In the pre-modern west, male love survived mostly underground, visible only when the lovers were unlucky enough to get caught, or when hinted at by artists brave enough to flout convention. The list of luminaries, artists, statesmen, men of the cloth, knights and knaves who felt the pull of male love – by itself, or alongside the love of women – is endless – and we only know a fraction of them, for most covered their traces too well and will forever remain hidden.Many writers, musicians, painters and poets depicted male love, but always in coded form: Michelangelo, who adorned the Sistine Chapel with vibrant male nudes; Shakespeare, who serenaded his darling boy in his sonnets; Blake who railed against priests “binding with briars my joys and desires;” Whitman, who sang the body electric, Proust, Baden-Powell, Tchaikovsky, Britten, Auden, Isherwood. The big lie that same-sex love is “against nature,” a fiction which flies in the face of both biology and history, depends on ignorance and censorship for its survival.
Yet, by the time I reached my fortieth birthday—in spite of being a psychotherapist who was helping others to have happy, successful and satisfying unions every day, I was a true-blue, card-carrying member of the fastest-growing group in America—the “never marrieds.” I was mortified. Maybe men didn’t like strong, mission-driven women. Maybe I’d waited too long to take my quest for love seriously because by now, it seemed that all the good ones really were already taken. But the men who liked me always turned out to be unavailable in one way or another. Married men, alcoholic men, commitment phobic men, engaged men . If it was an impossible love, I was a magnet for it. ” I’d murmur something about never having met the right person. For years, I longed to be in a committed, loving relationship with someone who I adored and who adored me back, and with whom I could create a happy family of our own. even gay men who wanted to explore found me utterly fascinating. Covertly worried that there was something with me, when others asked the horrifying question, “Why haven’t you ever married?Grown men sought teenage lovers, just as they married teenage wives.The main difference was that the “gay marriage” could only take place with the beloved’s consent, while the girl was told by her father whom to marry and had to obey.” Let’s hope that in coming years students will not have to wait until they are in their twenties to make that discovery.
who are conscious, caring individuals and who have done impressive and meaningful things in life—and yet who remain frustrated (and frankly, confused! And hard as I tried to have the story go another way (the endless hours in therapy talking about my relationship “issues,” the countless self-help books read and the many relationship seminars attended) at the end of the day . All the while secretly wondering, however, if maybe I’d never actually been the right person.In Japan, apprentice Samurai paired up with older warriors to be trained in love and war, and all the shoguns slept with pages called “kosho,” their “nanshoku” loves recorded by writers and shunga painters who immortalized “shudo,” the Way of the Young.They likewise immortalized the hard lives of the “tobiko” or fly boys, traveling young kabuki actors who had to labor on stage by day and please their clients in bed by night.Democracy was another invention of the Greeks, and the two men they honored for its introduction were Harmodios and Aristogiton, a gay couple.Love between males was thought to bring out the best qualities in a youth AND in his lover, especially manliness and courage.A third bought her first home ever in the part of town she’d always dreamed of living in. When I called a friend from the group to declare my intention, I was relieved that she did not laugh or tell me that a woman over 40 has a better chance of being hit by a bus than to find a wonderful husband.