SARD: Part 4 – Approaching Sexuality & Relationships.

This is the fourth part of my series on my Sexual and Relationship Development and I felt it was important to look at the first times I really began to look at relationships and sexuality.  I think, my first understandings of relationships were a mix bag of confusion. Having my first sexual encounter being one of an abusive nature, one would think that I had a skewed understanding of relationships.  And I hate to add to it, but I was born into a non-traditional family.  You see, my mother was a single mom when I was born, and I never knew my biological father.  My mom also was married to an abusive man, before she married the man I call my “dad” (Although, he is not my biological father). To top it off, my mother’s family was interesting too. My grandmother had my mother, who’s dad died while my grandmother was pregnant, and then my grandma married an abusive man. She gave birth to two of my aunts during this time. Eventually, she married the man that I considered my grandfather, and my grandmother gave birth to another girl.  So, my first years had a strong female influence (something, I have always wondered had played an influence on how I identify my behaviors). I’ve always, jokingly, told people that my family had a “bush” instead of a “tree” with all of the various convoluted branches going on.

When I was younger, however, the relationships I had available to me for modeling were not too many. I had my grandparents; their relationship always seemed great to me and they are still married, in fact. I only saw my mom with two relationships – the one with the abusive man and the one with the man I knew as dad; when her and my dad divorced, however, I saw her with a couple more relationships that were with horrible men. I saw one of my aunts in various relationships with various men – she was the mother of the cousin I mentioned in my earlier posts.  I can only imagine the confusion my cousin must have felt, and I have come to understand that some of those guys were….hmmm…as fucked up as the babysitter she and I had. My other aunts didn’t have any relationships until I was older, and probably outside the purpose of this post.

Growing up catholic, however, I had the traditional view that marriage was between one man and one woman and that there was no purpose to marriage other than to raise children. In all fairness, my mom believed marriage was for love until much later in life. Needless to say, alternative sexualities would not have been a topic of discussion in my formative years – it was simply assumed everyone was a heterosexual and anything else was a sin (Sometime, I’ll point out that some members of my mom’s family had a looser view of sexuality than I knew about, but it wasn’t open and out in anyway – granted, I’m not sure if they believed alternative sexualities were “okay”, but they certainly didn’t hold a hardline on marital relationships). So, the traditional views of marriage and relationships were indoctirinated.

But I began questioning things, in my pre-pubescent years, and those questions happened to pertain to the nature of relationships. I didn’t understand I had too many same-sex attractions yet, but the conversations began around things like the outbreak of AIDS, or celebrities that had come out as homosexual, or other things that occurred in or around school when you begin hearing about different types of relationships and sexualities.  I remember the advice I would get from my mom – always about girls, of course – and she would recommend me always trying to be a friend to a girl. She used to always tell me that girls want a best friend, before they ever fall in love.  This was advice I always used to approach potential relationships with girls.  Sometimes, I question if it was the right advice.  I don’t really remember much relationship advice from my dad, until many years later.  I remember once, however, my brothers and sisters and I were teasing my dad about not reading Playboy magazine (My dad never had magazines like that and I highly doubt he ever watched porn) and I remember him saying once, “You only need those, if you can’t get a girlfriend.” I remember thinking, at the time, that it seemed reasonable. What woman would want to be “treated like that”?

But, there was another question, I pondered once in a while: What of same-sex relationships?  I remember being in 7th or 8th grade, and watching something on television where I heard that “homosexuality was a sin”.  Although, I was a catholic growing up, I had never heard any discussions about sex – other than the idea that married people had sex – so, I wasn’t aware of this “fact” that homosexuality was a sin. I was appalled. There was something inside of me, something natural that wanted to exclaim – “That’s bullshit!”, but instead, it came out as, “What?!?!? How can that be? No one can control who they love? Can they?”  My mom and dad never made us feel guilty – at least not, explicitly – when my siblings and I had questions about sex. They always answered the questions with compassion and understanding. But I received the “Adam & Eve, not Adam & Steve” explanation, that I am sure plenty of homosexuals have heard in explaining how sexuality is only to be for a man and a woman, who are married.  At the time, my 12 year old mind could accept that as a rational explanation. Little did my parents know, however, that I was already struggling with trying to understand my own attractions, and this was one of those circumstances that made me think that I had a choice in who/what I should be attracted to.

