The Velvet Rage: Overcoming the Pain of Growing Up Gay in a Straight Man's World, Second Edition

The Velvet Rage: Overcoming the Pain of Growing Up Gay in a Straight Man's World, Second Edition

Alan Downs

Language: English

Pages: 272

ISBN: 0738215678

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

Today’s gay man enjoys unprecedented, hard-won social acceptance. Despite this victory, however, serious problems still exist. Substance abuse, depression, suicide, and sex addiction among gay men are at an all-time high, causing many to ask, “Are we really better off?” Drawing on contemporary research, psychologist Alan Downs’s own struggle with shame and anger, and stories from his patients, The Velvet Rage passionately describes the stages of a gay man’s journey out of shame and offers practical and inspired strategies to stop the cycle of avoidance and self-defeating behavior. Updated to reflect the effects of the many recent social, cultural, and political changes, The Velvet Rage is an empowering book that has already changed the public discourse on gay culture and helped shape the identity of an entire generation of gay men.


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leaders of self-acceptance and awareness. Although some may see this as too grandiose a vision, I do not. It is the natural outcome of our own struggle with shame that we would share our insight with a planet that desperately needs it. In this spirit, it is my dream The Velvet Rage will bring a deep change within you and every reader who picks it up, and together we start a movement that frees our world from all the ways in which shame blocks people everywhere from experiencing the joy and

an even larger number report at least one rape-like experience in their past. Gay men tend to resist labeling forced sexual behavior as abuse. They may hold themselves responsible for having picked up the hitchhiker or the handsome boy at the gym. Who do they have but themselves to blame for what happens after that? Many gay men have a difficult time identifying their own childhood sexual experiences as sexual abuse. I often hear, “I wanted it.” Or “I just remember being scared and turned on.”

one who had a problem? It seemed every time this had happened before, Dan would respond positively to Mark. It would last a week or two before Mark was back to his old ways. Whenever they talked about it, Mark insisted that Dan was just “too sensitive” and needed counseling. In part, that’s why Dan came to see me. “Joe was such a game player. The more aloof I was, the more he seemed to want me. When I was available, he wasn’t interested. It was like he was more interested in the game than he was

fires within our brains, it may be felt for as little as a few seconds. For instance, the joy at seeing the face of an old friend whom you haven’t seen for years; or the joy at hearing that you just received a long-awaited promotion at work—like other emotions, you can cause joy by thinking about or telling the joyous event to other people. All in all, joy tends to be a quick spike in our emotional field, much like an orgasm of the soul. It builds to a quick climax, then just as quickly fades

for sex is a bad thing? It’s true in life generally, but particularly in relationships, that we must be free to express our ambivalence even with the small things if we are to maintain positive feelings. The denial of uncomfortable, disagreeable, or less than positive feelings is often the root from which a deeper, more malicious discontent grows. Without darkness, light has no meaning—likewise, love has little meaning when you have not experienced competing feelings. We don’t really believe the

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