Posts Tagged strain

The Next Chapter

Two years ago, I started this blog. I began writing because I felt alone. I knew there had to be other gay men out there who were looking for the same thing I was, and I wanted a way to connect with them.

grindrAt the time, I just ended my first gay relationship, and I found myself in very unchartered waters. I was already out to close friends, but not publicly. Because I had so few gay friends and a strong aversion to gay bars, I had to find a mate digitally. I began serial dating, at one point going on four dates in four days — And thus, One Gay At A Time was born.

Since the beginning, I have gone on MANY dates and put myself in many situations well outside my comfort zone. I have not only grown more comfortable in my own skin, but I’ve also grown up as a gay man. I got all the hookups out of my system and began searching for a meaningful, long-term relationship.

This blog began as an open forum diary of the daily occurrences I encountered navigating the gay world. I told my side of the story honestly in hopes that others out there would be able to relate, comment and most importantly, realize they are not alone.

The time has come for the next chapter of my life and for this blog. For quite some time I’ve been blogging about CK (aka Clark Kent or Superman). You’ve gotten to know him through my eyes in the early stages of our relationship. It’s been some time since I’ve blogged, and I apologize for leaving you, my readers in the lurch. I do not mean to abandon the small community I’ve worked so hard to foster, but I’ve been struggling with the next chapter of the blog.

When I first told CK about the blog, he was very open to and even grew excited about the idea of my writing our relationship. Over time, as you could probably understand, his excitement waned, and we began to argue about the content of the blog.

I had to make a choice between the blog and my man. It’s quite obvious which I chose. As a result, I will no longer be blogging about the specifics of my relationship with CK. However, in lieu of continuing to finish our story in a daily dairy format, let me catch you up on what has happened since July. Here are some of the highlights…

In July, CK joined my family for our annual beach vacation. While I went for the entire week, he only joined us for a few days. It was the first time we’d spent an extended period of time apart, and with my trust/cheating baggage, it was a true test of my sanity. I was thrilled and relieved when he finally arrived. It was also nice that he would finally get to spend some real-time getting to know my parents.

In early August, I traveled to Miami, CK’s birthplace to surprise his family with a visit to celebrate the birthdays of his two beautiful nephews (turning 1 and 2 only a week apart). I felt incredibly special taking this trip with CK. I was meeting his ENTIRE extended family. Before this point, I’d only met his mother. I was welcomed into the family with open arms and came to grow strong bonds with them over just a handful of days. This was unchartered territory for both of us, as I’d never been brought home to meet the family by anyone other than my high school girlfriend, and he’d never brought a man home to meet everyone before. It could not have worked out better!

Around Labor Day, CK and I went on week-long vacation to the Hamptons with 15 of my friends and family. While there, our relationship grew very strained. I felt he was trying too hard to impress my friends. I wanted him to be himself so all of them would come to love the man I knew, not the man I felt he was trying to be for them. By the end of the week, I reached my breaking point. I was so stressed out from organizing the vacation and ensuring everyone was happy that I made myself miserable, and I took it out on the person closest to me. In the penultimate moment of the trip, one night we not only exchanged words but also fists and shoves, as my closest friends and sister witnessed the lowest moment of our relationship.

It took a lot of time for CK and I to figure things out. This wasn’t the first time our relationship reached physicality, but I hoped it was the last. It also took a long time for things to return to normal between CK, me and my circle of friends. My sister wasn’t speaking to me for over a month and my friends had semi-ostracized me from typical gatherings. I burned a lot of bridges on that trip, and I am still working to rebuild them today. You can expect to read about my experiences and feelings dealing with issues such as physical violence in a relationship as one of the topics I will cover in coming posts.

In September, CK and I found an apartment in Hoboken to call our own. We moved in together in the midst of Hurricane Sandy’s wake on November 2. Although the experience of moving immediately following a hurricane is incredibly overwhelming, we are both stronger as a result of the experience. In my experience, moving in with a lover is unlike sharing a space with any other. You’ll certainly be reading about my experiences and the things I’ve learned from this experience as well.

After Sandy exhausted my last modicum of energy, I decided I was too tired to shave my upper lip. CK and I both decided to raise awareness and funds to fight prostate cancer by growing mustaches for Movember. I proudly raised over $500 for charity as a result of my stache, and I was thrilled when we both shaved them off — We both looked like pedophiles.

For the first time in my life, I had someone to take home to meet my family for Thanksgiving. Before venturing home, I sent my extended maternal family an email to get the awkwardness out of the way. You’ll be pleased to know my family welcomed him with open arms. I imagine coming out to extended family creates a lot of anxiety for man, as it did for me, so I hope sharing my experiences will encourage more to share the truth with the ones they love.

