Saturday, May 16, 2020


Hi Project,
I’m writing to you because in these days I’m having a thousand problems regarding sex with my partner. I’m 34 years old, he is 32, it must be said immediately that unfortunately we don’t live together because we work and live in cities about 200 km away, however, for years now, we have met in practice every weekend, once I go to him and once he comes to me. The fact of not living together is unfortunately a big limitation, we tried to look for a solution, somehow to change job or company, but it’s a very problematic thing and moving is practically impossible, we both know it, as we know that most likely such a situation will last for at least a few years. Between us there are no complaints about this fact because it is not anyone’s fault and neither of us can give up his job, but of course being a couple of Sunday commuters, as you can easily understand, destabilizes a little.
Since I met him I found him basically quiet. He had had his stories and even complicated, but only mental and one-sided, he calls them “mental blowjobs”, and probably he faced them by throwing himself in with his shoes on and finally getting nothing more than a series of cold showers. Before we met, he had only had sex with other guys on cam but never in person. So he had built pseudo-stories, all rigorously lasting no more than a month, but for him such stories were very important, probably because they were the first ones. It was never he the one who left a guy, but it was always his current boyfriend (let’s call him so) who left him because guys felt him a little strange, let’s say a little humoral, a little willing to do anything when he was in a good mood and a little depressed, and quite a lot, when he slipped in a bad mood, and above all because he wanted to feel free. Note, Project, that he only knew those guys through chats and some sex on cam. I don’t know how he managed to give credit to such things, but for him they must have been anyhow very involving, and every time those stories ended he used to feel very bad, at least so he told me.
He has never been able to endure standard things, that is traditional couples, messages, birthday presents and things like that, and also with me the fact of having to make a trip every 15 days and seeing each other only on Saturdays and Sundays it’s something that he feels forced to accept, he says to me: “If I want to make love with you on Tuesday I have to wait until Saturday, but it’s absurd!” If he is a little strange and humoral, and he really is, I have my shortcomings: I don’t like unexpected program changes, I have to be able to plan my week, I’m a guy used to following my rhythms and habits and frankly I don’t have much creative spirit. He’s a genius, he’s much more intelligent than me (and I’m happy that he is!) so much so that sometimes he puts me in crisis, but many times he underestimates himself a lot, he always thinks he’s below the others, he sees the other guys more beautiful, more smart, more confident, never depressed, never in a black mood, and all this puts him in a situation of discomfort. He has never considered himself a handsome guy and when I tell him that he is (and really he is), he looks at me with a puzzled and a little annoyed air, as if I were giving him a fake compliment. We love each other, but without constraints, obviously, otherwise he wouldn’t be with me, I know he wants to be free and I never ask him questions. In the past he would tell me of the stories he had with certain guys, of course stories that were real just in his brain, now he doesn’t tell me anything anymore and I believe he has no more stories. A few years ago he considered his job to be beyond his ability, now he is very busy in his job and he’s also highly esteemed, because his bosses begin to understand that, if they let him free, he is able to do things that few others would be able to realize or even think of. In short, I think that now his job takes up a lot of his time, after his job for him there is me, Saturday and Sunday in person and the other days for an hour via Skype. He is brusque with me, also a little aggressive, but only when he’s tired or stressed by work problems, it’s true that sometimes he treats me like a rag but then he regrets it and apologizes.
But now I come to the reason why I’m writing you this email. When we met he was 26 years old, he was the one to court me, I liked him very much, I considered him the most beautiful guy I had known, but I thought that a guy like him could not find anything interesting in me. At the beginning we talked a lot on the phone, even several hours in the day, then it was he who took the sexual initiative, something that I would have never expected, I certainly wanted it, but I didn’t think it possible. It was the first time for him and for me. I was full of complexes, and in practice he did everything, he was patient, he put me at ease and slowly made me understand many things about sex. The best thing, when we had sex, was to see him play, joke, feel totally free, I cannot deny that all this dragged me into an environment of sexual spontaneity that I would never have thought possible before, but that with him was an absolutely natural thing. We used to speak and behave with each other with the utmost freedom and there was a practically perfect understanding, I can’t say that there was total symmetry, because we had different ways of living sex but we were happy to be together, we needed nothing else. If I think about me, well, he really changed my life, he took me to another highly engaging dimension. At the time we weren’t even afraid of HIV because neither he nor I had ever had relationships with anyone, and sex was really a way to let loose, more on his part than on my part, but he knew he was making me discover a new world and he respected my times, he tried to follow my rhythms, or at least to involve me in his, but in a very sweet and respectful way, yes “respectful” is the right adjective. I was very well with him, a few months before I thought that I would never have sex with anyone, and a few months later, in practice our meetings were centered on sex and I certainly don’t say so to diminish or devalue, because it was not stupid sex at all, we were in love and used to tell each other that we loved each other through sex above all. In short, the first times (even two or three years) we never had sexual problems of any kind. Little by little, a deeper mutual trust was added to sexual intercourse and he told me many things about himself, even of a very private and embarrassing type, in essence he trusted me and he thought of letting me enter his very private world. I think at first he expected a reaction from me similar to what other guys had in front of those speeches, then he realized that there was nothing to fear from my part. Once, a year ago, he told me something that upset me a lot, it sounded more or less like this: “I stay with you because you are a good person, because you respect me, you allow me to feel free, you don’t judge me, I know that you love me, I don’t know how, but you love me, I’m not in love with you but I’m fine with you, I feel safe, precisely because you love me. For you I have never had that very strong physical involvement that I have had for some other guys, it is a different thing, something quiet, you are not my lover, but you are a good man, and I trust you and until now I never regretted it. Maybe I’ll fall in love with other guys and maybe I’ll go with them, but I have to know that you are there and that if I needed you, you wouldn’t leave me alone.”
