Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Consolation Sex and the Guy You Can't Get Over

Now what do you think of this, doc? Some time ago I ended a friendship with a dear friend because I realized that I was falling for him and he made it clear -- after much hemming and hawing -- that he did not feel the same. He did not want to lose my friendship -- neither did I -- but I explained to him that it would be painful for me to be around him, especially as he had recently taken up with another man. [Let me make it clear that I had been under the impression -- as all of our mutual friends were -- that J. and I were in a relationship, but apparently that never occurred to J. We were intimate, hung out together all the time, but he just didn't feel that special something that I did. That's life. Regretfully, I moved on.]

Okay. Months went by. I avoided J, who worked in a bar I had frequented. One evening, at another place, I ran into my "replacement" -- J's new fuck buddy. We fell into conversation and had many drinks together. Apparently, R -- the replacement -- had also come to the same conclusion that I had. That J. was great, but that all R was to him was a "friend with benefits," that J. was no more interested in a relationship with him than he was with me.

One thing led to another and the two of us went to his place and had sex. Who shows up the next morning but J -- he and R were still friends, unlike J and me -- and he actually got angry that the two of us had slept together. He acted as if he had been betrayed. He has made no commitment to us, and while R and I definitely think the other is attractive, what we had was just some nice consolation sex, probably never to be repeated. Our bond was J, pure and simple.

So, what's going on here? The three of us argued and talked for an hour and got nowhere. It is clear that J. doesn't really want either of us for a lover. So why does he give a damn that we slept together? Could you shed any light on this? T.

I'll try. Maybe because he was left out of the fun and didn't get laid the night before like you two did?

Seriously, his actions may not be rational, but they are understandable. You were someone he may not have seen as "the one," but nevertheless he enjoyed having you as a friend [with benefits]. You ended the friendship -- wisely, I feel -- but he still feels rejected. [Ironic, I know, since you ended the friendship because of his rejection of your romantic feelings.] Now he sees the pattern happening all over again -- R will probably have to end the friendship just as you did -- and he sees the two of you drawing closer while he feels left out. We all need friendships, just as we need special relationships, and we especially need friendships when we have no special relationship.

Now I'm going to assume that you're correct that J just wants both you and R as friends or fuck buddies and nothing more. Still, he misses the times you and he hung out together and may have been trying to recreate them with R. Now R has gone and fallen for him, too, and all J can see is that he's in danger of losing yet another good friend.

I've met guys like J. No doubt he's attractive, likable, charming. He hasn't met "the one" yet, or may not even be looking. [Not to give false hope, but it may not even be you or R who's the problem, but simply bad timing.] Yet there's something about him that makes most of his friends or fuck buddies fall a little in love with him. I've met guys like this who may not even be that handsome, but they are nice and fun and sympathetic, hopefully a little exciting as well, and people just wind up getting hung up on them.

You have to realize that, even if he's young, he may have been through this over and over again. You may not even have been the first friend who fell for him and then walked out of his life. He may not be hurting as much as you are, but he's hurting. And he may see the two of you sleeping together as a way of getting back at him ( which certainly may have been on R's mind) when he really did nothing wrong -- he just didn't return your more serious feelings.

And you and R -- if you're totally honest -- are probably still hoping that some day something more than friendship will develop with J. I can't blame either one of you for getting some consolation sex with one another [although I sense you're being accurate when you suggest it will go no further.]

That being said, J still can't tell either you or R who you can sleep with anymore than you can dictate his social or sex life to him.

I feel bad for all three of you, as I've been on both sides of the fence, and it's never easy. No harm was really done as far as you're concerned, as you'd already decided to move on and end the friendship with J out of necessity, although I understand you could have done without this misunderstanding. R, who may not have quite reached the point you have, is probably wishing he hadn't answered the door when J came a'callin'. [Wonder why he did?]

Yet there's hope for all of you. You and R have to remember that the next great -- and real -- romance might be just around the corner. J may be a special guy, but he's not the only special guy.

And maybe until he's ready to settle down or meets that certain someone, J should stick to being friends with couples.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Gay/Bi Hubby

I think my husband may be bisexual or gay. We have been married for three years. The sex is okay, but frequently he seems distant or disinterested. I am suspicious because I frequently see him looking at other men in a certain way, and he is always very affectionate with them. On the other hand, he is virulently homophobic, so much so that it's like he's covering up. There is nothing stereotypically gay about him, but I know that doesn't mean anything. He always has good excuses for his occasional absences. We have other problems in our marriage, but if he is basically gay, I think it would be best for me to know it, and for us to go our separate ways. I hope you can help. Anon.

It sounds to me as if you have a general dissatisfaction with your marriage, regardless of your husband's sexual orientation. I do have to agree with you that if he is essentially homosexual, it's better if the two of you accept that you might be better off as friends instead of husband and wife.

Being affectionate with other men is not always problematic, but the fact that he is so homophobic (especially in combination) is definitely troubling. That often is a sign that a man is covering up issues with his sexuality. In some cases it's not that a man has homosexual feelings -- although that is often the case -- but that he's terrified that people will perceive him as gay. Men who are constantly putting down gay men often do so out of their own insecurity [over a variety of issues], some real or imagined sexual inadequacy, or a basic inferiority complex that is the root of most prejudice.

Then again, they could be deeply troubled by homosexual feelings and use their homophobic outbursts to, as you put it, cover up.

But there is also the possibility that your husband's preoccupation or disinterest, as you term it, is caused by something entirely different. His homophobia could simply be a narrow-minded attitude fueled by some feeling of inadequacy, as previously noted.

I would suggest that you sit him down and ask him about his homophobia. Don't accuse him of anything -- simply ask him why he has such a problem with gays. Gently lead into a discussion of some of the things I've mentioned. [Please take care if you think or know that he can be physically violent!] If he seems confused by his sexuality, you can suggest he get counseling. Another possibility would be for the two of you to see a marriage counselor as a couple.

In the long run, even if he isn't gay, your marriage may need the help of a professional counselor or therapist.

Good Luck!

NOTE: Here is another post about a woman who thought her husband might be gay. And there are other posts on this blog about mixed gay/straight marriages. Type "mixed marriage" in the search bar at the uppermost left hand corner of the blog and a whole list will come up.

Hairy He-Men Homosexuals

I know there are lipstick lesbians, but are there also he-man hairy-chested homosexual men? Anon.

Yes! Many, many more than anyone imagines.

If I've said it once I've said it a thousand times -- repeat after me -- the gay community is very diverse.

Macho Gay Men abound, but hopefully most of them are "macho" in demeanor and not in mentality, although even in the gay male community we have our cave men -- for better or worse.

Gay Old Friends

Dear Dr. Bill, Love your blog. [Thank you! "Dr." Bill]

I grew up with a friend I will call "Nate" in elementary school from K-8. He and I were very best friends -- joked together, played together, trusted in each other, worked on many projects together. (Nothing physical ever happened, in terms of experimenting.) He and I essentially went our separate ways when we went to different high schools. There was little contact during high school, mostly because he never seemed to want to be in touch with me at that time of his life. Then, I went to college in New York for pre-law and he went to college in Canada for architecture and we lost touch altogether.

I do a lot of Google sleuthing to try to find old friends, for whatever reason (maybe I find it hard to let go of the past; or maybe it's just hard to find friends now who seem as great as childhood friends). Anyway, I discovered through Google searching that my Nate (who I have not seen in 30 years) is gay. Just like me. I suppose I always wondered if he was. But I never knew for certain until I saw various things on the Web that make it clear he's gay, and out, where he lives.

The thing is: Nate doesn't seem to want to communicate with me, and I don't know why. I have sent a few letters and emails and just get back silence in return. In one long email I came out to him and really expressed a sincere interest in getting back in touch, reminiscing, catching up. It just seems that we would now have more to talk about than ever. But he seems to have no interest, or something is holding him back. I can't think of any arguments or bad feelings between us at all.

Naturally I don't want to phone him and put him on the spot, if he cannot even bring himself to write to me. Talk about awkward. I don't want to make Nate think I am stalking him or that I am really needy and won't just let him be. And yet, we were such a big part of each other's lives as kids that it bothers me he is ignoring my efforts to reach out. I feel rejected, or that the friendship is being betrayed (even if it's not exactly a current friendship).

I know, I know, get a life, right? Move ahead, not back, and don't live in the past. All good advice. But why is it so hard to do that?

Possibly it's hard for you to move ahead because of some dissatisfaction with your current situation? Maybe it isn't this guy at all, but what he represents? I'm assuming that childhood was basically a happy period for you, and maybe you hope that reconnecting with this old friend will bring back some of those happy experiences. However, a person can find happiness with new people and new experiences at any age.

You have to remember that you haven't really seen this guy or interacted with him in thirty years, and his memories of you and the fun you had together may not be as sharp as yours. He's all grown up now, as are you, and despite the fact that both of you are gay, he may feel like the two of you have very separate interests or attitudes [just because he didn't reply doesn't mean he didn't read your letters or emails; you may have revealed things that made him feel the two of you would not get along as you did in childhood. And I definitely would not phone him!]

