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#193136 - 11/29/07 10:55 AM Re: Film - Mysterious Skin [Re: roadrunner]
MemoryVault Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 03/01/07
Posts: 693
Loc: NJ
Hey, Larry --

That's a complex question. The easy answer is that only the individual gets to determine their identity, but let's put that aside. The real problem is that sexual orientation can mean four different things (at least):

Basic orientation -- who do you desire/fantasize about/long for consistently? Who makes your heart stop when they pass you on the street?

Activity -- who are you actively in sexual/romantic connection with? What do you do?

Personal identity -- How do you define yourself in your mind? What words do you use? How important is your sexuality as part of your identity?

Public identity -- How do you define yourself to others? What identities do you take on? What battles do you fight over sexuality?

Neil seems to get turned on by older men -- not emotionally -- the memory of "Coach" has his emotions locked up, but his desires are there -- in the porn mags he has hidden in his drawer (in the book, he had child porn!), etc.

I think the larger question you're asking, Larry, is "are you a sexual being at all if your emotions are shut down or locked away?" A straight man who desires women but cannot connect to another human being beyond the hydraulics is still straight, but is missing a whole dimension of sexuality. I'd say the same thing about a gay man.

I do think it's possible for someone who desires one sex to compulsively act out with the other, which doesn't alter their basic orientation. But most people end up connecting emotionally with the gender they desire -- it's hard to be in love with someone you don't desire at all, after all.


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#193144 - 11/29/07 11:54 AM Re: Film - Mysterious Skin [Re: MemoryVault]
roadrunner Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 05/02/05
Posts: 22045
Loc: Carlisle, PA
David,

Here's my mantra when guys ask me about sexual confusion. I propose to them that they look at what they are doing now and ask themselves these three questions:

1. Am I being totally honest with myself about my sexual feelings?
2. Am I being responsible in the way I relate to others with whom I have sexual contact?
3. Do I feel sexually fulfilled?

I figure that if any guy can answer "yes" to all three questions, hey, carry on with whatever it is he's doing that allows him to be so positive about himself sexually. If he can't answer all three in the affirmative, then perhaps he has some work to do.

I worked out this viewpoint maybe two years ago, so long before I had seen this film. But if I apply these questions to Neil, I see the answers as follows:

1. Uncertain. I don't think Neil is even thinking about sexual feelings.
2. No.
3. Probably not, not because he's in bed with the wrong gender but because he's searching for a chimera.

But perhaps those are the wrong questions for this kind of case. If we apply your four questions, the answers I see are entirely different:

1. Men/Coach/replacement for Coach
2. Gay.
3. Gay.
4. Gay.

Sooooooo.....does the whole discussion depend on the point from which you start?

Just a thought. I feel I have a lot of work to do on how I am framing this whole issue. Thanks for your insights.

Much love,
Larry

_________________________
Nobody living can ever stop me
As I go walking my freedom highway.
Nobody living can make me turn back:
This land was made for you and me.
(Woody Guthrie)

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#193156 - 11/29/07 01:05 PM Re: Film - Mysterious Skin [Re: roadrunner]
MemoryVault Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 03/01/07
Posts: 693
Loc: NJ
I like your questions, Larry! I think we're asking about different things. I'm looking at ways to position your sexuality in all its complexity, and you're looking at sexual quality of life -- the universal things that make sexuality healthy and empowering across all categories.

Poor Neil doesn't do too well on your test, and Brian hasn't even picked up his #2 pencil (so to speak).


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#193208 - 11/30/07 01:34 AM Re: Film - Mysterious Skin [Re: roadrunner]
CarnagedOntology Offline
New Here

Registered: 11/12/07
Posts: 13
Loc: California
Larry - I think if there is no emotional bond or attachments, how can one claim to be "gay"? There is more to being homosexual then "sex". It's kind of like the theory behind sexual encounters among men during "war", or in prison, or just plain and simple...complete isolation from the opposite gender. We are all sexual by nature and as men, I think we tend to justify gratification when "convenient". It's interesting, so many of my male friends have all had some type of same sex experimentation. Does this make them "gay"? I really don't think it does, but some would disagree. All this is very hard to explain, sexuality is one complicated SOB.

