Full disclosure: I usually don't read your column because it covers a sexually permissive lifestyle I believe to be immoral.
However, your recent column on obsession was fabulous. It had (if you'll excuse a college lit term) an everyman quality that was deep and real. I was really stunned because the further I read the more deeply I was affected.
You didn't talk down to OCD. Instead, you valued his humanity and his human frailty. I was also surprised you told OCD not to act on his obsession — the moral and yet hardest thing to do.
Fuller disclosure: I'm 50, male, politically conservative and a born-again Christian. I have obsessed over one my wife's cousins for several years. When she walks into a room I feel alive and, yes, lit up "like an all-night liquor store." She is smart, beautiful, sexy, treats me better than anyone in the world (except my mom) and we can talk about anything. She's 21 years younger than me and loves my wife and children. She cost me $30,000 in a blown business deal and I still care for her. (No dishonesty on her part, just bad judgment.) My wife is divorcing me for unrelated issues, yet the cousin is off-limits due to her closeness to my wife. I will re-read your remedy suggestions often.
Thank you again for a very human and well-written article.
— Born-Again Bob
Your email doesn't contain a question but it begs for one. Namely, why do so many conservative, born-again Christians read a sex advice column written by a gay guy? You are one of many born-againers who've written to me. Why? Why are you guys taking advice from somebody you consider immoral? Aren't you sinning by casting your eyes upon my words? Seriously, how do you reconcile your faith with your reading habits? You don't want me to serve in the military, marry my partner or teach your kids, but the first thing you do when the paper comes out is reach for my column? I don't get it. I'm not good enough to marry, but I'm good enough to read?
Here's what I think is happening. You, like a small minority of born-againers, are closet cases. Your deep dark secret isn't that you're gay. It's that you're open-minded. And you have to keep it secret because the knuckle-draggers you hang with would ex-communicate you if they knew.
I also think part of the reason so many born-againers read my column is that they often see, in the letters I get, problems they themselves are struggling with. Problems they cannot bring up to their church without being branded a sinner.
Well, you know what? No disrespect to the church here, but a 50-year-old Christian who loses his wife (and his bank account) and is obsessed with a cousin-in-law isn't sinning. He's erring.
When people seek shelter from the inexplicable winds of their own humanity, they need guidance, not judgment, a distinction lost on the church.
I have no quarrel with God, just the people who work for Him. That a born-againer could seek solace from somebody his church teaches him to hate and fear is both an indictment on the church and, I must say, high praise for my ability to turn a phrase.
I may be overstating the case. Truth is, the church and the gays have a lot in common. For one, we're both very welcoming. Whether you're in a church or a gay bar, you'll hear the same thing over and over: "You can come in my rectory any time."
Seriously, your letter confirms my belief that the church should never make Christians feel guilty for having problems. Because next thing you know, they'll be taking advice from a sodomite.
Got a burning or a why-is-it-burning question for the Sexorcist? Email him at email@example.com. Mike Alvear is the author of the Meet the Hottie in the Corner e-book and teaches monthly blogging workshops with Hollis Gillespie.