You also mention that he didn't seem interested in staying friends when the two of you went to separate high schools. Sometimes old friends just grow apart and not just in distance. It doesn't necessarily mean he has anything against you but more that he's dealing with his own reality -- then and now -- and connecting with an old friend he hasn't seen since he was basically a child is not a top priority at this time. You may just have caught him at a bad moment.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with trying to reconnect with a childhood friend, and I can understand that you feel a bit rejected and disappointed, especially as it turns out that both of you are gay. If you had some kind of special feelings for him during those youthful days it would probably intensify the feeling of rejection. If you're like most people you've fantasized about what it might be like if you two of you met face to face after all these years, and you're frustrated that it may never take place.

The truth is that some people really don't want to go back into the past. I had great times in college, for instance, but not once have I ever had any desire to go back for a reunion. Your old friend may have so much going on in his life right now that he just doesn't have either the time or desire to renew acquaintances -- and let's face it, you and he haven't really been friends -- or even acquaintances in any realistic fashion -- in many a year.

It's possible that he's just going through a busy period and will get in touch with you when he has a chance to catch his breath. You've told him how you feel, offered the invitation -- the rest is up to him.

But if you don't hear from him try not to feel too bad. People change as they grow older. They need different things, have different attitudes.

In other words, it may be more about him than about you.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Where are the "Edgy" Guys?

I was recently at the Eagle in New York one Sunday night and I noticed a lot of guys in alligator shirts and designer clothing and I swear I felt like I was in some twink bar catering to the fashion or hairdressing set. Where were the edgier guys, the shaved heads, the tattoos, the grizzled older macho men that I go to leather bars to find? Is leather culture on its way out? I heard that the Mr. Leather contest in New Jersey was open to women! What on earth has happened to the leather scene? Anon.

Well, I'm no expert on the leather scene, but I don't think it's on its way out any time soon. I have also been to the Eagle on a Sunday and observed the same thing you did -- I was the only cueball [shaved head] on the roof deck! I believe Sundays attracts a wider variety of men at the Eagle and perhaps everywhere else.

I think leather bars know that some men come because of the masculine atmosphere and aren't really into the leather or fetish scene. So they set aside one night when only men in full leather regalia are admitted [Thursdays, I believe, for the New York Eagle].

It's possible that hardcore leather fetishists and gay men into kinkier scenes hang out in other places and have their own clubs. [And of course the leather scene is not strictly gay.] I know some hardcore leather men think of most modern-day leather bars as, as you imply, fashion shows. [At least the New York Eagle isn't as bad as the Boston Eagle, which is by no stretch of the imagination a leather bar. At least that was the case. It may have changed, but probably not.]

As for women in "Mr. Leather" contests? It sounds completely idiotic and pointless, as there can always be [and probably is] a Ms. Leather competition. Sounds like political correctness run amok. UPDATE: Actually there is one contest for men [Mr. Leather] and another for women [Ms. Leather]. It is not true that women compete in the Mr. Leather contest, at least not in New Jersey. There was no Ms. NJ Leather in 2008, but there was a Mr. NJ Leather.

Try the Eagle on another night and you might find some of those edgier guys you were talking about.

In the meantime, here's a link to a piece I did on the leather/fetish scene for The [now defunct] New York Blade.

Dating Sites for Big Guys

Dr. Bill, I am a larger guy. I am also very honest and do not want to hide things. I have decided to be upfront in my profile about my body size. This is usually one of the first things we discuss if we talk over the phone. Should I change this? I believe this is one thing that will come out especially if we meet. If my body size is going to be a deal breaker I feel this should be shared up front. I am very discouraged and feel like giving up. I have tried several dating sites with no luck. If you know of any sites that cater to older (59) men who are large I certainly would appreciate your help. Thanks.

Never give up! I have to say right off the bat that I am always seeing large guys -- be they a bit [or a lot] chubby or simply big and tall men -- being cruised in bars [especially bear bars], so I know there are plenty of admirers for larger men. And yes, even older larger men.

Be upfront about your size on any web sites. Some guys are positively turned on by large men. I used to be a lot heavier than I am now and I was always amazed at the guys who seemed to be turned on by my sheer bulk or by my belly. [When I lost weight I used to joke that I'll lose all my boyfriends, but luckily that didn't happen. There's someone for every size!]

If you lie and say that you're thin or small or what-have-you, the truth will come out when you meet face to face, so what's the point? As I say, I believe there are enough men who are into big guys of any age that there will hopefully be men who are interested.

Check your profile and see if there are any other things that might be a problem. While honesty is always the best policy, you don't have to tell them everything!

I find that big men are much admired in the bear community. Even if you're not a hairy, bearded bear type, you can still find admirers. [If hairy guys are a turn-off to you, I can also tell you that many bear sites also have smooth-skinned men on them].

You might have tried some of these sites already:

BiggerCity, the web site for gay chubby men and their admirers. And there are similar sites if you google.

Silver Daddies for older men and the men who admire them. Recommended. Lots of older guys, big guys, chubby guys etc. Something for every taste.

Bearwww.com for bears and bear admirers of all ages, types and sizes.

Bear411 Ditto. As I say, big men are appreciated in bear culture.

Good Luck!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Letting Go and Moving On

I am a gay man and I have a platonic friend, another gay man in his early forties, who has come out of the closet and left his wife. Well, let's say the two are divorced, but he never really left. They do everything but live together. My friend badly wants to be in a committed relationship with a man, but I've told him that any guy he gets serious about is going to be a bit put-off by all the time he spends with his wife, [Everytime I go over to his place she's there!] which has already happened more than once. He says he's fully accepted that he's gay, totally gay, and he and his wife have become good friends, which is fine as far as it goes. What can I say to him to make him understand that it's okay to be friends with the ex-wife but that he needs to keep boundaries if he's ever going to move on. By the way, they have no children. Anon.

I can see what the problem is here and it's a common one in these situations. Often when mixed marriages end because one partner comes out, it's the straight spouse who has trouble moving on -- but sometimes it's both of them.

Your friend was in the closet for quite a few years, I imagine, and now in middle age he's part of a whole new community. It's understandable that he would still need his wife's friendship [and often what couples in these mixed marriages have going for them is friendship and little else] because he's still testing the waters. The wife was probably his best friend for many years, and still is. The trouble is that while he's looking for a new relationship, she may still be in love with the guy and is reluctant to move on. The fact that she's at his place all the time indicates that she still needs to be in his life, but there's a difference between being part of someone's life and clinging to someone who wants and needs to move on. It's good that they're friends, but you're right that boundaries need to be set. As they have no children together, there is no reason for her to be hanging out with him excessively.

I assume from what you say that a couple of budding relationships ended because the wife was around a little too much and made the guys he was dating uncomfortable. That's understandable. Any man who wants to enter into a relationship with your friend needs to know that a.) the wife is over him and is not going to be a problem and b.) he's over his wife and is ready to move on with someone new, specifically a man.

His ex-wife needs to start dating. Know any single straight guys? You might have your friend suggest that his wife contact the Straight Spouse Network, whose whole purpose is to give support to heterosexuals who are or were married to gays.

Also understand that your friend probably feels a great deal of guilt. Coming out for him was a reason to celebrate; but it was probably devastating for his wife. He married this woman under false pretenses, and he doesn't want to blow her off because he already feels bad enough for what he's "done" to her. At the same time, they have both got to understand and accept that the "romantic" part of their relationship is over.

Both of them can find happiness with new people while remaining good friends, a happy result that often comes about when mixed marriages come to an end. Hopefully your friend will realize that sooner than later.

Gay Husband?

Hi there. I suspect my husband is gay. I honestly can't say that I think he has ever cheated on me, I don’t even know if he’s ever had sex with a man. However, I have many many reasons to believe that he has lots of internalized homophobia. Thing is, I don’t know what to do about it. I’m so unhappy that I’ve started considering leaving him. For a very long time, I thought it was me, but I came across this article the other day, and it just made me think. Funny thing is, I actually asked him if he is gay, a long time ago. Anyway, I’m rambling. I hope you can tell me something, anything, that can help. Thanks for the wonderful blog, has great information.

Thank you. Now I'll see if I can address your problem

You haven't given me a lot to go on here, but I assume you think your husband might be gay because of homophobic attitudes on his part? Men who are constantly going on about "fags" and the like do generally have issues. It may be that they're repressed homosexuals themselves, or it may be they have a serious inferiority complex. [Inferiority complexes are one of the main causes of prejudice; an insecure person needs to feel "superior" to as many people as possible, including entire groups of people.]

You approached the gay issue many years ago but it's obvious that you need to do it again. Don't accuse him of being gay. Even if he is homosexual he probably does not identify that way and may be in serious denial. Tell him that it doesn't make him a bad person, that there's nothing wrong with being gay, but that both of you are unhappy and things need to be resolved. If he admits he has an attraction for men, suggest he get counseling at a gay center or therapy from a gay or gay-friendly therapist to help him deal with it. If he's adamant that he's not homosexual -- there may be other issues as I suggested -- he may still need therapy to help him deal with those issues. At this point it's too early to go into what might or should happen if he comes out, as his true sexual orientation is yet to be absolutely determined.