But let’s get to the specific problem. A couple of years ago he had sexual relations with other guys, safe and protected sex only, as he told me, but, you know how it is, in short, after he told me it (we hadn’t had sex for a couple of months) he asked me to make love to him and I told him that I didn’t feel like having sex, but only because of the HIV risk. He initially didn’t take it well, he acted like I was rejecting him, then he understood and agreed to take the test, which resulted negative, according to common sense I should have felt calm and reassured but nevertheless I had the same fear because he could have gone with another guys without telling me anything. I actually don’t think he would have put me at risk, but, you know, these ideas are a bit like a worm that doesn’t go out anymore when it enters your brain. He saw my embarrassment but tried to make me overcome my fears, while in the same time I was trying to reduce our sexual contacts to something that was just at minimal risk, if not zero. From this mechanism began the strange trend of our sexuality. He felt annoyed and somehow upset by my attitude, because, after all, he had done the test and it had resulted negative, and to think that he could have put me at risk without telling me it, was somehow a deep lack of trust in him, because, I’m convinced, he would never do such a thing. In short, an asymmetry started from there, let’s call it so, he could do certain things to me that I didn’t reciprocate on him and other things were not done at all, he tended to involve me more and more and I tended to keep myself within the boundaries of a very low risk. Then slowly he began to think that I had sex with him not for me but for him, as if it were an altruistic gesture, as if I did it out of pity for him. Such an idea is completely absurd, because I think of him very often in sexual terms and, during the week, when he is not there, I masturbate thinking about him. Note, Project, that since we started our relationship I have never fantasized about other guys. But he’s convinced that the fear of HIV is not the real reason for some of my reluctances. Before, when I went to him or he came to me, the first thing that happened was to go to the bedroom. Lunch could very well wait and so did all the rest and even the speeches, but it was obvious that sex, after a week that we had been apart, could not be postponed at all. Now it’s not like that anymore, when we meet we start talking about this and that and even about stupid things, as if we were trying to waste time, I don’t take the initiative neither does he, and he gets angry, he tells me that I’m a hypocrite, that I want him to always take the initiative, so that I can then give my consent like a grace, he tells me that this thing is making him angry because this script is repeated exactly in the same way too many times. I swear to you, Project, that I don’t take the initiative just because I’m embarrassed and I don’t have the slightest intention giving my consent like a grace, because in any case my consent is obvious. For the whole week I say to myself and I repeat that I have to take the initiative, then, when we are together I stop, I’m afraid that he will say no, that he will get angry because it is not the right time or for some other reason, or simply because maybe he’s stressed and would prefer to speak. He complains that I talk too much, that I act like a young girl full of complexes, that I use a too flirtatious and feminine language. He would like me to be at his level, very determined and above all much more interested in sex. In a way he doesn’t understand that I’m interested, but essentially because he is there, because if he were not there, sex for me would be a strictly individual thing and made above all, and perhaps completely, of fantasy and of much or more frustrated desires, as it was before I knew him.
Our problems are almost all in the starting phase of sex, which can be ruined by talking too much. I often try to bite my tongue and avoid speeches because I know he doesn’t like them and I try to adopt adequate language and behavior. In practice I try to imitate his language and his behavior. He tells me that I look like an 18th-century valet and that he would like me to be “more man”, an expression that I don’t like at all. He tells me that with him I have to be spontaneous, I must take the liberty of doing anything, that I don’t have to be “obsequious and clumsy” but that I have to wake up. More or less since Christmas, last year, every now and then, let’s say more or less 30% of the time, it was possible to reach a mutual understanding like that of the early times, and it was a very beautiful thing, apart from sex, because he stopped attacking me with the usual speeches and with the usual emphasis and I was actually able to feel again that respect for me that had been the rule in the early years.
Then the story of the virus intervened which interrupted our travels on Saturdays and Sundays, and I could say that perhaps, at least until now, it was a positive thing because abstinence stimulates desire and then we tried to equip ourselves to do at least a bit of sex on cam, but something unexpected happened, we started talking a lot and it was fine, I mean it was fine for him too. Sex on cam wasn’t a stupid thing at all because he was there. I can say that we had found a stable balance much more solid and less problematic than that of the Sunday trips.
In days, they say, we will probably be able to resume our travels and I don’t know what to do, because resuming the meetings on Saturday and Sunday would probably take away from our relationship the strength of daily dialogue, and, let’s face it, this would let emerge many sexual problems which are currently hidden or temporarily removed. I would like to propose him to interrupt our meetings, but be careful, interrupting our meetings does not mean diminishing or devaluating the relationship but exactly the opposite, anyhow I don’t know how he could react to a similar proposal. I really don’t want him to take it as a rejection of him as a person. I’m afraid that the mutual clarifications and embarrassments will start again and that the level of communication that had been reached in the period of social isolation will be lost. I think I will let him make all the choices he likes better and then I will adapt anyway, because if he didn’t feel free he would be uncomfortable. He told me that he can’t wait to see me, and I too really can’t wait to embrace him again … In short, I think we will go back to the previous standards and I like it because the real physical contact is another thing, but I fear that our beautiful hours of chat conversation will end up in nothing at all, I’m afraid he can start getting angry at me again, that he may misunderstand the fear of HIV, and now also of the covid; in short I’m afraid everything can go into crisis again. It is a very concrete danger or at least I feel it very concrete, until now the limits of our relationship came from the fact that it was not possible to circulate, but afterwards there will be limits that will be attributed only to me. He will try to make me go beyond those limits, I won’t do it and things will fall apart again. I’m almost afraid to start again, I’m almost afraid of him and the fact that he will be disappointed, I come up to think that I made him lose the best years of his life and that basically I’m not able to love him. Sometimes I think that without sex everything would be better and that spontaneity fades over the years, I speak just for myself of course. What do you think about, Project?
If you want, you can participate in the discussion on this post open on the Gay Project Forum:


Email dated March 13, 2020.
Hi Project,
I am writing to tell you my and my boyfriend's story in these terrible days of the virus. I can tell you that this thing, which risks becoming a worldwide disaster and which you would do well to try to contain by any means, has also involved my life and especially that of my boyfriend. I use invented names to respect privacy: I will be called Peter and Paul.
