SEXUALITY (An Excerpt from XPERIMENT) A Novel By Dan Skinner

happyvalentinesday1The Force of Human Sexuality, Robert Lindell Seuthers speech before the American Board of Psychology, June 6, 2009

“The most dynamic directive in the human psyche is our sexuality. It is an imprint in each of us as individual as our fingerprint, an instinct borne in us that shapes everything we are: how we behave, how we think, what drives us. It is not, as religion falsely attests, solely a drive to preserve our existence through procreation. To say that it has only one purpose is a perversion of its true nature. We need it because it changes our chemistry, giving us an impetus to achieve goals, to conquer, by force or seduction. Almost all human will is directly tied to it. It’s how we interpret pleasure, despair, and anger. It shapes our self-perception.

“Is it any wonder that religion has attempted to control us by making us believe that the most powerful shaping force in our species is nasty and should be hidden? Religion, the world’s first political entity, wanted to rule the force that actually controls us. They tried to make us believe that anything outside their guidelines was sickness or sin, when it was their laws that were corruptions of reality. We must shake our concepts of sexuality free from the shackles of what we’ve been taught and allow it its proper place in the real, evolving world.

“It’s been proven that a starving man will think about sex three times more often than food. That the thought of sex can actually suppress the signals of hunger. The average human is said to think about sex every ten seconds. This demonstrates that the creature we‘ve nurtured in civilization is not the one we’re meant to be. It’s been repressed by unnatural restraints. The very politicians who’ve written laws governing our sexuality are impediments to progress by saying no one is equal unless they conform to their narrow definition of equal. They’re the real perverts of our society. We should be writing laws to govern them.

“Let me explain why the politicians writing laws against equality are criminals. When they say that any of us isn’t equal, they’re positioning themselves as would-be masters, us as slaves, the law as whips. They’re saying that they alone deserve basic human rights by declaring that everyone different is less than human.

“It’s imperative to recognize these politicians as a destructive force. They are the real terrorists because they are trying to destroy humanity using nature’s own gift as a weapon against it. We can’t sit idly by and let them bring chaos to the world by allowing them to control who can and cannot love. There is no greater ideal in our existence than love. Let’s call these people what they are… monsters.”

Xperiment, A SciFi Novel By Dan Skinner

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abookpromotheyrehereFrom My Sci-Fi/Thriller novel, XPERIMENT

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“There isn’t a more harmless group of people on Earth than my friends were,” he said. “There was no reason for anyone to do this to them. Why not choose people deserving of their hatred? Why do this to innocent people? It makes no sense.”

Henryk was sympathetic. “It’s hard to explain to someone with a good heart how a dark mind works. Terrorism is not about people with righteous convictions trying to make the world a better place for us. It’s about cowards trying to force others to live by their rules and in the ways which they choose. There aren’t any good intentions in the actions of these people. It’s about hate, intolerance, prejudice and a sociopathic desire to have dominion over others. They target the most vulnerable so they can more easily inspire fear. They believe being feared elevates their stature; gives them significance and the power that comes with it. They believe fear will force people to bend to their will. Make no mistake; these people are not human. They’re the trolls under the bridge that lie in wait, the ogres hiding in the trees that attack the hapless traveler. They breathe in air and exhale poison.”

“How do you stop them? What can we do to make them see what they’re doing is wrong? That it’s not right to bring innocent people into something they have nothing to do with?”

The stout man popped another beer, easing back into the thick cushion of the chair. He had that wizened look that comes with age and experience.

“I’m afraid there’s no getting through to a radical. Any attempt at rational conversation with them is viewed as your concession. They have only one plan: you will do as they say or they will tyrannize and kill without remorse. My mother said this about the Nazis, but it applies to all terrorists. If someone has to trample your rights to ensure their own, you have a terrorist. They don’t have to wear a uniform. They can be dressed like any scrubbed, fresh-faced politician. Or they could be your neighbor. Anyone who looks down on you and feels you deserve fewer rights than them.” He took a sip of beer, wiped the foam from his mouth. “My mother, this little Polish woman who liked to dance barefoot when she cooked, said; if you see the monsters at your door, you don’t back down, you don’t go quietly, you don’t acquiesce to their pretense of power. You fight them at the polls; fight them with how you live your life, and fight them by not stooping to their level.” He leaned closer to Chris. “She said these words that I’ve never forgotten. No one owns you. No one controls you. No one makes your rules. Just you.” He shifted his gaze to Geoff. “They’ll be found. They’ll be dealt with.” He turned back to Chris and in a softer tone said, “In the meantime, remember your friends and how they gave you comfort and made you smile.”






I first wrote this in May 2014 when my life was in upheaval. It seems appropriate again.