One thing you should do is contact the Straight Spouse Network. This is an organization for people who are married or were married to gay or bisexual spouses. As they say on their website:

The Straight Spouse Network (SSN) is an international organization that provides personal, confidential support and information to heterosexual spouses/partners, current or former, of gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender mates and mixed-orientation couples for constructively resolving coming-outproblems. SSN also offers research-based information about spouse, couple, and
family issues and resources to other family members, professionals, community
organizations, and the public. SSN is the only support network of its kind in
the world.

They may be able to provide information and support. In the meantime if you'd like to email me with more information -- more details on why you think your husband is gay -- I'll be happy to discuss this with you further.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

When Lovers Become Friends

I'm hoping that you can help with this. I respect your opinion and I'd love to know how you feel about this situation. It's like this. My lover and I have been together many years and are both in our forties. Our sex life pretty much died two or three years ago. This greatly distresses me, as I am a sexual person and am still attracted to my lover, and he says he's still attracted to me [but doesn't act like he means it.] He has put on quite a bit of weight and while I still love him and want to make love to him, I think he is very self-conscious. I am not drop-dead gorgeous by any means, but I still have no trouble attracting men. Frankly, I am horny as hell and would like to get it on with some of the guys who come on to me when I'm in a bar. I've told my lover that it's just sex, animal passion, that my having an encounter [safe sex ONLY] or a fuck buddy or something to take the edge off would not mean I love him any less, but he's adamant that true love means you remain monogamous. I'm too young to just give up on sex the way he has. I've told him that rather than lying to him and "cheating" on him and going behind his back, that if we can't have an open relationship I'd rather we just become friends; I don't want to hurt him. He says that breaking up with him would hurt him even more. It seems to me the only solution is that we remain friends but accept that we are no longer lovers. We could still be there for each other, as friends are, but no longer in a relationship that has been devoid of sex and passion for far too long. What do you think? Anon.

Here's what I think. I pretty much agree with you. If this guy loves you, I can't see why he can't make love to you. I appreciate the fact that he may have become self-conscious, but he should be happy that in spite of the weight gain he's got a.) a hot, attractive lover who is still rarin' to go and b.) a lover who wants to get it on with him. What's his problem?

It's true that many couples -- gay or straight -- become more friends and less lovers as the years go by, but if a couple can keep that flame of passion burning, they certainly should.

Your lover is going through a difficult time. He feels he's lost his attractiveness and is terrified of losing you -- who are still attracting men -- to someone else, maybe one of those potential one-night-stands or fuck buddies. If you break up, he can see you with someone else but he can't see himself with somebody else. You probably have no desire to have a new man in your life in the romantic sense (although a little romance or romantic fling probably wouldn't hurt) but because of his inferiority complex he just can't understand that.

It's situations like this that have always made me a believer in sensible open relationships [safe sex must always be a factor].

My advice is to work on his image problem. Get him to a bear bar where big guys are often openly admired. If that doesn't work, gently suggest that he get a little more exercise and watch what he eats. You may have to be pretty blunt with him. Tell him that you like him fine the way he is, but he obviously is self-conscious about his appearance and you want to help him feel better about himself. Tread carefully. He may be super-sensitive on the subject. Still, if he thinks he'll lose you ...

You must make it clear that it's not how he looks that's the problem, but that there is no sex in the relationship and sex is important to you. If his image problem is the reason he won't make love to you, it is something that you both have to address, and that he has to attend to if he wants the two of you to continue as a couple. This is also true if the problem is a low sex drive or something else. People who give up all sex are sometimes suffering from depression or other medical conditions; if necessary make sure he gets a complete check up.

Think long and hard about breaking up, however. If this relationship is important to you and if it's working in other regards, then you may not want to throw it away too quickly. It can be easy to have sex; but not so easy to land a compatible lifetime partner. While I can't heartily recommend this, it may be that you'll have to have some encounters on the sly just to keep your sexual sanity. Everyone has a right to have a sex life and don't dare feel guilty about it or Dr. Bill will come after you!

But I'm hoping your lover will understand what's at stake. Either he goes for an open relationship, he improves his image and therefore his sexual self-esteem, or he settles for friendship while you get laid and possibly move on.

Good luck.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Whole "Queen" Thing

I'm a gay guy, but I confess that I don't get the whole "queen" thing, and especially not the drag queen thing. You can slam me if you want, but that's how I feel. What is up with those guys? Anon.

I'm a little confused here. I assume you're a butch or non-stereotypical gay man -- most of us are, in fact -- and you don't understand why some gay guys are queeny? I'll proceed from that supposition. [I'll confess right now in the interest of full disclosure that some queens can drive me right up the wall, while others I find warm, friendly, gay-positive and altogether terrific. But that's true of the butch numbers as well. ]

Most if not all "queens" are gay but most gay guys are not queens. For reasons that have never quite been determined, a certain percentage of gay men are stereotypically effeminate or "swishy" to a certain degree. This may run from a mild softness or slight girlishness on occasion to full-out screaming queen mania that's on all the time.

If there's a gene to determine sexual orientation, as some studies suggest, is there also a gene to determine whether or not a gay person is butch or femme? Somehow I doubt it. I think effeminacy in men is an acquired trait. In other words, it has to do with how and by whom a man is raised and with his environment. Then again -- and here's where things really get confusing -- there are queeny gay men who have strong male role models, who are not surrounded and raised by women, and who grow up in atmospheres that aren't especially "feminine." So who knows? So let's just say that effeminacy can be an acquired trait but may not be in all cases. [And let's not forget -- Saturday Night Live jokes aside -- that there are undoubtedly effeminate heterosexual men. Not just straight-identified, but straight.]

But now we come to drag queens, men who dress up as women. In general, if these men are gay we call them drag queens; if straight -- and yes, there are heterosexual men who like to dress up as women -- we call them transvestites. In any case, most gay men are not transvestites and have zero interest in dressing up as women.

For one reason or another some gay men -- and perhaps some straight men as well -- identity with the opposite sex to such a degree that they feel in part female. This is different from a transsexual person, who can be an actual female trapped in a male body or vice versa. Undoubtedly there are TVs [transvestites] and drag queens who are unacknowledged transsexuals. An extreme identification with women can lead a man to spend much if not all of his time in drag and in a female persona. These guys may feel unattractive and colorless without the female finery; getting in drag helps them get out of their shell and develop a personality the way that imbibing a few drinks does for other people. And, strange as it sounds, this may be completely unrelated to their sexual orientation. [And some men find sexual gratification in dressing up as women.]

This is why you don't "get" drag queens. Because it isn't a gay thing as such at all. Drag queens are a part of the gay community, but they have their own special needs and purposes that most gay men can't especially relate to at all.

As for queens or femmes -- gay men who are stereotypical but aren't necessarily interested in dressing in drag -- a lot of times they pick up their flamboyant gestures and behavior by mimicking the more "outrageous" gay men they they first meet when they come out. A lot of swishy behavior is just acting, camping it up. A snide homophobe may think that beneath every butch number there's a queen but the truth is that sometimes it's just the opposite. Some guys act effeminate simply because that's what they think gay guys do. If they get involved with the more masculine side of gay culture, they may drop the whole swish thing, although if they're old enough it may have become such a large part of who they are that it becomes impossible to change.

But as I've said before, butch or femme, we're all gay brothers, each with our own unique way of expressing ourselves.

Macho or swishy, drag queen or leather king, sports fan or Broadway enthusiast, we don't necessarily have to "get" each other.

But respect each other we must, for divided we will definitely fall.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Do Bears Predominate?

Is bear culture taking over the whole gay community? Why do gay men feel they have to butch it up all the time? Anon.

Uh, many gay guys just happen to be "butch" (very masculine -- or at least not effeminate); some are not. Most -- like straight men -- are somewhere in between.

No gay man who isn't butch should feel a need to "butch it up" if he doesn't want to. Everyone should feel free to be themselves. It's all about accepting yourself for who or what you are. You don't have to be butch or ultra-masculine to be happy.

Some men feel a need to come on strong, macho, when they enter a bar that has a decidedly masculine atmosphere. Some guys overdo it. They may already be butch enough, so they think that being rude, stepping on people's feet, and acting like a jerk, makes them more macho. Straight guys do this, too. Gay or straight, a jerk is a jerk.

As for bear culture taking over, I think it's really that -- in some places, at least -- people are beginning to realize that there's more to the gay male community than the proverbial "limp-wristed hairdresser." [Hell, there's more to the hairdresser's community.] You might think that in this day and age everyone is more sophisticated about the diversity of our community, but you'd be surprised how many supposedly hip people (including some gays) still think in terms of stereotypes.

[Just the other night a man in a gay bar said to two other customers. "I'm not into sports. Gay men are not into sports." The two other men vigorously disagreed, as both were baseball fans.]

