likewise, I KNOW I’m straight.  My anxiety and confusion does not arise from such a question as “Am I gay?” but rather from “How does it work that I’m straight AND I want gay sex?”

“You’re bisexual.”  Eh…that label doesn’t fit. Not interested in men romantically. Just want them to fuck me silly.  And I don’t generally get skip-a-beat turned on by goodlooking guys in public, like I do with women.

“It’s just a kink.”  No, that descriptor feels wrong, too.  The idea of gay sex is still appealing even after I orgasm from the fantasy.  It resides.  It’s like a permanent and natural and respectable part of my “sex brain”.  And it’s not just a cheap, nasty, porno thrill: when I fantasize, I care for the man’s enjoyment in the sex, view him as a full person, and not just any man would do: he’s gotta be hot.

“You’re heteroflexible/heteroromantic-homosexual.”  Um…what the fuck is THAT? I mean, I get the idea, but I can find no evidence that such a thing even exists.  Thinking about it, though, I have to be honest:  There are elements of being attracted to women romantically that I hear other people describe that are just kinda…weird to me.  It’s like…love and sex are different, and even though I would love to be able to have both at the same time, I find myself incapable of truly expressing myself sexually with a woman.  Fuck’s sake, now I don’t even know what I’m saying.  I’m going too deep, maybe overstating things.  Better end this now.