I start from afar. We have known each other for several years, I work in the IT field and he is a doctor. We have been together for more than 10 years, we met in a completely random way because we had friends in common. He lives in northern Italy and  I’m in central-south. In practice we have dreamed of living together for a long time but it has never been possible. He has family situations that don’t allow him to go too far, I could do it, I could go to him, but this would create other difficulties and therefore somehow we got organized, I don't work on Saturday, he had flexible shifts and had, on average, a free Saturday out of two, therefore, leaving my home on Friday after 20.00 and traveling all night, I usually was able to get where he lives early on Saturday morning, and he was there waiting for me at the station, we used to go together for breakfast in a beautiful bar and then drove to a small house that his parents had at the foot of the Alps, in a large meadow, which was often covered in snow in winter and in summer was of a unique and incredible green like an emerald, near the house there was a small fountain of cold and clean water, we unloaded our bags at home and walked around in beautiful places that he knew like his pockets, in the evening we could have our intimacy in an unimaginable silence. The following day we used to go on a few more excursions and then he used to take me back to town to the railway station where I had to take the train back home. It is true that we saw each other more or less twice a month and that in practice it was always me the one who had to take the train back and forth, but those Saturdays and Sundays were so wonderful that had the power to give sense to my whole life. Paul and I really love each other, I don't know how I happened to meet him but I consider myself totally lucky, he is a sweet, generous guy who works for others, when on Sunday mornings we go to have breakfast in the mountain village, they all embrace him very warmly and you can see that they love him. He tells me he is happy to be with me and when I hear him say these things I fill myself with pride.
But let's get to the facts. Now he is finished in the red zone. For practically a month I have only seen him on Skype, he works in the hospital and we only get in touch late at night when he comes home and contacts me. Since last year he lives alone, he is no longer with his family, even if he lives very close to them. He has his own house and when he arrives home very tired he starts chatting with me. He understands the seriousness of the situation, because he sees it every day and tells me that people don’t understand and minimize but that it is a disease which can decimate the world, but beyond these speeches he doesn’t go. I have a damned fear that Paul could become infected but I can't talk to him about it, he tells me that he doesn't want to hear those speeches and that he must do his duty because if even the doctors run away, sick people are left to themselves and they have no means to defend themselves. He always asks me about me, what I do, where I go, mutual friends but he doesn't want to talk about his work, he just avoids the topic, it is evident that he too is afraid but on one side he cannot be afraid and on the other he doesn’t want to give up. He only tells me that he is tired, that shifts are exhausting but that he must go on anyway because it is too important. Sometimes I feel him happy and he hints at something that has gone well. Paul is not a machine, he participates very emotionally in the fate of his patients. When there are new government decrees, we start reading them together to try to understand exactly all the rules they contain. If I mention that certain prevention measures can be excessive, he attacks me (albeit gently) and tells me that I don’t understand because I don't deal with those things and that certain measures are absolutely indispensable. He brings me China as an example, China risked disaster but with very rigid measures has managed to contain the infection. Here things are more difficult because among the people there is a lot of unconsciousness, a lot of foolishness, they think that the worst has already passed while it has yet to begin. He tells me that times will be longer than people imagine and he recommends me a thousand times to observe all the rules of prudence: “Wash your hands! Avoid crowd! etc. etc .”. When I told him that my company had started teleworking he calmed down. In fact, the work of a computer scientist can also be done at home or on platforms that allow multi-conferences, for us it is easy and we also have the means to do these things. Paul worries about me, but I worry about him and if in the evening he is late, I panic, but until now he has always come. He repeats that he is careful, of course, because he puts into practice all the security measures that in the hospital are very tight for doctors and nurses and this is the only way he has in order to reassure me.
In short, Project, so far for the two of us it has gone quite well, but nobody knows how long it will last and then we must put our soul in peace and hope that things will not become explosive and that he will not end up in the number of infected people or worse. There is a lot of anxiety on both sides but he cannot admit it.
Who knows how many couples have been divided by the virus! As I would like to hug Paul, now we only do the gesture on cam but sooner or later we will hug again and it will be beautiful. I conclude by wishing everyone involved to be able to get out of it as soon as possible and in the best possible way. Thanks also to you, Project, of course you can use this email as you like better.

Email dated March 24, 2020.

Hi Project.
I wrote to you a few days ago, I think you will remember Peter and Paul. I am writing to you in the long moments of emptiness when I cannot get in contact with Paul and I find myself alone to reflect on what is happening.
The general situation of the epidemic would let anyone to begin a rethinking of their whole life, for those who have lost parents or grandparents or other relatives or friends the situation is terrible, they see the plan of a life vanish in a few days, death upsets families in the more violent and unexpected way, but for me and Paul the situation is fortunately not so dramatic, I’m I am worried about him, I know he’s prudent and very scrupulous but very little is enough to make a difference.
As for me, certainly the least directly exposed, I began to question many of my certainties, I feel much more fragile than before, I’m devaluing a lot of things that I previously considered fundamental, such as economic security and a broad possibility to make my choices but I feel weak because I’m exposed to the risk of losing Paul and it would be a tragedy for me that I don't even dare to think about.
The father of one of my friend's died of the virus and two other friends of mine have a relative in the hospital. Many are afraid and try to keep going day by day as they can, because they must also work to survive. I work from home, I don't take serious risks, at least for the moment, but I’m worried about Paul, I think of him at all times of the day because he is right on the front line and I feel him exhausted from fatigue and downcast for what he has to see every day and that when he talks to me he systematically tries to omit.
I have always loved him, but seeing how he strives for the good of others to the point of exhaustion I begin to consider him as half a saint, and I think I will never be at his level. In these days he saw many people die, he tried to give them comfort as it was possible and as long as it was possible, but then he saw those people whom he had tried to save in any way die terribly. He tells me that for him now death is not only a daily reality but something he must see several times a day. When someone comes out of the intensive care ward, he feels happy and in fact sometimes it is almost a miracle.
He was even before an excellent, generous, selfless guy, but now I see him in a different atmosphere and, if possible, I love him even more than before, because I saw him at work, I saw his moral dimension. Yesterday he asked me to say a prayer for him, and I got scared and I asked him if he was positive and he said no, he asked me for a prayer to help him go all the way and not give up, he needed a greater strength, or better a consolation, I think, to be able to transmit it to all the people it tries to cure every day.
Today I tried to pray for him and I did it, but it’s something I never do, that’s why probably in my prayer there was something selfish, I prayed not to lose him, because for me he’s as essential as the light of the sun, but he had asked me for something different, that is, he asked me to pray for him to have the strength to go on. I know that he is taking serious risks and I’m very scared and it also seems right to me to ask the Lord not to take him away from me, even if we are a gay couple, because we really love each other.