Gay men, like all men, are into whatever the hell they want to be. [I admit that it's a distinct possibility that gay men in general feel freer to explore options -- art and culture, for instance -- that some straight men may cut themselves off from out of their own fears and insecurities. But let me make it clear that there are many hetero men who are not ashamed to be seen at the ballet or opera -- good for them! -- and some gay men who wouldn't be caught dead in such venues. Too bad!]

The emergence of bear culture means that the definition of attractiveness has been expanded to include men that the more stereotypical gay males supposedly eschew: hairy guys, chubby guys, guys who don't dress in color-coordinated outfits or designer clothing. People are learning that there's more to the gay male community than willowy young queens [not to put those guys down].

Don't look at this as a bad thing. People need to learn that gay men come in all shapes, sizes, and attitudes. We are literally everywhere!

Bear culture will not supplant or destroy non-bear gay culture. It will compliment it.

Butch or femme, feel free to be yourself. And recognize that everyone has a special niche in the gay community.

And that we're all gay brothers.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Really Bisexual?

Is it true that all gay men are really bisexual? I mean, look at the guys who have been or are still married to women. Isn't labeling yourself bi or gay a political decision? Anon.

But then look at all the guys -- many more, in fact -- who have never been married to women, and are not in any way, shape or form bisexual. And may not have the slightest sexual or romantic interest in women. Ever.

How you label yourself or identify can be a political decision (or one born of how you see yourself, or want to see yourself and be seen by others). No doubt there are gay men who call themselves bisexual because they feel it makes them -- somehow -- more masculine. [In gay society, a man can have sex exclusively with men and still be considered something of a stud. Outside gay society, a man is seen as a "stud" only if he has sex with women. Some guys need to seen as studs by the entire world, and especially by their straight friends and family.] I don't know if a man who identifies as gay would label himself bi for political reasons, unless it's to show solidarity with a bi male partner.

I believe there are men who see themselves as bisexual but who label themselves gay for political reasons. [But many, many more men who label themselves gay simply because they're gay.] They may do this to show solidarity with other "queer" Men Who Love Men, or because of their recognition that if they experience persecution it will more likely be due to their same-sex attraction and relationships than to whatever attraction or relationships they may have with the opposite sex.

A genuine bisexual has much more than a passing interest in the opposite sex, and their relationships with women are not for appearance's or career's sake, or due to internalized homophobia or self-denial. Some gay men may have a mild or occasional interest in, or sexual experience, with women, but their attraction to and interest in men is far more overwhelming. Although some men in this position, as well as others, may choose to call themselves bisexual, their overwhelming interest in men (even if they're married to women) in my educated opinion, makes them gay, not bi.

Married homosexual men (as opposed to married bisexual men) are technically bisexual because they do sleep with women and have biological children. However, before one talks about bisexuality one has to consider this: I've met, befriended and interviewed literally hundreds of men who were once, or still are, married to women, and the vast majority of them say they are gay, not bisexual. Many, perhaps most, of them, say that sex with their wives was unsatisfying (as opposed to sex with men), and that they had to fantasize about males during the sex act. In some cases they would not have been able to achieve erection let alone successful penetration, without the homoerotic fantasies. Not just with their wives, but with virtually any woman. That doesn't sound bi to me -- it sounds gay.

So, no, it's not true that all gay men are really bisexual. Saying so is tantamount to saying that all gay men can change over to straight, change their orientation, when that flies in the face of all evidence to the contrary, "sexual fluidity" be damned. A gay man can sleep with a woman, father children, but that doesn't make him straight or bi. In fact, one of the biggest mistakes many bi-identified individuals make is to automatically assume a Man Who Loves Men is bisexual just because he is or was once married to a woman.

Funny, nobody ever seems to think that all straight men are really bisexual. Wonder why?

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Hanging It Up

At what point do you think a man should hang it up, I mean stop cruising, accept that those days are behind him? Is there any specific age, I wonder? Anon.

Given how people live longer today and the "senior" crowd -- gay and straight -- is still sexually active, I don't know if anyone should ever "give it up." It really depends on a lot of factors.

As long as a man is attracting other men to him -- and I don't mean that every head turns when he walks in the door, but that guys do at least on occasion let him know that they're interested -- I see no reason why he should stop cruising, or at least think of himself as "past it." I mean, a man can go to a bar one night and feel invisible, with no one hitting on him, or striking out as he makes passes, but then a week later there are more guys in the bar (or a different bar) who like his specific type, and he finds himself in the position of (nicely) rejecting people. You never know how it's gonna go. Guys, especially as we age, can be very sensitive to this, and one has to remember that even younger, "hotter" guys can have a bad night or a string of them. It's important not to despair.

Some guys of a certain age don't actively cruise. They wait for people to express an interest and now and then may get lucky. Other guys are more aggressive and may or may not be more successful. Some guys just tell themselves that they're over-the-hill and jerk off, or become more or less asexual.

Then there are guys are who really lousy at cruising in bars and do much better on-line. I'd suggest before giving up on cruising/dating/sexual activity entirely, a man should try the on-line dating/sex sites that cater to older men and their admirers, such as silver daddies.

Older men -- especially those who are predominantly attracted to younger guys -- should avoid the pitfalls of cruising in a bar that caters mostly to, say, twenty-somethings. There are young men who like older men (for various reasons) but they tend to go to bars that cater to the middle-aged [and older] crowd. If you do go to a bar full of twenty-somethings, at least go late when they're more likely to be a little snookered and approachable. You may not get laid but at least they'll talk to you!

I have encountered middle-aged men who are fresh out of a twenty-something bar down the block and are miserable as hell, feeling old, rejected and desperate, when the truth is that there are many men their own age who would find them perfectly sexy. Unless a guy is extremely handsome, hot or rich, it's difficult to be in middle age (or older) and be exclusively attracted to much younger men.

There are still a lot of attractive (whatever your taste) older guys out there, and all of us "of a certain age" -- and we are legion -- should take advantage of that fact.

If a man really feels that he is just too old to attract sex partners, he can still enjoy the joys of masturbation, his friends, other activities that add joy to his life.

But remember that I've known guys as old as their seventies who cruise -- in bars -- and are successful at it more often than not.

You just never know.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Getting Lucky -- Or Not

On your recent post on "The Revenge of 'Fats and Femmes'" you talk about how guys sometimes come on to and go home with other guys who are much less attractive and you give various reasons for it. But isn't the number one reason that guys are just drunk and horny and don't realize what they've got in bed with them until they wake up the next morning? Anon.

LOL, Well, there is that old saying that if you get drunk you may wind up having sex with someone you wouldn't even want to talk to in the daylight.

And that other old saying: a stiff dick has no conscience.

Sure, of course it's true that some sex hook ups (gay or straight) happen because one or both parties are way too inebriated. And it's also true that a horny guy near closing time will often consent to go home with a guy who really isn't his type just so he can get a damn good blow job. (Hopefully. Sometimes they just pass out and you're left holding the ... ).

However, what I was talking about in the other post is reasonably sober guys who for one reason or another are attracted to men that you wouldn't think they would be.

While we're on this subject may I take the opportunity to importune people who do wind up in bed with someone they normally wouldn't go for to at least be kind in the morning. There's no point in hurting somebody's feelings just because you got too drunk.

Besides, sooner or later we all get lucky and wind up with somebody who's way out of our league.

GLBT Expo 2010

Hello, Dr. Bill. I recently found your blog. I think it is marvelous. We are producers of The 17th Original GLBT Expo 2010 and it is our 17th Anniversary. This is a huge milestone for the GLBT Community, the loyal sponsors/exhibitors/attendees that support the EXPO and your dedicated staff at The RDP Group.

For the past 17 years, the EXPO has helped to present the finest products & services available to the GLBT consumer. Starting in 1993, the EXPO has generated over $80,000,000 of dollars spent within the Greater Tri-State area. This includes the GLBT friendly companies from every industry, both large and small, Fortune 1000 and Gay-owned companies. They have all discovered the GLBT Community is affluent, brand-loyal, well educated and business minded. It is the truest of definition of "THE PERFECT NICHE MARKET".

It would be great if you could just post some information on your blog about this event. Spread word to the Gay Community to join and Expo.

Thank you and I'll be happy to. Here's where you can get further information on the Expo:

The 17th Original GLBT Expo
March 20-21 2010
Jacob Javits Convention Center
New York City
Call 800.243.9774

For more information please visit the website http://www.originalglbtexpo.com/


Sunday, September 13, 2009

Revenge of the "Fat and Femme"

Dr. Bill, what's going on here? I consider myself a reasonably attractive, in good shape, gay man in his early forties, and I do okay in the bar scene and on line. But I notice more and more that -- to be charitable -- chubby guys seem to be getting a lot of attention in gay bars. I'm not necessarily talking about bears or chubby-bears, but just obese -- sometimes morbidly obese -- guys, often effeminate, who seem to be attracting men who are much more attractive than they are. What's going on here? The other night I saw a good-looking guy rejected by a man who made an instant beeline for a super-plump homely fellow with zits and was making out with him. I mean, didn't it used to be that most gay men would put on their profiles "no fats, no femmes." What happened to make these -- to me -- gross guys so "sexy" all of a sudden?" Annoyed in New York City.