 

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10 thoughts on “SARD: Part 4 – Approaching Sexuality & Relationships.”

  1. Isn’t it interesting (if you want to call it that!) how our upbringing affects how we feel about ourselves. i had a great upbringing. And even though we didn’t talk about homosexuality much – only because it did not appear any of us in the house were and it didn’t come up much until I was much older and people I knew started coming out- we never got the “homosexuality is a sin” speech and I was always encouraged to focus on myself instead of letting someone else complete me or determine my path. If I had been gay, my parents would have rolled with it I’m sure. But it sounds like you have had to navigate for so long and I imagine that is such an exhausting chore. I commend you for trying to explain and find sense in your journey. The bottom line is: it’s your life; not your mothers, fathers, friends, strangers….it’s yours. You know who you are. Be that. And fuck the rest of them!

    Keep on carrying on, find happiness where you can and understand that the bad times will come, but they will also go. It’s unpredictable,scary and exciting. Live it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for these encouraging words. This past weekend, I watched a movie called “The Way” starring Martin Sheen and there is a part where the father (Martin Sheen) is disagreeing with his son (Emilio Estevez) about his son’s choices and his son says, “Dad, you don’t choose a life; you live it!” That struck a chord in me that is sticking with me.

      By the way, I have a connection to you and your blog – I’m an ex cop, so I have tremendous respect and understanding of what you do for a living. 😎

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I very much appreciate your service to the community. If you don’t mind me asking, were you openly gay when you were an officer? I work with quite a few officers who are lesbians and very open ( I think it is just easier in this line of work to admit that) and I actually had a friend of mine – who was an extremely masculine, huge, well built, SWAT guy type – finally came out as transgender and has actually started coming to work representing as female. And I am very proud (and protective) of her. And surprisingly, so many male officers that were friends with “him” are very much trying to show support of her. But that is a rarity in this line of work as you know and I’m just curious if you were able to be open about that. I know officers that I suspect as being gay men and I so badly want to say, “just be yourself!” but that is a personal choice and no one can push you to do that. As long as you have my back when the fight is on or the bullets are flying, I couldn’t give a shit who you love!!!! Just love, that is all that matters.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Well, I began my career as a police officer in 1995 in a small rural town in Colorado, USA. And I spent a couple of years there before moving on to be a deputy sheriff in a nearby county. When I decided to finish my undergraduate degree, I worked as a campus police officer. And for me, I had not accepted my sexuality when I was a cop. In fact, I flat denied anything to do with alternative sexualities.

          And I’m bisexual, by the way. I’ve been married to a woman for the past 18 years, but it is on its last leg and I am considering being open about my bisexuality.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Well, I wish you the best no matter what you decide to do. You should feel comfortable in your own skin and you should feel comfortable being attracted to whoever you want to be attracted to. That shouldn’t define you; there are so many more characteristics that speak to our convictions, morals and ethics than our sexuality. It floors me that some people tie everything to that one part of us. We are complex, emotional beings; I would HOPE that we consisted of more than just that. 🙂

            Liked by 1 person

          2. I’m a bit late here, I know, but I have only just stumbled across this. I think it is an incredibly brave thing to look back on an upbringing, a childhood life yours and remember the years in detail because you want to understand yourself. Many people couldn’t. I’m a married, bisexual mother of one, and while I do look back often at a dark abuse filled upbringing it has never been specifically to analyse if and how those years shaped me, I am not sure I would be so brave.
            I don’t seem to able to follow you, but I would like to

            Liked by 1 person

            1. Thank you, so much, for the encouragement. The exploration of all the thoughts, feelings, encounters, and any other connection to sex was something a therapist had me do. It does lead me to some raw emotions, but it’s is also a way for me to understand myself better. I’ve also taken great solace from people, like yourself, who offer me words of encouragement.

              I noticed you followed my blog, so you should be able to see my posts. 🙂 🌼💖

              Like

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