I’m a bit all over the place today. Two days ago it was hard to think of things to be sad about; today it’s a little easier, as I predicted it would be. I spent several hours last night cruising for sex in Heaven nightclub. It wasn’t really intentional, I just kind of ended up doing it because all paths on the gay scene tend to lead that way. I had gone with my best friend Andy to let my hair down and have a dance. At 2am we decided to separate for the night, thinking it would be good for us to find some action and realising that we couldn’t do it together. Hours before I had seen someone really beautiful on the dancefloor – I think I had actually fallen in love on the spot – so I went off to look for this guy, knowing the odds were massively stacked against me but determined to find him anyway. For the next two hours I walked around this massive nightclub looking for the ghost of love, utterly alone and trying not to get disillusioned. I never found him. I was checked out by a few pretty faces; no one seemed that interested in me. At 4am I went home, lucky to only have a fifteen minute walk ahead of me.

It’s the story of a million nights out on the gay scene. Every time I go looking for that perfect guy, because I don’t know where else to look, and I never find him. Even if I had found him last night, it’s highly unlikely that I would have been able to approach him. I don’t feel good enough for guys like that, so I just tend to stand back and watch them, like there’s a glass barrier separating me from them. It’s safer walking around and looking at people. Getting involved is a whole different kettle of fish. After nine years on the gay scene, I haven’t worked out how to connect with someone. There were thousands of people in that club last night, so the chances are there would have been someone who might be interested in me, but I wasn’t looking for them. I was looking for that perfect guy, that utterly unattainable hunk who left before he’d even seen me.

What if I had managed to approach him and get him interested enough to spend the night with me? The sex might have been crap; or it might have been great, but he probably would have lost interest by the morning. So many reasons for it not to work out that I can think of. How could I possibly approach someone knowing the odds are so highly stacked against me?

This is why I’ve found comfort in pornography for the past eighteen months. At least I don’t have to make any effort with porn.

The trouble with real men is that they are so unreliable. In a real relationship the possibility of rejection is ever present. Yet perversely I seem to be attracted to such rejection. Nearly all the so-called relationships I’ve ever had have been with a certain type of man, the kind of man who will mistreat me. Men like Gareth: straight-acting, wholly unavailable men who don’t make the effort. The one or two relationships I’ve been in where the man might actually be good for me have totally freaked me out, and I’ve pushed them all away, because they’re too real for me. I can’t handle anything real. All I can handle is the kind of guy who fits into my fantasy of being mistreated and trodden upon. The porn videos I like are the ones where one person has the power to degrade and abuse the other. I’m not into healthy, normal sex. Which is why I truly fear that I will never be able to have a normal, ‘healthy’ relationship with anyone. I really think I might be too fucked up.

I didn’t plan to share all this in the SLAA meeting that I went to tonight, but it all ended up coming out, as I couldn’t take my mind off it. My flatmate Ethan was there, and after the meeting we talked about it on the bus all the way home. It was really nice to be able to talk to the person I live with about these things. I am grateful to have such good friends in my life. I guess if I try to imagine a healthy loving relationship it would include those kinds of conversations. But as soon as I think about what happens in reality, I can’t believe for a second I would ever find a sexual partner who’s willing to put up with all my emotional shit as well.

I have met a few men who seemed interested in having more than a sexual relationship with me. But as I said, the merest hint of true intimacy tends to scare me and I instinctively run a mile. At the end of the day I believe they’re all out to hurt and abandon me, even the ones who say they love me. So I always run, back to porn and fantasy and cruising in nightclubs for perfect men who don’t exist. I’m petrified of ending up alone, so I do everything I can to make sure I will end up alone. Isn’t that ironic?

In the last few weeks I’ve started to notice how much time I spend in fantasy: nearly every waking moment. I sexualize every man I see. I weigh him up, analyze his attractiveness, decide whether I’d want to take him to bed or not. I can’t help it. I’ll never, ever get off with any of these men. It’s more about the fantasy these days than the possibility of sex. I’ve got so attached to fantasy and certain fetishes that it must say something about my self esteem. How does wanting to be mistreated and degraded by a straight-looking man reflect on my feelings towards myself? If I ask myself honestly, I’d say I dislike myself a lot. When I started step 4 last week I identified that I still think I am ugly and unlovable. Knowing this is not very nice because I feel like I am stuck with it. I don’t know what to do with it. I can’t just tell myself that I’m not ugly. The belief is too deep for mere words to have an effect.

I said to Ethan earlier that it feels as if I’m peeling a bandage away from a huge wound that hasn’t healed properly. The bandage is fantasy; the wound is my deep, lifelong self hatred. To let it heal I have to take the bandage away completely, but I can’t. I don’t want to. What am I supposed to do?

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