First of all, there's no accounting for taste. There are guys who won't look twice at a guy with a shaved head and goatee, while others are drawn to them like moths to a flame (thank goodness for me). I imagine the same is true for chubby guys. But I have noticed some changes over the years, maybe relating to the emergence of bear culture, where it isn't about being young, slender, having a full head of hair, or being conventionally handsome. Still, some people think it's getting a little out of hand.

Why would a handsome guy -- as you and I and others have observed -- want to make out and go off with a man who, by most objective standards, is just the opposite of him? I can think of at least two reasons.

Even good-looking guys can suffer from low self-esteem. Some men are intimidated by other "hot" guys and would just as soon be serviced by someone who is much less attractive. They may have issues that we know nothing about -- sexual problems, or are HIV positive -- and figure a less attractive man will be so grateful to have them that they'll overlook things that the hotter guys -- who can pick and choose -- may not. Often when a good-looking person chooses an "ugly" or "slovenly" person for a sex partner, it's an expression of the former's self-hatred.

Then we have to remember that Love is Blind. Some people change over the years, lose their looks, and become much less attractive than their partners. But the other partner is still in love, and when he kisses the other guy, he's kissing the man he remembers, the man he was so attracted to long ago. I think that must be a case with a couple who come into my usual hang-out all the time and just stand there and make out while others around them are shaking their heads and wondering what one guy sees in the other.

And, again, there really is no accounting for taste. Some people see something in somebody that you or I may not see.

There have always been chubby chasers, people who found something erotic about excessive avoirdupois. [As well as guys who were attracted to effeminate men, perhaps because they feel superior to them.] A few years back,when I was much heavier than I am today, I was often approached by men who seemed to like me because of the extra weight. Frankly it grossed me out a bit, so I promptly went on a diet.

Many years ago when I was skinny, I went with a fat friend to a party given by Girth and Mirth, a group for chubbies and their chasers. I remember being practically chased around the room by obese guys, but no one was chasing them, and I felt that was kind of unfair. I mean this was supposed to be a group for men who found portly fellows sexy, so what was going on?

But now the situation seems to have changed a bit. One acquaintance recently said to me "The only guys who get laid these days are fat guys."

Well, that's a "gross" exaggeration of course.

But in a sense it's nice to know that there is literally somebody for everyone, that virtually everyone is somebody's type.

As long as you are somebody's type, don't worry about the ones who turn up their noses at you and walk out the door with somebody that -- to you -- looks like they escaped from a circus sideshow. [No offense intended to anyone. I mean, I know I'm not exactly "Brad Pitt." Who isn't all that great anyway.]

I mean, better them than you, right?

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Three's a Crowd

I am a gay man who has just entered into a committed relationship with a man I've been dating for three years. The problem is his friend, whom I'll call Loretta. Loretta is a lesbian and she is my guy's best, best friend. Let me make it clear that I have absolutely no problem with lesbians or women in general, but try as I might, I just can't get "into" Loretta. I just don't like her, and believe me I've tried. What's worse is that she is always around, and I mean always. She broke up with a long-time lover about five years ago and apparently still isn't over it. I'm sympathetic, but I wish she'd understand that her friend -- my lover -- is in a relationship and he doesn't always have time for her drama. Sometimes I feel like we're supposed to be this happy trio or something. They've been friends for years and I don't want to end that, but just wish Loretta wasn't around quite so much. When I bring it up, my boyfriend will tell me all the things Loretta has done for him, how she's lonely and hurting, blah, blah, blah. Dr. Bill, what can I do? Anon.

The problem isn't Loretta so much as your boyfriend. In other words, he has to understand that while being in a relationship doesn't mean that you forget about your friends, it does mean that you should be spending more time with your significant other and at least a little less with your friends. It's too bad that you just don't care for Loretta, but I have a feeling anyone who intrudes on your life with your guy would understandably be a problem.

It may seem that there's little you can do when your boyfriend goes into "defensive friendship mode" -- I mean, he starts reminding you of all Loretta's done for him and how much the friendship means, blah, blah, blah, as you say. Tell him that you understand that his friendship with Loretta is important and you don't want him to end it for the world, but you don't have the same history with Loretta and she's just an annoyance to you because she's around so fucking much! If he's unwilling to address the problem for fear of hurting Loretta, you may have to take tactful action, a sympathetic aside to Loretta, maybe just a hint that you wish you had more quality alone time with your new lover.

Take a firm stand with your boyfriend. Explain that you're in a relationship with him, not with Loretta, and while you don't mind if they hang out together from time to time, and can put up with her now and then, you don't want to feel as if you're part of a threesome. He has to meet you halfway.

If all else fails you will have to tell Loretta that she needs to get a life of her own, and/or tell your boyfriend that he has to put in his foot down in as kind a way as possible. If the problem is that Loretta just keeps showing up without an invitation, you will eventually have to be firm with her. Tell her you don't mind her coming over now and then, you respect her friendship with your lover, but he's in a relationship now and the two of you sometimes need to be alone. Give her a specific date to come over, but tell her she has to wait to be invited.

An awkward situation. But one that can be dealt with.

In the meantime, if you know any single lesbians who might be attracted to Loretta, for heaven's sake, introduce them to her!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Belly Up to the Bar, Boys!

Is someone who stays out until four in the morning drinking an alcoholic? Anon.

I assume you're either talking about yourself or a gay friend of yours, as all sorts of people enjoy drinking until the wee hours. And no, it doesn't automatically mean that someone is an alcoholic just because they close the bar on occasion, especially on weekends and special occasions. Even being a heavy drinker doesn't necessarily mean that someone is addicted to alcohol, which is basically what being an alcoholic means. The question is: how often does a person party? If a person is getting legally drunk every or most nights in the week, it is not a healthy situation. In excess, alcohol is essentially a poison.

Let's face it -- some people like to party, and in the bar scene, alcohol is part of the equation. Staying out late [unless you're constantly late for work and get fired] isn't a problem. The problem is exactly how much alcohol a person is consuming, and how it affects their behavior. In my opinion, a person doesn't have to be an alcoholic to have a "drinking problem" if he: a.) gets arrested on a fairly regular basis whenever he gets drunk; b.) turns hostile and is always getting thrown out of bars when he's drunk; c.) just can't handle his liquor and never knows when to stop; d.) drinks and drives; e.) mixes alcohol with illegal and or prescription drugs for a very bad combination and reaction, and f.) indulges in seriously unsafe sex due to alcohol consumption. [It also has to be said that many alcoholics are not obviously so. That is, they don't go out to bars and come home shit-faced. They can be closet, secretive drinkers. And there are different stages to alcoholism.]

Then there's the question of black outs. If a person never remembers how they got home or who they talked to [or had sex with!!!], they are clearly drinking too much.

I suggest that anyone who thinks they may be over-indulging try this test. Go out one night and make up your mind not to get so wasted that you won't remember the entire evening [not that you have to remember every single detail or half-witticism]. You may get a buzz, feel a little light-headed and happy, but basically -- stay in control. If it's absolutely impossible for you to do this, even if you try it more than once, there may be some reason for concern.

Some people drink too much not because they're alcoholic but because they are going through a particularly difficult period, and they use alcohol to wipe away the stress and temporarily forget what ails them. Of course, this can sometimes lead to additional problems.

But bar-hopping, drinking [moderately], and staying out late isn't of itself a problem unless the other factors I mentioned above are present.

Also remember that some people are unapologetic drinkers, and as long as they're not consuming volumes of alcohol every day, it isn't necessarily a problem. When it was recently said that having more than three drinks at a time was considered a binge, it engendered laughter in many quarters. As one fellow put it: "Three drinks? Hell, I'm just getting started!"

Scar on the Abdomen

I was wondering if you know anything about a scar on the abdomen in the gay guys. My good friend has one and he gets very upset when asked about it, I also noticed similar scar on another gay man's abdomen. FYI my friend is from former soviet union, could that be something with mafia or some gay abuse? Anon,

I confess this is a new one on me. When most people have scars on their abdomen or elsewhere it is generally due to surgery. It's just as likely that your friend from the soviet union may have had an appendectomy (surgical removal of an infected appendix) and he may be embarrassed by the scar, therefore he closes down when you ask him about it. I have never heard of any particular gay abuse in the Soviet Union or elsewhere that has to do with abdominal scars, although in certain nations where homosexuality is considered a crime and immoral, there have been, tragically, cases of gays being tortured and murdered in very painful and horrible circumstances. Therefore scars from injuries are certainly within the realm of possibility. Whatever the case with your friend, he is obviously not prepared as of yet to talk about it, so cut him some slack. When he's ready to confide -- and if he feels a need to confide in you -- he will do so. Thanks for an interesting question.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Bare-Backing Lover

My lover and I have an open relationship but recently I learned to my GREAT distress that he has been bare-backing -- and he's a bottom. He doesn't seem to be possessed of the self-hatred that you've mentioned, but when it's so easy to have your sex partner slip on a condom ... I just can't understand his behavior. What can I do about this? Anon.