Tonight I feel very agitated, sometimes at night I can't sleep, I miss him, I miss him damn but I know that he has his duty to follow and that he will do it to the end. I have never seen anyone die, obviously I have seen sometimes dead people, but I have never seen anyone die, but he sees these things every day and I think it is precisely seeing suffering and death that gives him a very strong push to do what he does.
Yesterday he told me that a lady who had gone out of the intensive care ward and that he had been assisting for days had given him a wooden rosary and told him that she would pray for him and his girlfriend, he was moved and told the lady that he didn’t have a girl but a guy because he was gay and the lady told him that it was fine all the same and that she would pray for his boyfriend, because Paul was a good guy and he could give so much to his boyfriend. Then the lady started to cry, because she had a son more or less the age of Paul. When he told me this story he had a voice broken by emotion! How can you not love a man like Paul? I would have hugged him strongly! I would have lifted him off the ground to make him feel that I love him! I’m very upset and anxious, Project, but for me living these days is a very profound experience that is changing my life.
Email dated March 30, 2020.

Hi Project,
today the data of the Civil Protection are comforting, I should be more calm and instead I feel very agitated and I can't refrain, Paul works tonight, I heard him in the early afternoon, he tends to calm me down, to reassure me, but when I hear the news and they say that other doctors have died, I get terror, terrible anxiety and I think there may be him too. He tells me that even if he catches the virus, he shouldn't take huge risks because he is young and mortality for those of his age is low, but many of his colleagues have tested positive and many have also died. He has no doubts, he must go on, he must put aside all emotions to maintain the highest possible level of self-control. He always tells me that he hopes that all this frightening adventure can change many absurd ways of reasoning. He quoted me a phrase from Pope Francis that struck him a lot, because that's what he always thought: "We thought we would always stay healthy in a sick world". I clearly feel that Paul is tired, exhausted, I feel it because until about a month ago we used to talk a lot on skype, now we speak less because he needs to sleep and I leave him quiet, but when I close the call I begin to be assaulted by despair, I'm afraid, I'm bloody afraid. People begin to relax and think that they are now getting out of it, but Paul continually repeats to me that this is not the case, that the situation can get out of hand very easily and that we could start again as before and worse than before. He repeats that nothing has changed from them yet and that nothing will change for several days, he says at least three weeks. Now they have a little more means than in the first days, if there is something that makes the difference, if anything, it is just that, it is always a struggle but a little less desperate. People continue to die exactly as before even though doctors can at least say they have done everything they could. Paul tells me that to return to acceptable levels the number of ICU patients should decrease by at least 50%, but it will take time and people will continue to die. He thinks of many other countries where there is no public health service that can react like ours and tells me that mortality will necessarily be much higher there. By now we stay on a video call at least for one hour and a half a day, I see him tired, much thinner than usual but nevertheless he is also calm, I don't know how he manages to be calm, it is evident that he is aware of doing something fundamental, he tells me that the thing that is more difficult for him is not to let himself be overwhelmed by failures, that are many, many. I don't sleep, Project, I ask God to save him but when I do it I have a thousand doubts, why him and not the others too? What's the point of praying? Why do catastrophes like this epidemic happen? Or maybe we notice the disasters that upset the world only when they happen to us. I can't even pray, it seems to me an act of selfishness, because I ask for something for myself, while perhaps we should just say: "your will be done" even if we don't understand the meaning of it or refuse to understand it because it affects us personally. Sometimes I find myself making absurd thoughts, almost trying to make a contract with God: He saves my Paul and I give up sex, but then it seems to me a kind of stupid market, if I think that in order to have Paul unscathed I have to give up to sex, it means that after all I also think that sex between us is a negative thing, but I don't think it at all, because it's not like that, and then I don't have to ask anything for me, it will be what it will be, and it will be accepted anyway, although it may be something terrible, as tens of thousands of people accepted it. In certain moments I’m also less afraid of death, of my personal death, I say, because I see it less as a personal drama and more as a collective destiny and I would say almost natural. I can't take it anymore, Project, I think of Paul at all times, I try to imagine what he is doing at that moment and I dream that the nightmare will end as soon as possible and that we can go back to his house at the foot of Alps together, but all this still seems to me damned far and uncertain. Think about me too, if you can, Project, reading your emails helps me to move forward with less anguish.
Obviously you can make use of this email as you wish.
I hug you.

Email dated May 9, 2020.

Hi Project,
I tell you right away, to prevent you from worry,  that "now" it is all quiet, but Paul got through some bad moments, and you can imagine how I felt. Between me and Paul there is a binding agreement: if there is any serious problem we must both know it and we must face it together. In our pre-covid life it has always been like this, so I knew very well that he would let me know how things really were, on Thursday April 2, he calls me at a strange time, in the morning, he tells me that he has a little cough but "at the moment" he has no fever, but he confesses to me that he is worried, so the fear that it may be covid is already in his head, he tells me that he had asked for the pharyngeal swab that will be done within two hours, results should arrive within the next 24 hours. He doesn’t try to tell me it's not covid, instead he tries to prepare me for the idea that it is really covid, he is not afraid because, he explains, now the doctors are starting to have a bit more clear ideas on how to handle the matter. He tells me: "I would have preferred to avoid this experience, but we'll get out of it!" In practice, he takes the test result for granted. The cell phone call doesn't last long, because they call him almost immediately for the swab. A quarter of an hour later he tells me that they won't let him go to the ward waiting for the result of the swab and that he thus will go home immediately and will call me on Skype just got home.
He calls me on skype and asks me about me, he tells me that he has "no fever yet”, but that he has a cough that suggests that it could be covid. We talked a bit, then I had to do my online work shift and we said goodbye. At 20.30 I called him back, he said he had a little fever, but that he had with him all the medicines needed, in practice he had already foreseen the evolution of that angry cough. I ask him how much fever he has and he tells me 38.5, but he says that he has "good" saturation, I ask him how much and he tells me "95" that for one his age he is not good at all, but he is not distressed by this fact. He alerted the hospital and they asked if he needed anything and he replied "no for now". He tried to explain to me what therapy he would follow, but I was unable to understand his speech, was hearing him coughing and I didn't want him to tire too much.
