Patricia Redlich

Friday, January 22, 2010

Gay And Careless

As I write this, I am mindful of yet another weekend of my life wasted. I'm gay and feel somewhat out of control. I can't seem to find a safe way of meeting other gay men and have too many one night stands. I frequently end up engaging in risky sex, something I'm not proud of. And I'm often anxious about my health, although I've had myself tested and thankfully I'm OK. I have sought professional help in the past for anxiety and depression. I seem to be getting things right in my professional life and have a number of healthy interests.

Family and friends know I'm gay. But they don't know the private torment I put myself through. I realise that by having one-night stands I'm failing to respect myself, and others. But sometimes I just feel so lonely for a soul mate. I go to gay bars alone and see so many couples there. I know other gay men who take their straight friends with them to gay bars, but I never seem to do that. Even though I'm out, I seem to be still in the closet in some ways.

There is nothing worse than another Sunday lying wasted in my bed after a cocktail of drink and poppers, with the sad realisation that I've maybe had unprotected sex again. I want to live a full life. Sex is part of that. I'd like to be more responsible in how I go about it all. Depression often sends me into low places of self-loathing. There are times when I wish I wasn't born, or at least not gay. I think I've accepted that I'm gay, but still find it a very harsh reality. Is there anything I can do to stop the one-night stands?

This isn't about being gay at all. This is about self-esteem, or rather lack of it. You know only too well that heterosexuals regularly do serious damage to themselves too, both physically, mentally and emotionally - with alcohol, drugs, abusive relationships, the lot.

You say you want to be behave in a responsible fashion. There is, however, no magic wand that anyone can wave. You simply have to start doing just that. Ending the one-night stands, however, is probably not the place to begin. How can anyone properly control their sexual behaviour when they're on a cocktail of drink and poppers, to use your phrase? It's a bit like handing teenagers lots of advice about sex. What use is it, when they are out of their heads drunk? They can't even keep themselves physically safe, let alone be selective about sex.

Perhaps visiting gay bars reduces the risk of chatting up a heterosexual guy. I still wonder at the wisdom of making them the centre of your social existence. Sure, there's togetherness. But there's also a culture of careless sex, basically of self- abuse, much as you've described it. Maybe integrating your heterosexual friends into the scene would indeed help. You wouldn't be on your own, so you'd be less vulnerable.

Ditching the drinks and drugs, however, may ultimately involve dodging the gay bars. On top of that, defining ourselves solely in terms of sex doesn't help in the search for a life-partner, gay or straight. The meat market of the disco scene makes the point. Anyway, improving your self-esteem involves enriching your whole life. You are already happy with your professional career. You also have other interests. Like all of us, you have to build on that. Turn yourself into someone who is wonderful to be around because he's funny, interesting, engaged in the world, good, and kind. Certainly sexual attraction is important. Personality, however, is what long-term relationships are built on.
Irish based professional therapist and journalist. Website By : Deise Design