Frankly, I can't understand his behavior either. [For the record, bare-backing is engaging in anal sex without using a condom.] I know some tops complain that they don't like to wear condoms, that it interferes with the sensations that they feel [although in that case I would recommend experimenting with different types of condoms, and there are plenty] but it shouldn't make that much difference to a bottom (and again bottoms can also experiment with different types of condoms). Let me make it clear that unprotected anal sex is the absolutely riskiest behavior for gay men. While it is much, much riskier for bottoms, there have been documented cases of tops getting HIV because they didn't use a condom as well.

As for your lover's behavior, there are several explanations [besides the fact that he's being very stupid]. If he's very young, he may feel he's invincible and that bad things only happen to other people -- even though, to everyone else, he is "other people." It's possible his "extra-marital" relationships occur when he's under the influence of something, and he's careless. People who are sexually active should carry condoms at all times and be prepared for every circumstance. If your sex partner says he doesn't have a condom, pull one out of your pocket -- pronto. If he doesn't want to use it, say good-night -- no matter how hot he is. Some sexual experiences just aren't worth the danger.

HIV may not be the death sentence that it once was, but people should by no means take it casually. AIDS is still a serious medical condition that can impact a person's entire life. Simply being HIV positive, while nothing to despair over necessarily, can have a serious effect on a person's general health and social status. Too many people, of all races, genders and orientations, mistakenly believe that HIV/AIDS is "no big deal." You have to make sure that your lover is made aware of this by showing him this and other posts on the subject, nagging him until it finally sinks in. Not only is he risking his own health, but yours as well.

You and your partner need to get tested for HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases. Again, being HIV positive, even having AIDS, is not the end of the world, as there are treatments that can help patients lead a more or less normal life [although it must be said that not everyone responds to treatment, which is another reason to swear off bare-backing]. But the fact that AIDS may be more treatable than it once was, does not mean that it's nothing to worry about. And other STDs are on the rise.

As for self-hatred, I've no doubt that some people who indulge in risky behavior have serious emotional issues, but in your lover's case it may simply be carefree, foolish recklessness on his part. If drugs or alcohol are influencing his behavior, then those issues must be addressed as well. [Don't get so drunk or fucked up that you can't wear a condom or remember to insist that your sex partner put one on.]

I'm in favor of open relationships. But for them to work, both partners have to be responsible. Which means safe sex at all times -- no exceptions!

Nag your lover about this until it sinks in.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Militant Mondays at Temperamentals

The Off Broadway show The Temperamentals (written by Jon Marans, starring Michael Urie and Thomas Jay Ryan) is having a conversation series as a part of their talk backs on Monday nights. It's called:

a series of political talks Monday nights
The first panel is AUGUST 3 and will include:

Larry Kramer
(author of THE NORMAL HEART, co-founder of GMHC and ACT UP)

Bill C. Davis
(author of MASS APPEAL, political essayist for Commondreams.org)

Jon Marans
(author of THE TEMPERAMENTALS, Pulitzer finalist OLD WICKED SONGS)

Moderated by director Jonathan Silverstein, they will be discussing how far gay rights have progressed since Harry Hay's 1950 Mattachine Society and how far we have to go.



Sounds like a very interesting evening!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Internet Dating -- When The Man and The Photos Don't Match

I really need some advice, Dr. Bill. I started dating guys I met on the Internet a few months ago, and more often than not that guy who walks into the bar or coffee shop looks a little -- and sometimes a LOT -- different from the photograph[s] they've posted. I try to be kind and tactful but I really find it annoying, even offensive. How do they expect to get away with it? Should I say something to these guys directly? Should I just walk out and/or pretend I don't know them? How would you handle it? Frustrated in Boston.

Well, there's a good reason why I prefer to meet the men I date in person in a bar, at a party, or some other social situation. I have been in just the situation you describe and it is never pleasant or easy. Here are some thoughts on guys who don't match their pictures.

1.) Some people photograph differently from the way they actually look. They're not trying to pull a fast one; it's something they can't control. Sometimes, happily, an attractive man is simply not "photogenic" and looks better in real life than in their photos, which is a happy surprise. Not so happy when it's the other way around.

2.) On Internet dating sites people naturally try to put their best face forward. Some make the mistake of using shots that are a little too flattering. [Maybe we should all use our Department of Motor Vehicle photos and our dates will all be happily surprised when they meet us. On second thought, if we all did that we'd never get dates.] Some men don't have a great "sense of self" [or are delusional] and they don't realize they're sending an inaccurate impression of themselves. Some people don't update their photos for years because they honestly don't believe they've changed [and boy are they wrong!] That's fine for DMV photos, but not for dating sites.

3.) Then we have people who are [dis]honestly perpetrating fraud. They know perfectly well they look nothing like their photo. Oh, sure, you can recognize them, but they've put on fifty pounds, gone gray, shaved the beard, gone bald etc. etc. I believe you've fallen victim to these jokers.

Guys post old photographs for the simple reason that they feel no one will contact them if they don't. They figure most of us are too polite to say anything when they show up looking ten years older and fifty pounds fatter. They're convinced that they're so nice, so witty, so sexy [hot in bed without being hot-looking] that once we meet them in the flesh we'll completely overlook their flaws and even hop into the sack with them that very night. Of course they're dead wrong. They're almost a kind of predator, frankly.

How should you handle it? Do what I do. I have a drink or two and if the conversation flows, if I'm having fun, I figure at least it will be a pleasant enough evening, if not a sexy one, and I may stay awhile (but never too long). If the conversation doesn't flow and I'm bored I finish my drink quickly and I'm out of there. I can't worry about hurt feelings. They created the whole false situation in the first place, not me.

While thank goodness I've never been in this situation, if a guy shows up who looks nothing like his photo -- I mean you really have trouble figuring out who he is and wondering where he came from -- say good-night quickly. Even if you come to realize that it's the right person [but the change is so dramatic, say a thin guy of thirty now looking like an obese man of sixty] you have an absolute right to walk out. And if it's a completely different person, say the roommate of the guy you wanted to date, you also have an absolute right to walk out. Go, go, go, baby.

These guys are just wasting your time and mine and even their own. The thing is, nowadays people go for all kinds of types, including the follically challenged [like me], the morbidly obese [whom I see being cruised all the time], anything and everyone. We can feel sorry for fellows like these who post seriously out-dated and misleading photographs, but we also have a right to date the person we see on the web site, not a "bizarro duplicate" [like out of the Superman comics].

We can't all be young, slender, pretty boys, so we should just be ourselves, eh?

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Getting "defensive"

As noted previously, I will occasionally respond to a longer comment on a post by starting a new post. This comment was in response to my post on Gay Men, Women, and "Sexual Fluidity:"

Dear Bill, I am very disappointed that we will not be able to continue our discussion in person. I stopped posting because I was invited to be a discussant at the gay/bi debate at the LGBT Center in NYC this Wednesday at 8 PM, and I asked that you be one of the gay discussants, so I thought I would be able to talk to you in person. How unfortunate that you are traveling.

You have illustrated my point exactly in this discussion. Prejudice and privilege is when it is assumed that bad things happen to people because of their inherent badness. I know it is a weird thing for a gay person to wrap his head around the notion that he has gay privilege, but relative to bisexuals and transgender people you do. The things I said to you were all that you were biphobic, or had internalized biphobia. However, you called me rigid, resentful, negative, etc., and let through a comment about posters (and since, I was nearly the only poster, this has to be about me)"can you imagine being attracted to both men and women and you still can't get laid on Saturday night?"

Therefore, I am a bad bisexual, and everything a gay person or Lesbian has ever done to me is my fault; the badness lies in me and my sexual orientation. I challenge you, since you cannot be there, to ask a friend or friends of yours to go to the talk and judge me as a person. See how bitter, resentful, angry, ugly, and unable to get dates I really am (oh, and you also called me immature - I'm 55 years old, BTW). Or are you afraid to see that just maybe gay people do really ugly things to perfectly nice bisexuals, just because they can (just like your insults and name-calling of me illustrates)?

I didn't really engage in what you label "name-calling." I made some judgment calls based on your tone and what you had to say, but I didn't call you "names" like fag or dyke. Frankly, if I called you "rigid" or "resentful" etc. it wasn't name-calling, that was simply how you came across. I have certainly never said that you were a "bad bisexual" or a "bad" anything else. Show me one occasion when I said that it was bad to be bisexual or that bisexuals were bad people! I didn't say what you wanted me to say so that makes me a "bad homosexual guy" in your mind, I guess. Therefore since you see me as a bad, supposedly bi-hating gay guy, that must mean that I see you as a "bad bisexual." Nonsense.

