Friday, March 16, 2007

Coming out

Mormon Enigma wrote about his coming out process. This link also includes an extended comment by me about my own experiences when coming out.

I wrote:

There is a phenomenon known as "gay adolescence" that is, in my experience, almost unavoidable. Basically, what this means is that regardless of your biological age, you tend to have emotions like a teenager when you first come out. For example, you can easily become infatuated. Your sense of "drama" and exhilaration increases. This lasts until you get it out of your system, in the same way that it works for teenagers. It's not all bad-- it makes you experience life with wonderful intensity and passion, but it also can make you irresponsible and kind of crazy. (Parents of actual teenagers will recognize this.) Be on the lookout for this. Your emotions may play tricks on you. When I hear you say "damn the consequences", I think this.

This happened to me. It was like being sixteen years old. I had crushes on guys I barely knew (including fantasies of riding off into the sunset together). I would blush when I met handsome men. I bored my friends and family with earnest-- and lengthy-- discussions about being gay. (Thanks, guys.) It was so embarrassing!

Over time my period of gay adolescence wore off. It lasted about two years.


Beck said...

Your theory of going through a gay adolescent period is intriguing. As obvious as it may seem to you, it never occurred to me that that is exactly what I'm going through. I find myself very easy for infatuations, and becoming twitterpated and having real crushes on guys... not very mature, indeed. It's been 2-1/2 years since I've been "out" to myself... not "out in general" may draw this process of gay adolescent bahavoir even longer, I'm sure... Any advice for speeding up the maturity process of guy relations? I'm not talking sexual here - just relationships with guys in general being more calm and less infatuated, if you know what I mean...

MoHoHawaii said...

I got over my gay adolescence after learning how to date men and eventually getting a live-in boyfriend. It was not unlike the way young people figure this out, thrilling and painful and intense in a recognizably adolescent way. It's weird that prior heterosexual experience doesn't seem to confer any headstart.

I've talked to a lot of guys about this over the years. It seems to be more of an issue the older the person is when he comes out. Guys who come out in their 40s and 50s seem to get this the most. Maybe it's because it's such a big contrast to their maturity in other areas of their lives. Or maybe it's a reaction to years of repressed desire.

As for coping techniques, I think of this by analogy. How would you tell a 16-year-old girl to be less easily infatuated with young men? It's easy to talk about but tough to do. There's biology at work here.

Mormon Enigma said...

my period of gay adolescence ... lasted about two years

Now you're depressing me. I guess one good thing about having a gay adolescent inside of a mature body is that you can slap yourself and send yourself to your room.

Seriously, Beck, it sounds like you and I (and anyone else in our position) are in for a rough ride.

MoHoHawaii said...

Eventually this can even out. I don't get crushes on guys like I used to. I can interact with movie-star handsome men (like my straight personal trainer) and not lose the ability to speak. It's as this part of me grew up and became sexually mature. My ability to love a man is stronger than ever, just a bit more mature.

I hope this doesn't discourage you guys. My intention is just to share my experiences in the hope that you and others can benefit. Who knows? Your experiences might be quite different than mine. It also feels good for me to be able to talk about this history, even though I find it somewhat embarrassing.