Walking Forward From Zero
Dan Skinner

I remember a teacher once explaining to me that what made an interesting story was an ordinary person finding themselves caught in extraordinary circumstances. In my own eyes I have always viewed myself as an Everyman; the ultimate ordinary individual. I am a good man, a conscientious and industrious worker, have a soft heart and a solid conscience. I’ve never wanted a spotlight; don’t even take pictures of myself in a world where everyone seems to take an up-to-the-minute “selfie”. I would rather be a spectator than the one on the stage best describes me.
I do not like hateful things. I avoid confrontation. I look for the good in others and choose to not say bad things when it would be easy.
If someone asked me what would I have in a dream, it would be a home large enough to take in every stray dog I wanted, and a room for every child and adult that has ever been abused because of their gender preference. I would want to wake every day with a smile looking forward to it and end it with a smile appreciating it.  I would love to be financially well off that I could help every one who came to me for it. Money like that would never buy a fancy car or stylish clothes, or the trends that boast elegance or wealth. I’m too simple for those things. It wouldn’t fit in with my t-shirts jeans, running shoes and ballcap.
Because of circumstances beyond my control I didn’t have a childhood. There are no scrap books of family vacations or pictures of young Danny on a new tricycle at Christmas. My parents were radical fundamentalist Christians.  My life was discipline, restrictions, Bible study and memorizing scriptures. I wasn’t allowed to have birthday celebrations, or mingle with kids who weren’t members of my family’s church. The children my age in the church didn’t like me. They thought I was an “odd duck”.  Part of that may have been my own doing. I knew I was gay very early in life. While they were noticing girls.. I was not.
I was beaten regularly and severely. My dad had a wide, white leather strap belt and he’d make me pull down my pants and underwear and lay on the bed and submit to the punishment for whatever reasons arose. Once a minister told him that I had sat “in a feminine manner” during services. I was beaten until my legs and butt bled. I still have scars from it. I was made to feel inferior and useless and wrong.. all the time. I remember being eleven years old and praying to die. I looked out through my bedroom window and begged God to take me in my sleep because I didn’t want to go on. It happened after the sermon on Sodom and Gomorrah and I knew that the people they described as an abomination in the sight of God.. well, I was one of them. It was nothing I wanted. Nothing I could control. Nothing I could change. And I wanted to die.
I didn’t die. I had to go on. I had to endure more torment and torture in the name of God and religion. And I changed because of it. I no longer found myself believing in things that could not help me, that did not listen to me, and allowed my misery to continue.
When I was thirteen I had my first gay experience. My parents were both working to pay the exorbitant tithes of the church that year and I was left in the care of a teenaged girl from the church who was also watching her fourteen year old brother. While she talked on the phone with her boyfriend he took me into a garage and taught me how to suck dick.  I almost passed out when he sucked mine.  I knew then what was normal for me. Had been from the very beginning. The actual act just confirmed it. Our parents all believed we had bonded as buddies and began letting us spend weekends with each other, some at his family’s home. Others at mine. We’d lay in our separate places, one in a bed, one in a sleeping bag until late in the night when we could hear no more movement; knew everyone was fast asleep. Then we would suck each others dick.
When he was sixteen I’d see him no more. His parents left the church and moved away. I was once again left in the barren, alien landscape of my lonely world. I became an angry teenager. Rebellious. I hated the church. I hated my parents. I would do anything to escape both. And I tested them regularly, which guaranteed more beatings. But I grew stronger against the belt. Like a tree weathering itself against each storm. I could grit my teeth and bear them without crying or making a noise. That angered my father greatly. My resolve only deepened his own. Along with the beatings came deprivations. Friends, food, outside activities.  I knew the only thing that could save me was to alienate myself even more. I had to do something to get myself excommunicated from the church. That would leave only my home life to beat at my psyche. I wouldn’t have to listen to the words spewed from the pulpit that told me I wasn’t normal.
So on one of the “boys clubs” camp outs, I pretended to pray to satan. It was funny to me. I could no more believe in a character of evil than a character who would permit evil. I was reported by the other boys as I wanted to be. They had a tribunal with all the ministers, my dad, the boys who heard me and their dads, and I was excommunicated. My parents were furious and humiliated. I could not longer attend church. But now I had unleashed holy hell at home. There was no doubt my parents despised me at this point. The beatings didn’t affect me so my father became more ingenious. For disobedience, he would tie me to a chair in my room for an entire day. I wasn’t allowed food, water or bathroom privileges. There were numerous occasions when that contributed to a mess that I was also made to clean.
I had no hope in my heart. Everything had been erased in my mind except anger. That rage culminated in a fight I had with my dad on one very hot summer day. I said cursewords I wasn’t allowed to say and I was coldcocked by him. He knocked me out completely. I woke up, tied up, in the backyard metal shed that housed the lawn mower and yard tools in over one hundred degree heat. I baked in my own juices. I passed out several times. I wasn’t let out until late that evening. By then I had made up my mind. I was running away from home.
In the middle of the night, I crept down the stairs from my room with two plastic trash bags filled with clothes that I would need, and a pocket full of quarters from a piggy bank on my dresser. Nine dollars to my name. And I walked out the door. I remember calling that moment in time “Zero” because my life only began after this.
I believe all of us have moments in time where we believe that are actually moving away from one thing and toward another. Some people call them goals, I think of them as stages because they never stop, they just keep evolving from one thing to the next. Some of us find happy stages. Some of us keep moving.