I have a feeling that you're a "late bloomer" because you carry the self-absorbed angst and the jump-to-conclusions attitude that you normally find in the very young, so I suspect you came to terms with your sexuality comparatively recently. [And let me make it clear that immaturity has nothing to do with age.] So while initially I was quite surprised that you're actually older than I am, I think that, in part, explains why I came to my erroneous conclusion. I could be wrong, but I also suspect that at one time you were in love with a lesbian and got very hurt when she broke it off. You're convinced it was because you were bisexual. Maybe. Maybe she didn't buy it, couldn't understand it, or maybe she "just wasn't that into you." I'm not saying it was your fault, or hers, but perhaps you just have to understand that in both gay and straight relationships sometimes they work out and sometimes they don't. I believe there are many bi-identified individuals who are actually in loving, long-time relationships with gay partners.

I, on the other hand, came out in my twenties and was active in the country's first militant gay rights organization, New York's Gay Activists Alliance. [Perhaps the "privilege" that you think you sense in me has more to do with the fact that I've been in this struggle for many more decades that the vast majority of my few detractors.] The president at the time that I joined GAA was bisexual. I don't recall he, I, or anyone else in the group wanting to fight for special privileges just for homosexuals while excluding bisexuals or transsexuals. You hate to hear this, you've been so spoon-fed wrong-headed data by insecure people with agendas, but you just don't have your facts straight [no pun intended].

As far as the person who left the comment about "not getting dates" -- for heavens sake, how paranoid can you be? You were not the only person who left comments and I'm pretty sure the guy was just making a joke and not singling you or anyone else out. I doubt if he even knows you. You continuously fail to see that I have an irreverent sense of humor, possibly because you have none?

Where is it written that all queers have to automatically agree with each other or else they're "phobic" this or "phobic" that? Can there be no questioning, no intelligent discourse, has no one the right to be on occasion politically incorrect or a doubting Thomas about this, that, or the other? This may infuriate you, but you should check out my post on my brother blog about the LGBT community and NPD.

It is my passionate belief that bisexuals and transsexuals, like homosexuals, face far more danger from the religious right and others like them, from all those who hate queers of all stripes, than they do from gay people who may relate more -- understandably -- to other gays than they do to bi's or transsexuals. I see nothing controversial in that viewpoint, but apparently others disagree.

As for that forum you refer to. Funny, how it was never listed in the LGBT center's list of upcoming events. Now I'd sound as paranoid as you if I suggested the whole thing was a set-up, wouldn't I? Believe me, I have been to enough forums over the years -- where people are supposed to have an intelligent, rational discussion -- where all it takes is a couple of irrational people unable to control their emotions to turn the whole thing into a tiresome shouting match. And to turn into a grim, humorless affair and a total bore.

I have a life outside the Internet. I generally allow people to leave comments and send emails, but that doesn't mean I want to continue the discussion out in the real world. Especially with people who for one reason or another may not always be entirely rational on a given subject.

Younger Man Older Man

NOTE: Occasionally I will respond to a comment that has been left regarding one post by starting a new post, as I have this time. This was a comment on my post on Falling in Love with a Younger Man:

Variation on a theme here. But I think the same outcome for me in the end.

The age difference is larger (I'm 42 and he's 19), and we've chatted online and webcammed for 6 months. We live in different cities and while we met briefly a few months ago just to hang out for a few hours, finally met this past weekend and pretty much spent the weekend together having a wild time (which included sex for two nights). I can't stop thinking about him and he says the same about me. Feels like love to me and I'm not sure at 19 he knows what that is, but he says the same about me.

I think there are only a few choices for the future here. Change my life to be with him, change the relationship and still be friends or totally end it. My heart wants the first one but realistically it has to be one of the other two. I'm not sure how to get to those stages though to be honest. I guess I'm having trouble building the courage to get there as well. Open to thoughts and opinions. Thinking I need to grow up here and "do the right thing". Rip the bandage off as it were and see where it ends up.

Like I've said in the past a successful relationship with such a large age difference is not impossible, but I'd be kidding you if I said it would be easy. You're dealing with a teenager, and no matter how mature he may be for his age (or not) he probably isn't ready to settle down with anyone, whereas you're at just the right age to do so. It sounds like you're having a wild sexual fling with a sexy young guy -- good for you, by the way! -- but while an infatuation can seem pretty intense -- it can certainly feel and hurt as much as love -- in the long run it's still just an infatuation. A few months of webcamming and a couple of nights of hot sex don't necessarily add up to a relationship. If a 19-year-old gets involved with an older man, there's usually some underlying reason for it. [I don't have to explain the reason why older men get involved with younger guys!] Is he trying to run from some bad situation? Is he looking for a father surrogate? Does he want to escape a bad family situation? Ultimately, what this young guy may need is a friend, but everything becomes complicated when you add in the sexual and romantic feelings you both have.

I probably don't have to tell you that when you enter into a relationship with a teenager [thank god he's an adult!] you're opening a whole can of worms, especially if he's still living at home. Befriend this guy if you want, have some mutually satisfying safe sex with him when you can, but as I've advised others, keep your eyes open for someone more age appropriate. 42 is still young. If you can have a 19 year old fuck buddy, boyfriend, what-have-you, you can certainly attract nice-looking men in their thirties and forties.

Still, I have met happy couples who had even more than a twenty-three year age difference. There were complications, there always are in these situations, but if the two of you really do come to love one another that strongly, who knows? You're the older person, but for all I know he could be much more experienced. If this is your first big gay fling, I'd say keep things in perspective and take it slow.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Was Michael Jackson a Transsexual?

Was Michael Jackson transsexual? Anon.

Well it might explain a lot if he was. According to biographers, new evidence is coming out that he engaged in sexual relationships with men, so it is quite possible that Jackson was homosexual. If he ever spoke to anyone in regards to realignment surgery -- in other words, about getting a sex change -- that may eventually come out. Until then, there's no way to know for certain. Jackson's increasing "feminization" may have been part theatrical, part stereotypically gay, part glamour -- or it may have been that he genuinely felt he was a woman in a man's body. So Jackson may well have been an unacknowledged transsexual. If he was gay, he was certainly not out of the closet, and was probably plagued with issues of self-hatred. I doubt if he would have felt much better about himself if he were transsexual. All of his surgeries and cosmetic changes (and cosmetics) made him kind of edgy, but apparently he was only willing to go so far. Raised in an environment where people just didn't talk about such subjects as homosexuality [romantic and physical attraction towards your own sex] and transsexualism [being a different gender than the one you were biologically born into], Jackson was probably quite confused.

In any case, it is doubtful that (especially during his most successful periods) he would have come out as either gay or transsexual for fear that he would lose his fan base.

Had he lived, who knows how he might have identified in the future?

Artistic Gay Guys

Why are gay men more artistic? -- just asking. Anon.

Just telling -- we aren't more artistic; it's another stereotype. While personally I think it would be a big plus for the gay male community if we were all great artists, the truth is we're a very diverse bunch of guys. If gay men were more artistic than straight men -- and some people in and out of the gay community really believe this -- that would mean that most actors, dancers, painters, symphony musicians, opera singers and so on would be gay. But although there are certainly gay men in all of those fields, there are plenty of heterosexual men as well. I really don't think there's a correlation between sexual orientation and artistic ability.

In certain industries, such as fashion and haircutting, the gay men at least seem to be a little on the stereotypical side, which may be why they've become associated with those industries. But surely there are less obvious gay men in those industries as well, not to mention heterosexual guys. Heterosexual fashion designers may seem like an oxymoron, but I've no doubt they exist.

People in the arts were once looked down upon (and in some cases still are) as being immoral, especially actors. So people found it easy to believe that actors tended to be gay, because gays were supposedly immoral. Also, some gay men -- who were outsiders -- weren't so hung up on being involved in professions that weren't considered "manly" enough. Think of all the actors even today who drive race cars because they think acting isn't a macho enough career for a guy. Talk about being insecure!

Of course I know gay men who are artists and who appreciate different forms of art, music, culture etc. But I also know a great many gay men who are not only not artistic, but who have no great appreciation of, or particular interest in, the arts.

In other words, while some gay men want to go to the opera, others would just as soon see the latest installment of Friday the 13th. [Or watch or play in a football game.]

And some, like me, enjoy both.

The Downlow

Can you explain to me something about the "downlow" or "lowdown" or whatever it's called. Something to do with closeted men who are gay or bisexual. Is this just in the black community? I'm a straight woman but I'm curious about this phenomenon. Anon.

The downlow is an expression first used in and about the African-American community -- popularized by a major article in the Sunday New York Times Magazine some years ago -- but it's a situation that occurs within all ethnic backgrounds. Someone on the downlow is a person who is publicly straight but privately homosexual or bisexual, engaging in homosexual acts and occasionally relationships on the sly. Generally we're talking about men married to women who regularly engage in sex with other men. Despite this -- and because of the straight lifestyles they lead, not to mention the guilt and shame they feel -- most of these men think of themselves as being straight. They are not -- they are just in denial, suffering from internalized homophobia. Closet cases, in other words.

