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A couple of weeks ago, I received an email from Barry Schoenfeld from the California Community of Men. As I subsequently learned when I connected with Barry, he was doing “competitive research” when he came upon MenLiving. Curious, he signed up for the Weekly and sent me an email. Introducing himself in the email, he wrote, “Almost 10 years ago, I founded CalComMen, a heart-centered men’s community, live and online, for all men-who-love-men.”

Men who love men. Hmmm…my immediate reaction was Barry’s group was for gay men. The translation of this phrase in my head was “men who love (having sex) with men.” After talking with Barry, I can confirm that the majority of CalComMen do in fact orient this way. The thing is this fact wasn’t what was throwing me off. It was my reaction to the phrase, men who love men. As I read, the “old school” translator in my brain was spitting back, “the only men who write or say that they love men in an intro email are gay.” Luckily, the “enlightened” one inside, fighting against the decades of conditioning, quickly took hold…”Wait, I love men. Many. I feel it and I say it all the time.” And still…

For the last ten years, I have spent considerable time reading, writing, talking and thinking about love. While we could debate the definition of love, I offer two favorites of mine:

  • love is “a meaningful interaction or relationship between two or more persons where the aspirations and aims of one person are shared and helped in their realization by other persons.” Sorokin
  • “fear is not love, dependence is not love, jealousy is not love, possessiveness and domination are not love, responsibility and duty are not love, self-pity is not love, the agony of not being loved is not love, love is not the opposite of hate any more than humility is the opposite of vanity. So if you can eliminate all these, not by forcing them but by washing them away as the rain washes the dust of many days from a leaf, then perhaps you will come upon this strange flower which man always hungers after.” Krishnamurti

These definitions are what I want to be top of mine when I see or hear the word. Love is not sex. Not even close (you might beg to differ…cool…please comment below 😉).

When Barry and I met yesterday, I shared all this with him. I really enjoyed our conversation. It’s easy when we are coming from the same place. We are both men who love men.

PS…I wrote another piece about love, I Love Awkward!, in 2020. You can find it here. Never hurts to keep the idea on repeat!

9 Comments

  • Todd Adams says:

    Thank you Shaun. I also love men and want to shout it from the mountain tops. Thanks for using your voice and for your friendship. I love you.

  • Andrew Zamora says:

    I love Men! And I agree with your definition of love. Thank you, Shaun.

  • Randell B Bursey says:

    I love men too. I wish I had man to love and to love me. Thank you Shaun.

  • martin mcleish says:

    my sexual orientation is hetero. upon reading the title i too would have thought ,” oh this is for gay men.”
    some months after joining MenLiving, i became aware that there are men who have told me and shown me that they love me, and it has nothing to do with sex.
    i have been able, after a while 🙂 , to accept and enjoy the fact.
    had i not spent time learning to love myself, this would not have been possible!
    change is possible and oh so worthwhile 😀

  • Jose Reyes says:

    I am a gay Hispanic man. I have always had to hide it from my family. I own a landscaping company and none of my workers know I think they would respect me less. I must put on an act every day. I want to meet the man of my dreams someone to spend my life with but it is hard. In my culture you must act macho. Even now being a gay man is not accepted. I see men I would love to talk to and be with but cannot. I like my coworker but he does not know.

    • Shaun Emerson says:

      Jose,

      I appreciate your courage in sharing. The guys at CalCom are a great resource if you are looking for support and you are always welcome to any of the MenLiving spaces. ✌️

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