In our conversation, just to not tire him, I spoke almost continuously while he limited himself only to listen and I told him "our story" from the beginning, he was happy to hear it, he felt pampered, object of affectionate attention, and he needed all this very much precisely because he was sick. He took his medicines, then he said to me: "always saturation 95, but the temperature is 38.9 and I feel tired, maybe it's better to take an antipyretic." He took the antipyretic and 40-50 minutes later the temperature dropped to 38, the saturation was always 95 and he was a little breathless. He told me he wanted to try to get some sleep and that he set the alarm on at 3:00 and would call me back. I let him sleep, but, Project, you can't imagine what I was feeling inside, I was stretched like a violin string, wakeful and with wide eyes, I was unable to close my eyes waiting for 3.00. At 3.01 he called me, told me that the saturation was always 95 with some ups and downs and that the fever was stabilized at 38. He had taken other medicines and thought he would try to get some rest again. He would call me back at 7.00. This time I was, if I can say so, a little more peaceful.
At 7.00 he did not call me and I have been anxious for more than an hour because he was not answering my cell phone calls, then he called me shortly before 8.15 am and he said that one of his colleagues had come to see him and had told him that the swab was positive and that since the saturation was always on 95 and this could tire him it would have been good to take a little oxygen, at 2 liters per minute, even a little to support the heart. They said they would bring the oxygen to him within a couple of hours, not a compressed gas cylinder but a liquid gas cylinder that would last much longer, more or less 5-6 days. The fever was 38.3 now, several hours after the antipyretic. He told me that he felt tired and that he would try to rest waiting for the oxygen, he added that he would call me as soon as he started taking oxygen.
What he had told me was serious but all in all not distressed, but other times he had told me that the worst moments come after a few days and I was very agitated. Shortly after 9.00 he calls me back and tells me that with oxygen at 2 liters per minute, which is all in all low, he feels much less evanescent, that he is continuing the therapy and that he is monitored by his colleagues doctors. He tells me that with oxygen he also feels like getting up and walking, whereas before he could only stay in bed and feeling nevertheless very dizzy and fatigued. In the afternoon he did himself the ECG  and told me it was good. During the day he didn’t resume antipyretics and the temperature didn’t go above 38.4, the saturation “with oxygen” was at 98, therefore good, it oscillated a little but little and the values were on average high. Anyhow I continued to hear the cough exactly as before. When he was speaking through headphones I was able to hear the hiss of the oxygen coming out of the inhaler. I'm not going to tell you about everything that happened and everything we said to each other hour by hour.
April 4 was the most difficult day, the temperature, in the evening, went up to 38.9 and he had to take another antipyretic, but that things were at risk of taking a bad turn one could understand it from the saturation that even "with oxygen" had fallen to 95-96 (but perhaps a little more 96 that 95), I was very worried, he less than me and it reassured me a lot. We got in touch 4 times during the night, I was afraid that the situation could get worse at any moment, it has been the worst night. On Sunday morning, that is, the following day, the situation seemed stable, but Paul was not well at all. He often measured saturation, but until 5 o'clock in the afternoon no change was seen, fever always very high (he didn't want to take antipyretics before the fever reached 39 but the fever was always slightly lower).
In the late evening (of Sunday) things started to improve, the temperature, without antipyretic, did not exceed 38 and sometimes even fell below 38 and the saturation slowly rose and gradually abandoned that limit value of 95. Monday 7 temperature began to drop around 37.5 and Paul received another oxygen supply. In the next two days the improvement was constant, Paul preferred not to start talking of "healing phase", and when I spoke about it he said it was too early and that to have a relative certainty it was necessary to wait three or four more days.
On the morning of April 10 (Friday) Paul took off the oxygen while talking to me and half an hour later he measured the saturation and it was 97 "without oxygen", now finally an acceptable value, I asked him how he felt and he said " much better, I breathe in a satisfying and trouble-free way even without oxygen. " During the same day the fever disappeared completely and in the evening the saturation began to oscillate between 98 and 99, a sign that things, at the lung level, had come back to normal. By now Paul was calm.
On the evening of April 10 he asked that they do the swab and on Saturday 11 they went to his house to do it, he was now clinically healed, the swab was nevertheless still positive, but he wasn't worried about this fact. On April 13 morning they did him the swab again and this time it resulted negative, on April 15 they did him the second swab which was negative again. A few days later he came back to the hospital ward and resumed work with covid patients. It has been two weeks that I will never forget. He then explained to me that it went well and that it could have been much worse than that because he had seen even young people die.
Now he should be immunized, so the covid shouldn't scare him anymore. The two weeks of illness made him lose weight and he was never one of strong build. Looking at him on skype he seemed to have enormous eyes in a face very emaciated, and he has beautiful eyes! When I tell him that the epidemic is about to end, he always tells me that now he is no longer afraid for himself but that people continue to die and that even if there is a decline, the epidemic is not at all extinguished, that there are still too many new positives to say that we are out of it.
A few days ago he told me that they sent a 24-year-old boy to ICU and that he took care of him. Luckily that boy came out of the ICU after a few days and Paul also followed him to the ward and asked him if he wanted to contact someone in a video call, like his parents, but the boy asked Paul to call immediately his boyfriend ,who had been without news for more than 10 days, while the parents had been informed every day. The boy wanted Paul to stay in the room during the video call. The two boys started crying on the phone and then they also involved Paul: "If the doctor wasn't there, who knows where I was now!" At the end of the video call, Paul said to the boy: "but you two really love each other!" The boy's eyes shone. Then Paul went back to intensive care ward. When he told me this story Paul was happy and said to me: “They were really in love! There you really see if anyone loves you! "
As usual you can make use of this email as you wish. Thanks for your response the other time and sorry if I didn't answer you right away.
I hug you.
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This post is divided into two distinct sections:
1) the first is dedicated to the distinction between the behaviors that that are indicator lights of exhausted gay relationships (that is, of the gay relationships that have lost the original momentum and the motivational drive of the early days but, despite everything, continue out of habit or out of reluctance to change perspectives) and the affective requests that can hide behind those behaviors;
2) and the second dedicated to the trend towards free relationships, that is, towards relationships without any legal constraint (without Marriage or Civil Union at the Municipalities' Registry Offices).
