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Of My Two Idenities





I long lived in two different worlds: one world I take to work with me and is presented as my socially acceptable self. That self, if slightly out of the mainstream, is non-threatening to the conventional world. The other self, is less so, it’s the person expressed in this blog. 


My first blogging pseudonym was Dane the Barbarian. It wasn’t a rift on Conan the Barbarian, the powerful and violent man who inspires fear and leaves a trail of blood in his trail. No, my alter ego was derived from Hagar the Barbarian, the would-be Viking who pretends to aspire to be like Conan but in fact has no real aspirations of being the macho conqueror.


When I was 16,  I was like most kids, lost and wondering.  I knew life should have some meaning, but somehow mine had none. It was 1979 and the hippy movement had died when I was leaving grade school. Though my self-professed communist mother espoused hippy values, she was safely ensconced in our upper-middle-class home, living the life of a well-to-do, stay-at-home, adulterous wife. I watched from the sidelines her world, but by its nature, I was not invited in.    


I could have been recruited by any number of groups who offered meaning and belonging, it was the Christian fundamentalist who got me. And like so many converts I threw myself into the cause.  I gave away my rock album collection because it was sinful music, cut my hair, condemned my parent's sinful lifestyle and when I graduated, I headed off to a Christian college that was so conservative that it bordered on cult-like.  The only problem was deep down the “hippy” values my mother had raised me on were still alive and well.


Fast-forward until I’d finished graduate school (at another conservative Christian University). I spent 10 years as a leader in conservative Christian circles dancing around avoiding personally espousing things I did not believe in while my followers just assumed I simply was a reformer. However, in reality, I wanted revolution.  At the end of that time when I finally left professional ministry, I was quite clearly living two lives.  This led to situations like the night when my wife and I were at a swing club. My wife and I and another couple stretched out nude on a bed visible from the club’s dance floor in the afterglow of sexual bliss. She realized it was 3:00 AM and I was scheduled to preach in a Baptist Church at 10:30 AM.  We had to drive over an hour home, get the kids from my wife’s female lover who was watching them for the night, and still leave our house by 9:30. 


As the years went by that public “Christian” identity that I had developed in my last year of high school, five years in a fundamentalist Christian college and two in a fundamentalist Christian graduate school became an increasingly incompatible overlayer to my deeper values.  I really did believe, in that first decade after I joined the Christian fundamentalist, that if I tried hard enough to look and act like an orthodox Christian my doubts as to the validity of their basic claims would go away.  They did not. Rather, as I became a mature adult those “hippy” values that were so incompatible with fundamentalist Christianity,  fully developed in my late 20’s and created deep inner conflict.


When my wife told me that she was sexually attracted to other people, both men and women, we had been married less than five years. Despite the fact I was a minister in a church that implicitly and explicitly believed that even thoughts of sex outside marriage is abominable, I did not hesitate to give her my blessing if she chose to act on those desires and have sex with others. Perhaps it was that day that I ceased being a reformer in the church and became a subversive.


When our lifestyle became such that I could not, in good conscience, continue taking the money of people who would feel betrayed if they knew of what I believed, even if they never found out that my wife was having sex outside our marriage with my blessing (note that at that time I had not yet had sex outside our marriage), I left the ministry and became a social worker.


I spent another 14 years as a social worker.  Most of that time I worked in a very conservative public school district. My “hippy” identity had more room to grow, but there were clear limits. In those years my expanding and refining self-image expressed itself in my wife and I going to nude beaches, swing clubs, my growing list of new sexual experiences, my new hobby of writing erotica, and my budding side job as a glamour/nude photographer.  All this was still hidden from my socially acceptable world as a public school social worker.


None of these activities could be expressed to anyone in my “normal” world, and though my wife had real relationships with her lovers, my sexual experiences were more casual, mostly as an “add-on” to her sexual activities.  At the same time, my first “orgy” reawakened my adolescent desires to suck cock and be fucked by one. 


You see, before I’d joined the Fundamentalist Christians at 16, I regularly masturbated while sucking a makeshift dildo and/or fucking myself with it; either way I always imagined it was a real penis. It may be hard for a younger reader to understand, but in the 70’s, even at 16 years old I never really understood that guys my age sucked other guys’ dicks or fucked each other. Had I known that, I would likely have jumped at the opportunity to replace my make-believe penis with a real one.  But, it was during my first orgy the desire was rekindled. A woman was sucking me while her husband had another woman sitting on his face. His erect penis was not a foot from me, and it all came back. I so wanted to wrap my lips around it. I didn’t taste cock that day. In fact it took several years but I did finally join a couple where the husband wanted me to give him head. So I sucked my first man off… but that is a digression.


By the time I left my career as a social worker to finish my Ph.D. full time, I was fully fragmented into isolated bits of my life.  That move, more than a decade ago, was a final break with the identity I’d begun constructing when I was 16 years old. 