J

_________________________
"Living well is the best revenge."

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#193222 - 11/30/07 09:21 AM Re: Film - Mysterious Skin [Re: CarnagedOntology]
Jarrad Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/27/06
Posts: 1071
Loc: arizona
when i have sex i have no emotional bond or attachment with guys. im still very gay.


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#193238 - 11/30/07 12:37 PM Re: Film - Mysterious Skin [Re: MemoryVault]
roadrunner Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 05/02/05
Posts: 22045
Loc: Carlisle, PA
DAVID,

Originally Posted By: MemoryVault
Poor Neil doesn't do too well on your test, and Brian hasn't even picked up his #2 pencil (so to speak).


Indeed! Poor Brian doesn't even show up for the test!

I wonder if we're missing something by leaving Brian out of the picture. Araki changes the way the character of Brian functions in the film, as opposed to how he functions in the book, but what's he trying to tell us? Or if - as I am starting to think - Brian is a secondary character intended to tell us more about Neil, WHAT is he contributing to our understanding of Neil?

Much love,
Larry

_________________________
Nobody living can ever stop me
As I go walking my freedom highway.
Nobody living can make me turn back:
This land was made for you and me.
(Woody Guthrie)

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#193571 - 12/03/07 11:08 AM Re: Film - Mysterious Skin [Re: roadrunner]
MemoryVault Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 03/01/07
Posts: 693
Loc: NJ
Poor Brian…He fades into the background because that’s what he’s supposed to do. (The commentary on the DVD points out just how much work they did to get the right bland, colorless look for his costumes.) Neil’s the person people watch.

In a way, though, Brian’s the active character in the story…the protagonist. He begins the movie by describing what he’s lost (“five hours”) and it’s he, not Neil, who goes on a quest to find it. He’s much more typical of the media’s portrait of a survivor: shut down, fractured memories, nightmares, physical symptoms, sexually inert.

But if Neil’s covering up his inner emptiness, Brian’s covering up a fertile imagination – his art covers the pages of the books he never shows people—we only get glimpses of it. He wants more: his answer when Neil asks him why he’s raking it all up now, is perfect: “Because I want to dream about something else.”

In some ways, he’s way ahead of Neil. Brian comes to understand that the roots of his pain go beyond the abuse. He has it out with his negligent father; Neil never comes to challenge his mother.


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#194332 - 12/08/07 02:31 AM Re: Film - Mysterious Skin [Re: MemoryVault]
roadrunner Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 05/02/05
Posts: 22045
Loc: Carlisle, PA
David,

Originally Posted By: MemoryVault
Poor Brian…He fades into the background because that’s what he’s supposed to do. (The commentary on the DVD points out just how much work they did to get the right bland, colorless look for his costumes.)


That reminds me of the priceless scene where Eric gets Brian drunk on his birthday and gives him a lame-looking sweater...and of course Brian is overjoyed! \:D And meanwhile there sits Eric with his hair in six colors and wearing black lipstick.

This truly is an amazing film. There seems to be no end to what one can get out of it.

Much love,
Larry

_________________________
Nobody living can ever stop me
As I go walking my freedom highway.
Nobody living can make me turn back:
This land was made for you and me.
(Woody Guthrie)

Top
#194333 - 12/08/07 02:37 AM Re: Film - Mysterious Skin [Re: Jarrad]
roadrunner Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 05/02/05
Posts: 22045
Loc: Carlisle, PA
Jarrad,

Originally Posted By: Jarrad
when i have sex i have no emotional bond or attachment with guys. im still very gay.


I guess I wonder if one has anything to do with the other. That is, if I have no emotional feelings when I have sex, does that say anything about my sexual identity? When I was going nuts in San Francisco I don't recall feelings of any sexual identity at all, just feelings of personal worthlessness. In fact, it didn't even occur to me this was prostitution until earlier this year - so almost 40 years after the fact.

Oh well....

Much love,
Larry

_________________________
Nobody living can ever stop me
As I go walking my freedom highway.
Nobody living can make me turn back:
This land was made for you and me.
(Woody Guthrie)

Top
#194418 - 12/08/07 01:11 PM Re: Film - Mysterious Skin [Re: roadrunner]
Jarrad Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/27/06
Posts: 1071
Loc: arizona
i think sexuality is fluid. it can shift change and adapt depending on the situation. but neil's still gay. haha. i feel i need him to be.


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