The two arguments may seem somewhat heterogeneous but are actually deeply connected.
Interpersonal relationships, even the most lasting ones, over the years, inevitably face wear and tear. Many times these relationships were from the beginning without solid foundations, that is, they were relationships upstream of which there was no instinctive and conscious and above all mutual choice, sometimes they are stories that began, then interrupted, then started again, that for both partners are not an instinctive, at least potentially definitive choice, but one of the possible hypotheses on which a perpetual indecision remains. But even when a story initially has all the necessary requirements to last, daily life, or rather the transcription of the story from the lyrical level of falling in love (assuming that there was a real falling in love at least at the beginning) to that of everyday life brings out weaknesses and critical issues.
Symptoms of attrition are generally small episodes in which each of the two partners manifests forms of intolerance towards the weaknesses of the other or shows judgmental attitudes systematically avoiding any effort of understanding, classic are the behaviors related to the idea that the partner is not quick enough to understand, he cannot do elementary things, he always falls back into the same mistakes. Often the request to have time for oneself is an indicator of the wear and tear of a relationship. Behaviors become standardized, everyone knows exactly what to expect, the speeches are always the same, the mutual reproaches, more or less veiled, are repeated in substantially similar situations, it is as if a script was repeated, the partner person is considered to be lackluster and unattractive, not up to the situation, the talks that could stray from the routine are stopped in the bud and there is room for unexpected reactions, which then can be followed by an internal repentance which, however, is not manifested to the partner for reasons of pride, the insistence on keeping the point, not giving in, not leaving room for the partner is quite evident.
Even sexual behaviors become more and more standardized, partners no longer try to find a balance that can be satisfactory for both and begin to think that there can certainly be better alternatives than the story that is being lived, even if, in practice, those alternatives do not exist at all. Sex becomes a hurried affair in which everyone relates only to himself, and it is no longer accompanied by an emotional atmosphere full of desire as in the times of falling in love. The interest in the sexuality of the partner gives way to sexual selfishness that reduces the other to an instrument, an object rather than a subject.
This description of the characteristic signals of a worn-out relationship is however only theoretical because it is objectively very difficult to distinguish between such signals and the requests for greater emotional involvement addressed to the partner, and the risk that a wrong interpretation of those behaviors could undermine an important relationship, conditioned only by a communication defect, it is quite concrete. Formal detachment is often not a detachment at all but an affective request. The difference between the two situations lies in the absence of final declarations, that is, in always leaving a door open to the partner, in the case of an emotional request. I give a typical example. Two partners can also go so far as to say big words and indulge in forms of intemperance, but if after the reproaches, for example contained in an email, the email ends with a ILY (I love you) it is evident that the dominant dimension is the emotional one. If after the sprint of pride and the request for autonomy there is an attempt to go back, it is clear that the sprint of pride and the request for autonomy were actually affective requests, they were ways to elicit a response from the partner.
Even in the context of strictly sexual behaviors it is possible and often easy to confuse the characteristic behaviors of a worn down relationship with the requests for greater involvement by the partner. A very typical behavior characteristic of worn out relationships is the sexual unavailability of one of the partners, declaring himself tired, little interested in sex, stressed, etc. etc., or even simply the reduction of the frequency of sexual intercourse. Stress and fatigue can be real and not being episodically available to sexual contact can certainly have objective reasons. Obviously, if saying no becomes systematic it is a sign of rejection, if instead the sexual contact, when it is realized , is truly experienced as a form of deep communication, then saying sometimes no it is not an indication of a worn relationship. In general, it is not a sign of wear and tear of the relationship to try to correct the partner's attitudes by demanding less artificial forms of communication from him. There are people who experience sexuality by mediating it with many words that can sound unnecessary and rhetorical to the partner, in cases of this kind, the request to avoid excessive words is not a refusal of the partner but an attempt to correct him.
Given these clarifications on the difficulty of discerning the signs of wear and tear of a relationship from emotional requests, we take another step forward. What do you do when you realize that the relationship "probably" is about to end? do you stop it immediately? Do you expect the other to do it? Or do you let the passage of time decide the end of the relationship? In any case, you have to think very well before taking action, because often creaking buildings, if properly renovated, withstand time and earthquakes, while new buildings poorly designed collapse at the slightest failure.
There are rare situations in which there are very few doubts and these situations are those in which we must move away from a violent partner or prone to emotional blackmail, or from a partner who identifies sex as a domain and as a reality completely detached from affectivity. But in all other cases, haste is often a bad adviser. It happens that, after instinctive and uncontrolled moments of reaction that lead to decisions that are as quick as they are little thought about, there are second thoughts and attempts to recover situations that are no longer recoverable. The one-minute outburst can lead to the immediate gratification due to the refusal of the other considered not up to situation but in the long run can trigger late and useless regrets. We should never forget that destroying is always much easier than building and that giving your partner one more chance is not a gesture of weakness but often exactly the opposite.
The following analysis refers to the Italian situation and the reported data come from ISTAT, the Italian Institute of Statistics, but the discussion has a much more general validity and certainly applies to all Western European countries and also to North American countries.
In the heterosexual world, when couples are stabilized by the bond of marriage, especially when there are children, the problems related to the crisis of the couple can be truly enormous even from a legal point of view, for the custody of the children and for the economic aspects related to communion of goods, when the marriage took place under the communion of goods regime, or when family relationships overlap with legal relationships related to the ownership of the family business or professional studies. For gays, complications of this type are absolutely exceptional. These problems that could have arisen even for gay couples united by a Civil Union pact, in reality did not arise, because Civil Unions have a much weaker bond regime than that of marriage, because the Civil Union can be dissolved at the simple request of only one of the two contracting parties, which, it was believed, would have made the Civil Union a reality very appreciated by the population. In reality, Civil Unions, despite the very light bond regime, have been and still are a very little widespread reality and this not so much for the fact that homosexual couples do not yet have the social approval that characterizes marriage, but because, both in the heterosexual context and in the gay sphere the model of free relationships is increasingly gaining ground, that is, of unions absolutely without legal sanctions.
I quote here below a ISTAT Report of November, 20, 2019.