When I returned to Hoboken after Thanksgiving, preparations began immediately for what would have been my Sixth Annual Holiday Bash. This year, it became Our First Annual Holiday Bash. I finally had someone to share the hosting duties with, making it extra special.

Although CK and I spent Christmas apart, after all the festivities with my family, I hopped on a flight down to Miami to spend the rest of the holiday season and New Years Eve with my man and his family. CK’s sister and brother-in-law planned a trip with their two boys to Disney World for two days. After a little persuading, I convinced CK we should join them. I preferred Disney to a raucous gay party any day, and it was truly magical to see Disney World through the eyes of a two-year-old.

In February, CK and I took a romantic trip to Mohonk Mountain House in New Paltz, NY. Although it seems we can’t go anywhere without having some kind of quarrel like an old married couple, the trip was amazing and couldn’t have come at a better time. We went ice skating, snow shoeing, swimming, hiking, and much more. It was a perfect escape for both of us to get out of the city and away from the bustle of it all after the holidays.

In between, there have been countless brunches, parties, trips, nights out, Broadway shows, fights… Oh yea, and plenty of sex — Can’t forget the sex! Overall, things have been going well for us. You have good days and bad days, but you have to realize the bad days are just there so you appreciate the good ones all the more. I am thrilled to announce, this past Saturday, CK and I celebrated our one-year anniversary at the restaurant we went to on our first date, Frankies Spuntino 570. Although we waited nearly an hour, the evening was perfect, and I look forward to many more years together.

Although I won’t be detailing the specifics of my relationship going forward, I hope to share with you what I have learned along the way. It’s not easy being in a relationship, but then again, the things that are worth it never really are.

To my most dedicated readers who haven’t let me lack of posting stop them from commenting words of support on my blog, thank you. You are what has motivated me to get back into this once again. I feel like many of you have integrated my writing into your daily routines, and I have left you with your morning coffee in hand and no reading material. You will not see the frequency of posts you may have grown accustomed in the past, but I still hope you find time in your lives for One Gay At A Time.

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Am I Broken?

The following topic of conversation is very embarrassing and very personal. It’s not easy to talk about, but I have a strong feeling I am not the only one who suffers from the issue. Warning: It may make some of you uncomfortable. I am exposing myself in this post, but I feel I need to face my demons to be able to get over them. I also feel guilty writing about this, because it’s a bit of an invasion of privacy for others, but I also feel it’s necessary if I’m being honest with myself and this blog. I wonder if someone out there may have insight to help me and others with this predicament. I feel the need to shine a light on this issue, as no one is talking about it.

My intentions were obvious this time around with Smiles. My hand was down his pants fondling him until I was pushed away with a grunt. There was no misconstruing my intentions. After being denied sex yet again by Smiles, I felt the need to consult my council.

I called Boston for his take on the situation. I explained being denied sex on more than one occasion. His immediate response was, “Oooooo. That’s not good. Something isn’t right.”

I responded, “I know, right? I just wanted to make sure I wasn’t making a mountain out of a mole hill.”

We chatted about the issue, and he told me I needed to address the issue. “Sex is an important part of any relationship, and based on what I read in your blog, sex is important to you,” he added. We discussed the best way to bring it up. The main consensus was waiting until the relevant situation arose. He suggested I don’t bring it up over dinner. If I was denied again, I should bring it up immediately to find the root of the problem.

This was the point in the conversation where I made a small confession of my own. I was worried I may have been to blame for the quantity. I explained my climaxing issue to Boston for the first time in full detail. I told him, while I’d been with Smiles a few times, I had yet to climax. This was through no fault of Smiles. This was a common occurrence for me dating back to the days I was with Broadway. In fact, I feel it was a large part of the reason we broke up. It put a lot of strain on the relationship. He took it personally, even though I assured him it had nothing to do with him. I was still quite attracted to him and still received pleasure from sex, but I wasn’t finishing.

I never was able to find the root of my problem. For a while, I hoped it would fix itself. When it didn’t I explored a number of theories. The leading one being I hardwired my brain to function in a specific way in relation to sex.

For 16+ years, my main outlet for my sexual frustrations was viewing gay porn and pleasuring myself. I wasn’t dating men, and I wasn’t exactly a lady killer either. I would go home, open the laptop, and take care of myself. I worried my brain was hardwired to react only to that stimuli.