I began forging a new identity. I started blogging on Tumblr a few months before leaving my “real” job to become a graduate assistant.  With my new life as a student/GA, I began to explore who I was. A year later, I spent the weekend with a woman (without my wife) for the first time.  (by then, my wife had spent many nights and weekends with lovers).  I had begun to spread my wings.  I also restarted my photo business when I landed my regular gig at Timberline Lodge shooting nudes and erotica. 


For years much of my self-identity was centered around the fact I supported my wife as she had her love affairs, it defined who I was as a man and as a husband. When I first spent the night with a woman on my own and began to suck off the man in a threesome as quickly as eat the wife, slowly I began to understand that my social/sexual identity wasn’t in the kind of genitals my sex partner had, but my role as a pleasure giver. I realized that I was fine if I didn’t climax in a sexual encounter, as long as those to whom I gave pleasure did so. My new view of myself most strongly showed itself when I was involved with foursomes.  I realized it didn’t matter if the other woman came by him or me or both; and whether the guy cums in my wife (or his wife), or in my mouth or in my ass, the thing that I sought was to help bring that orgasm.


For decades I was sure my sex role was just about the relationship my wife and I have. From the very first I tended to be the leader outside of bed, while sexually she has always been dominant. Yet, as we expanded our sexual world, that dynamic didn’t change.  From the day I got married, I was the server in sex.  I got my joy from my wife’s pleasure.

What I’d never done was to connect my behavior in bed, to my behavior in life.  I’d been a minister and a social worker, then finally a graduate school teacher. While I had significant authority over others, I never got any joy out of that. My joy in my job came from seeing others succeed.  I worked best when my superior was charismatic but self-centered. I know I’m not super good-looking or personable, but I knew the organizations I worked for needed that kind of person, so I never minded the “good-looking “ person receiving the praise as long as people were helped by the work.


Oddly, I finally saw who I was from having sex with men. You see, I’ve never had much use for most men.  In my personal life and my work life, I stayed in a place where I was surrounded by women. Looking back, it is clear my career choices were in part driven by a desire to keep that so. Nearly all my colleagues, my subordinates, and my supervisors were women and I was pleased as punch by that. Even in the Army, I fulfilled a service role rather than a machismo role (though when I went in, I was a tank jockey).


I like nearly all women and only a few men. But, I found I really liked a macho guy on top of me forcing his cock down my throat. What was that about? The same kind of guy I wouldn’t want around me in most circumstances, I liked fucking me. It was only when I pondered why I liked the feeling of a man on top of me jamming his cock down my throat did I finally understood that while that was literally true, it was also metaphorically true of who I am. I like to serve (and service) others. That is my joy and my identity and it has been all my life.


So, now life has changed for me, as it eventually does to all people.  I no longer lead a professional staff or stand up in front of people who look to me for leadership and guidance.  Even my “post-career” business has wound down till it is just me working a few days a week.  Since my dear wife is all but an invalid our only outside activities are going to see doctors or the pharmacy.  My window to the world is largely my computer screens and my voice is my keyboard. 


As I think it is for many people, it is only when I’ve largely withdrawn from the larger world that I understand that my struggles with my dual identity were not because I didn’t know who I was, but rather I felt under obligation to meet the expectations of others.  And to be fair, those expectations of the larger world really do matter since it is only in working with the larger systems can we make a living and reach out to help those in need.  But, at the same time, it is nice that I no longer have to pretend to be someone I am not.

 

 

 

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I suspect that all thoughtful people have dissonance between their visions and their lives. Mine has been between giving my son a start in life and working for a world in which he could live. Yours is startling! I believe that finding joy in others' successes and pleasures is probably the way we're supposed to be.

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Fascinating memoir!

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This is a very open and important piece you've written, and I can mostly understand the aspect of living a double-sided life. Unlike yours, my parents have always been strict Christians, and I was severely repressed as a child and teen, and any aspects of nudity or sex were hidden from me, and that was equated with being a good Christian that pleases God. Well into my 20s, I lived that way, in almost a self-satisfied attitude because when other youth in our super-strict groups confessed to stuff like seeing porn or masturbating, I thought to myself, well at least I don't struggle with that! But all the while, the underlying feeling that this whole mindset was wrong grew in…


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Amen, thanks for that! I HAVE been growing spiritually by listening to near death experiences, and how they portray God and the afterlife in a very different way then the narrow-minded church dogma I was used to.

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Ananda
Ananda
May 19
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

It is such a pity that we have to live according to what we think others expect of us. We all think that if others knew the “real me” they would reject me. Nobody wants to feel or be rejected.  

The name of the game of life is to live an authentic life, but nobody would give you the freedom to be true to yourself. People on their deathbeds don’t regret the things they have done. They regret things they haven’t done or should have done.  

Christianity is supposed to be a religion of love, an incarnational or embodied spirituality. But, the church turned that love into fear, ruining many lives.

You are not the only one who…

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