"In 2018, 2,808 civil unions (between same-sex couples) were established at the registrars of Italian municipalities. These must be added to those already established during the second half of 2016 (2,336), the year of entry into force of the Law May,20, 2016, no. 76, and during the year 2017 (4,376). As expected, after the peak immediately following the entry into force of the new law, the phenomenon is now stabilizing. The prevalence of couples of men is also confirmed in 2018 (1,802 unions, 64.2% of the total), albeit gradually decreasing (73.6% in 2016, 67.7% in 2017). 37.2% of civil unions were established in the Northwest, followed by the Center (27.2%). Lombardy is in the lead with 25%, followed by Lazio (15.1%), Emilia-Romagna (10.0%) and Tuscany (9.4%).The civil unions established in Italy in 2018 are 4.6 per 100 thousand inhabitants: ranging from 7 in Lazio, Lombardy and Tuscany to about 0.5 per 100 thousand in Calabria, Basilicata and Molise. The attractive role of some metropolises emerges with particular evidence. In 2018, in fact, 32.7% of the civil unions occurred in Italy were concentrated in the big cities: at the top of the ranking are Rome (290 unions, 10.3%) and Milan (257 unions, 9.2%) ; the share of civil unions of couples of men is particularly high in Milan (equal to 75.5%) compared to Rome (66.9%). Considering the incidence of civil unions on the total resident population, in 2018 18.7 civil unions per 100 thousand inhabitants were established in Milan, in Rome 10.1. Among the cities of the South, only Naples and Palermo show values above 1 per 100 thousand inhabitants."
I would add that civilly united homosexual couples have an average age of 49.5 years if male and 45.9 years if female, that is, homosexual couples are non-young couples. If we consider that in 2018 there were 195,778 marriages celebrated in Italy and 2,808 civil unions, we immediately notice that the same-sex civil unions were just over 1,4% compared to marriages, even if in recent years the number of marriages has drastically decreased in favor of free unions, a phenomenon on which we must stop to reflect.
Also from ISTAT we know that:
"The comparison between the data from the 1991 population census and those from 2018 shows the profound changes that have taken place. Among individuals aged 15-64, in the face of a slight drop in the population (-309 thousand), married people decrease (3 million and 843 thousand less), especially for the benefit of single and unmarried people (+3 million and 90 thousand) and, to a much lesser extent, of the divorced (over 972 thousand more).
The decrease and postponement of marriage, in place for over forty years, partially offset by the growth of free partnerships, led between 1991 and 2018 to a sharp decline in married couples, especially in the 25-34 age group (from 51.5% to 19.1% men, from 69.5% to 34.3% women). Single people go from 48.1% to 80.6% and single girls from 29.2% to 64.9%. In the 45-54 age group, almost one in four men never married while almost 18% of women are unmarried. "
From the above data, it is clear that the model of the Free Union, that is, of the couple's union, straight or homosexual, without any legal sanction, is spreading very decisively among the Italian population. Marriage, as far as hetero people are concerned, and civil unions, as far as gays are concerned, are seen more as a useless or even harmful bond, than as a protection of the couple's relationship, whose existence can neither be protected nor favored by legal constraints of any kind.
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I often hear people speaking about gay sexuality, I myself have used and still use this concept and I do it by adapting to a widespread and radical simplification of the concept of sexuality. Descartes begins his “Discourse on the method” by stating that, as for “common sense”, “everyone thinks they are so well endowed with it, that even those who are more difficult to satisfy with regard to any other good do not want or desire more common sense than they have. ” The same could be said for the “knowledge of sexuality”, to whoever I ask for an answer I find people who are convinced that they have a very clear concept of sexuality. However, gathering these answers I do not find that variety that one would be legitimate to expect given the plurality of individual and social conditions, I’m instead faced with rather homogeneous answers, far from individual experience and inspired above all by mass media, television, cinema, readings and, to a large extent, by the use of internet pornography. In essence, the common concept of sexuality represents an abstraction, radically simplifying and trivializing, capable, precisely because of its generality, of being acceptable to the great majority of people.
Individual sexuality, which is not an abstract concept but a reality that permeates the whole individual, is linked to many factors, first of all to personal experience, which is absolutely unique and unrepeatable even if it can be studied with standard sociological categories based on age and social conditions. Among the fundamental factors that condition personal experience, family education and sometimes even religion must be placed at the top. The intertwining of the various lines of development of the individual experience is extremely complex and, beyond the abstract or theoretical concepts, leads the individual people to “live sexuality” in very different ways.
Here then appears a first substantial distinction: the concept of sexuality of an individual is not what is stated in response to a specific question, but what is embodied in that individual’s behavior. Sexuality is not an abstract concept but a reality that lives in individual experience. Which means that knowing and understanding the sexuality of another person is an objectively very difficult thing, because to share these contents you need an atmosphere of deep intimacy and mutual trust that allows you to overcome the blocks that normally make it impossible a serious dialogue on these topics. Why is it so difficult to speak seriously not of sexuality in general but of one’s own sexuality? The fear of being judged, of being classified, marginalized and rejected, is the basis of any resistance to true dialogue on these issues and is generally a well-motivated fear.
There are two prerequisites for any serious dialogue not about sexuality in general but about one’s own individual sexuality. The first prerequisite is the radical elimination of any judgmental attitude, that is, of any preconception, but this prerequisite is still formal and almost professional, in the sense that any psychologist assumes or should assume a non-judgmental attitude. The second assumption is substantive and completely different and consists in accepting reciprocity as a fundamental rule of dialogue on individual sexuality. Accepting reciprocity means understanding that at these levels there can be no roles, there cannot be a professional detachment but an equal dialogue must be accepted. If the dialogue is not perceived as equal, it will never reach the deepest contents of consciousness and their manifestations in sexuality. A level of communication such as that described can be reached sometimes, but not as a rule, between lovers who are now well beyond the phase of sexual experimentation and who have a very strong mutual affection, but can also be reached sometimes in the context of very close friendly relationships (without involvement of sexuality).
It should be noted that the depth of a relationship is measured by the quantity and quality of information about ourselves that we are available to provide to the other. In a relationship of superficial friendship we never talk about affective life or we talk about it with very general and, so to speak, common sense categories, in a relationship of close friendship, emotional and even sexual confidences become frequent, in long friendships supported by concrete evidence of mutual reliability, emotional and sexual confidence can become total, that is, it can lead two friends to have no secrets from each other. Obviously all this happens very rarely but sometimes it happens.