I wanted nothing more than to “fix” this issue. For some time, I masked it by prepping myself. If I knew Broadway and I would be having sex, I watched porn before I saw him to build up a “spank bank.” I referred to this when he got me close to finishing to get me over that last hill. It worked for some time, but eventually that solution lost its effectiveness. That’s when things got really bad. I got so stressed about it, when the moment came, there was nothing I could do but think about my lack of performance. I was so wrapped up in the issue, there was no unwinding me at that point.

I had many frank discussions with Broadway on the subject. After discussing it, we agreed not to talk about the issue for some time. It was the only way I was going to be able to relieve some of the pressure I was putting on myself. Eventually it did the trick, and I had my happy ending. However, it wasn’t a 100% solution. Most of the time, I was only able to cum after he performed oral sex. A majority of our relationship, I never climax from anal penetration. The issue was still there. It was just lessened.

It wasn’t as big an issue with San Francisco because we were an entire country apart. When I was physically with him out in San Francisco, I had no issue. When we Skyped, it took slightly longer, but eventually I climaxed. After San Francisco, I slept with a handful of guys. I specifically remember it being an issue with The Trainer. I know it’s not an issue of physical attraction, because he had a body like a god! However, I had to finish myself off that time, and it took some time.

When I was dating N, it took a long time, but I almost always finished. He started noticing my “condition” as time went on. We discussed it lightly, but I think he was under the impression it just took me a little longer than most guys to finish. As I’ve said before, I had to resort to my “spank bank.” Many times, what I was imagining involved the two of us. I wasn’t even imagining porn stars. It was the two of us in different scenario/locations other than in my bed.

Over the summer, it wasn’t really and issue for me. I had no strong connection to the guys I was sleeping with. It was purely recreation and my own need to get some crazy out of my system. I had no pressure or image to keep up. I was just having fun, and it worked.

The first time Smiles and I had sex, I bottomed. No matter who I have been with, I have never finished from bottoming. It has its pleasures, but it never had that effect on me — Hence my status as a preferred top. With Smiles, there was one time when I was very close during oral sex. I was right there, but I just couldn’t close that final gap. After we had sex other times, and I still didn’t finish, I began to morph my theory.

I have a very high pain threshold. Because of this, I wonder if I am in turn cursed with a high pleasure threshold. Maybe it takes more to get me off. I also wondered if my stimulation comes from something more visual. Maybe I need to witness the penetration to climax. Again, these are all just shots in the dark, no pun intended, but I want nothing more than to figure out this enigma. However, I haven’t been able to test my theory at this point.

Smiles expressed his interest early on to work with me to figure this out. It meant a great deal to hear him verbalize this to me. I need someone who can be understanding and patient with me if I’m going to lick this thing.

After I talked to Boston, after a drunk night at the bar, I discussed in length with D my issue. This was really tough for me because I am so embarrassed by the situation. It makes me feel like less of a man. He was helpful in our discussion and helped me feel more comfortable talking about it.

I also called to Broadway. I didn’t exactly feel comfortable talking to him about the details of my new relationship, nor did I think it was fair to him. But, he had experience with this issue. He knew what was going on with me, and maybe now that we weren’t together, he could help me find the key. When I told him I was being denied sex, he immediately said, “Something’s wrong! That’s not normal. You need to talk to him about it.” Everyone was telling me what I already knew, but not what I wanted to hear. In thinking I was partially responsible for the situation, I brought up my issue. Maybe he was avoiding sex with me because I couldn’t finish.

Broadway told me I needed to stop being so stupid about it. I was stressing myself out over it, and that wasn’t going to solve anything. I needed to acknowledge to myself the issue and go see someone about it. I told him I had been entertaining the idea of going to see a therapist, but it takes a very special type of therapist for such a sensitive issue. It wasn’t exactly the easiest thing to find in the yellowpages. He again just indicated I needed to talk to someone about it if I wanted to get over it. He also reminded me I needed to talk to Smiles directly about why we weren’t having sex more often.

The next morning when I woke, I sent Smiles a message detailing my desire for him to be in the bed next to me and how horny I was. He responded positively and seemed he would have been up for morning sex had he actually been there. I was surprised considering a few hours earlier I was denied.

We made plans for Sunday, and I went on with my pondering my issue for the rest of the day. Did he think I didn’t enjoy sex? That certainly isn’t the case. Even if I don’t finish, I still thoroughly enjoy sex and still get a body high from it. Did it bruise his ego to know I wasn’t being fully stimulated by him? I can assure him, it is me, not him. There were a million questions, but no solid answers.

One thing is clear. I need help. I cannot solve this problem on my own, but maybe talking about it with my therapist, Dr. WordPress, will help me face my demons head on and conquer them. Only time will tell…

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