What does it emerge from the comparison of individual sexualities? What emerges is essentially the category of complexity. What we consider simple and spontaneous manifestation of the sexual instinct, in reality is not at all simple or spontaneous, but is the result of the interaction of an extremely specific genetic-epigenetic substrate with the experience of the person as a whole, that is, with a plot of infinite correlations, for which it is difficult to identify even very general taxonomic categories.
I will try to limit the discussion to the gay area only. If there is truly something common in the experience of all homosexuals, this common element is nothing else than becoming and then being aware that the ways of living the affectivity and sexuality of two gay people can be radically different. More or less all gays identify being gay with falling in love with guys rather than girls, or more generally with having sex with guys rather than girls. At this level, in reality extremely general if not generic, it is easy to find consensus, when however we try to understand what it means for every single person to fall in love and have sex with a guy, that is when we move from abstract to concrete, abstract categories lose their meaning and individual stories come into play, stories strictly individual although often similar to those of other gays who find themselves in similar personal and social situations. Thus the importance of the only true instrument of knowledge of the other emerges, which is his individual story, I’m speaking exactly of the individual story, that is, of a real experience, just as it is perceived by the individual who has lived that story and  brings deep traces of it in his memory, I’m non speaking of the story told to other people and more or less unconsciously reinterpreted by the one who lived it. 
One of the intrinsic limitations of any psychotherapy consists in the fact that in a professional relationship, if the therapist can guarantee non-judgmental attitudes or, better, behaviors, he certainly cannot in any case open up to a substantial reciprocity, which, alone, could lead to the emergence of the profound contents of consciousness. The therapist, therefore, starts not from the knowledge of the individual story of his patient just as the patient experiences it, but from the representation that the patient gives of that story to the outside, in a communication in which the guarantee of professional secrecy can in no way to make up for the absence of reciprocity. In a sense, we offer a deeper knowledge of ourselves to our lover or our dearest friend than to the psychotherapist because with the lover or dearest friend the condition of reciprocity can really exist.
In the early 1900s, Havelock Ellis was already fully aware of the complexity of the homosexual reality and of the substantial impossibility of building a theory of homosexuality that could have a minimum of concrete utility, therefore he preferred to abandon traditional attitudes and organize his book as a collection of 39 real cases, told in the words of the protagonists themselves. The 39 stories, which make up about half of the book, allow the reader to understand the complexity of the homosexual world and then to acquire, even if through a book, a little real experience not of what “homosexuality” is at the theoretical level but of what can be the life of 39 homosexual people with different personalities and experiences. In this sense, more than a book or a scientific article, a novel or a story can help to understand the reality of the life of gays as individuals, which is what matters, and not as a category.
In the 21st century, the role of novels and short stories is largely taken on by films, short films and videos, which use a different  language but convey similar contents. In recent years, more or less for ten years now, there has been a noticeable flowering of gay videos, which generally deal with the major issues of gay life in a substantially serious and correct way. Obviously you cannot ask a video of an average length of twenty minutes what you can ask a novel or a feature film, but some of these videos, even if short, are small masterpieces. Generally these videos are quite well made, one feels the hand of expert directors and one understands that the production is not of a reductive amateurish type.
These videos can constitute and sometimes really constitute a true form of affective-sexual education, capable of counteracting the models spread by pornography, because in gay themed videos the emotional and psychological dimension is present in a serious way. Unfortunately, gay-themed videos are still produced, at a substantially professional level, providing very particular gay reality models that risk favoring deviant associations in the mind of the viewer, such as the association homosexuality-drug or homosexuality-violence or homosexuality-depression or worse homosexuality-mental pathology or homosexuality-crime. These associations are the result of preconceptions and suggest that the authors of the stories, the producers and directors are not themselves homosexuals and limit themselves to making videos following common prejudices.
Gay themed videos written and made by homosexuals are generally short glimpses of homosexual life and are extremely varied, they are therefore a very powerful educational tool, easy to access and capable of highlighting the most classic themes of gay affectivity and sexuality and the gay point of view, in its most complex and varied articulation, on many issues that affect family relationships, homophobia, dialogue among gays and couple life.
Let’s go back, however, to the complexity of gay sexuality. A deep emotional relationship with your partner allows not only verbally, but also through the sharing of sexuality, a fair comparison of experiences and the emergence of all the contents of individual memory, even the most hidden. This means that a good gay couple relationship can be more useful than psychotherapy because it allows, in a context of reciprocity, to speak freely about one’s own sexuality and above all to live it without taboos.
We need to clarify a concept, as simple as it is forgotten: sexuality can be lived and is often lived in a completely mechanical way, without deep affective involvement, and the sincerity between the partners may become something optional. The lack of sincerity reaches the point of legitimizing the betrayal and to hide from the partner some elements that would radically change his opinion on us. Even in situations where there is no betrayal and it is not a question of hiding “behaviors” that could change the judgment of the partner on us, there are other elements that can be and are often kept silent, these are the non-standard sexual fantasies that may not be accepted or understood by the partner, this is the case of pedophile fantasies even if they have never been put in practice, but it is also the case of incestuous sexual fantasies, or intergenerational, but the listing could also extend to other sexual fantasies, less alarming but quite uncommon.
Another category of experiences is almost always kept silent, even if it is facts that should in no case undermine the relationship with the partner, I refer to having suffered sexual violence or harassment in childhood or in early adolescence. The episodes of violence or sexual abuse of minors, almost always in the family environment or by regular visitors of the family environment, are unfortunately much more common than you can imagine. All these elements and many others can have a profound influence on an individual’s sexual behavior and on many other aspects of his personality. The couple relationship, if it is really a love relationship, can be the best way to achieve a substantial serenity of life.
Sharing sexuality, sexual freedom in intimacy with your partner, feeling accepted for what you are, after showing yourself for what you are, is a unique opportunity for gratification and emotional exchange, which is truly able to change the life of an individual, provided that couple sexuality is truly an exchange of love and not a substantially selfish rite to exorcise solitude.
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