There is no reason to believe that this situation occurs more among black men than white, Asian, Latino etc. It also has to be said that in the African-American community there are many Out and Proud Gay Males. It is frequently said that this kind of situation develops more in male communities where machismo is king, but men of all ethnic backgrounds can fall prey to old-fashioned macho attitudes and the insecurities they engender. Some men on the downlow identify as bisexual, but think other men are just for sex and women are for relationships; in truth, their shame over their homosexuality would in all likelihood prevent them from developing a committed relationship with another male, or from recognizing in many cases that they are essentially homosexual.

Gay Liberation -- 99% of which is in the head -- is the antidote to the downlow.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

A Lover and His Friends

Hi, Dr. Bill, My partner and I have been together for over 2 years and I adore and love him very much. A few months ago, I decided to start coming out to NY for work, but we have a home in Seattle together w/2 cats. He travels quite a bit for work too. When we are home together, it seems that all he wants to do is stay in, make dinner, and watch tv. When I am gone, he is out almost every evening seeing friends, having dinner, movies, outdoor activities, and many other things that I've asked him to do before but he never has wanted to. I can't help but feel left out of it all and he thinks I'm "crazy" for feeling this way. His friends are always excited to see him and it seems he has something to do w/them every night...except when I'm in town. They'll call only to see him (w/out me) or wait til I leave. How do I overcome this feeling? Any advice would be so great! Thanks, Lonely in NY

I have to tell you that some people might wonder what the problem is if your lover just wants to be home alone with you when you're both in town. But I sense there's something more to it. Obviously it can't be that he's a homebody and you're a party boy because it seems that he goes out a lot -- just not with you. It could simply be that he'd rather spend time with you when you're both in the same city, and can see his friends when you're out of town. I mean, it would be worse if he was out with his friends every night even when you were in Seattle, leaving you home alone.

It does seem odd that you have never been out with him and his friends, almost as if he doesn't want you to meet them or vice versa. I presume that all of your information about his friends and his partying with them comes from your lover, so it could be that he's wildly exaggerating the good times he's having. There are two possibilities for why he may be doing this. A.) Some people need to have others think that they have loads of friends and are very popular, as it makes them somehow seem more desirable -- it increases their "market value." B.) New York is awfully far away from Seattle -- maybe your lover really doesn't like the fact that you're away in New York so much, and is hoping you'll come back permanently if you think he's having too much "fun" without you.

It's great to have quality time with your lover, but there are two things to consider. Is it really "quality" time or do you just sort of occupy the same space without there being any romance or good conversation (remember it's enough for some guys just to cuddle on the couch watching TV). And no matter how close two people may be, it's perfectly natural to want to go out sometime, hang out with friends, meet each other's friends, and so on.

The fact that you seem to have never met any of your lover's friends makes me wonder if, perhaps, he doesn't really have that many, or if most of them are bar acquaintances. [Frankly, it's hard to make really good, close friends, and most of the people we call friends are really just compatible acquaintances.] That may be why he hasn't suggested a double date with another couple or so on. And if that's the case he's going to need your friendship even more. Lovers should be each other's best friends, but of course they should go beyond that and be real lovers as well.

I would suggest insisting one night when you're both in town that you feel like going out and head for a bar -- with or without him. Hopefully he'll go along with you, and you may finally meet -- if not close friends -- at least some of the people he hangs out with. He may not be going out half as much as he says he does, or he may go out only because he is lonely when you're in New York. Maybe he feels that now that the two of you are together, you don't have to date. But he's wrong about that, as it's important to keep the romantic element alive in any relationship.

Don't confront him as to how many friends he really has because he might be very sensitive on the subject. If it turns out that he really does have loads of friends, tell him that they're part of his life, as you are, and insist that you'd like to meet some of them. Tell him that you love him, and love spending time with him, but part of the whole fun of being a couple is that you can go out together, meet new people, have fun and laughs, without being alone as some guys are [some people can handle this and make new friends easily; others are just lonely and miserable]. What's the point of being a couple if you can't do things together? Isn't that why so many people want to be part of a couple? Tell him having a lover doesn't mean you just stop doing things outside the home -- what fun is that?

If he comes to realize that, while you enjoy your evenings in, a full relationship should include intermingling with other people and sharing activities outside the home, hopefully he'll understand that there is a great joy in going out with your partner and sharing with him all the wonderful things that life has to offer.

Switching Gender

I'm sure that most transsexuals are really transsexuals, but have there ever been cases where someone who was not transsexual wanted a sex change for some other reason? Is Cher's daughter -- or son -- the former Chastity, a true transsexual or a lesbian who for some reason decided she'd prefer to be a man? Confused Connie.

Transsexualism is very different from homosexuality and I won't pretend to be an expert on the subject, although a little googling will bring you to web sites where you can find more information on it. Based on conversations I have had with Trans People I would say that most people who identify as transsexual and undergo realignment surgery are truly transsexual, because -- while the process may be "easier" than it once was -- it's still not exactly a walk in the park. On the other hand, people contemplating a sex-change are advised to speak to professionals who can not only help determine if they really are transsexual, but if realigning physically to another gender will still be the right choice for them. Sometimes it is, sometimes it isn't.

There have been cases of people who have been advised for one reason or another not to undergo realignment, and they go through the procedures anyway, going underground to get the needed drugs and hormones. I don't have to say what a bad idea that is.

I have no doubt that there have been a few cases where people who were not genuinely transsexual may have wanted to change their sex. Not knowing Chastity or Chazz, I can't say for certain what's the deal in this case. S/he would not be the first person who identified as lesbian and then realized she was or at least identified as (more or less) a straight male in a female body. It works in reverse for men who identity as homosexual until they come to realize they are heterosexual females stuck in a male body. Have there been cases where a guy is so horrified at the thought of being homosexual that he'd rather transform into a hetero female? Sadly, I have no doubt that this has happened, particularly years ago, but I believe it's very, very rare. Internalized homophobia carried to the nth degree.

There are drag queens whose lives dressed up as women seem much more real to them than the time they spend in "regular" male clothing. Are these gay transvestites unacknowledged transsexuals? Perhaps. Yet some get angry at the suggestion that they are not, deep down, guys after all. Others may have such a strong suggestion or fantasy that they are women at heart -- although not in the same way that a transsexual does -- that they might desire a sex-change to become fully female. An interesting question is -- if it's all a state of mind anyway -- are they transsexuals regardless of how they view themselves?

Most people make changes to improve their lives and become happier. If this works for Cher's daughter, all the better. if she is fooling herself, however, about who or what she really is, then it may not be a wise decision for her to make the switch.

There have always been people who have said "I wish I were a man" or "I wish I were a woman" but they shouldn't be confused with true transsexuals. Still, with the increasing acceptance and frequency of sex-change operations -- and the politically correct need some people have not to question anyone as to their orientation -- it is not entirely unlikely that some of these people will slip through the cracks. But they are definitely in a very small minority.

A final note: Most lesbians are perfectly happy being female, as most gay men are perfectly happy just being guys.

Weighty Matters

Why are lesbians disproportionately overweight compared to straight women? I have no evidence of this but in my experience it seems to be true. Anon,

Yikes -- talk about stereotyping! I don't know about your experience but I've seen and met lesbians of all shapes and sizes and have not seen any indication that most are overweight as compared to heterosexual women. As well, the "butch" stereotype only accounts for a small percentage of gay women. As I've said many times, the gay community is not only very diverse, but most gay people -- male and female -- do not conform to stereotypes, be they "nelly queens" or "butch, heavyset lesbians." These people exist, of course, and are entitled to as much respect as anyone else, but they are hardly the whole community.

I think many people, gay and straight, have trouble getting past stereotypes because A.) they are unaware of how really large (and I'm not referring to weight, LOL) the gay community is and B.) they see gay people as all resembling themselves [if they're gay] or the couple of gay friends they may have [if they're not].

Gay people may have weight issues, but no more so than the rest of the population.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Gay Pride 2009

I'll be answering questions in the next couple of days, but today is GAY PRIDE SUNDAY 2009 in my home town, New York City!

Hope everyone has a great day, a great march, and parties until the wee hours!

Thanks to everyone who has sent in questions, as well as comments and emails of support! You're great!


Thursday, June 18, 2009

Can You Tell if a Guy is Gay?

I really need help. I am a straight female who is trying to figure out if the guy I am dating might be possibly gay or bi? I went out on a couple of dates with a really nice, cute, tall and lovely guy. A very hard combination to find. We connect on so many levels and it’s funny we have so much in common, from best and worst food to point of view on life. However, there is a slight problem, or so I think. At times, I feel he is gay, or bi? I don’t know why, I mean I asked if he is bi and he said no. But, he mentioned how his father disapproved of gay people. I have been trying to check out if he looks at other guys, but it’s been a couple of dates so it’s too soon. The reason I have a slight feeling he might be bi or gay is that at times he acts and makes faces which are very much different than what I have observed straight men to do. I really hate generalizing and I hope I don’t offend anyone, I am just trying to describe the situation and how I perceive it. I have observed a couple of times during each date his gestures and facial expressions are different than the straight men I know and have dated. I have a lot of feminine straight men friends, but he is different, or so I think. But those times are a few. Could he be acting (faking) straight? I mean he is 29, shouldn't he already know if he is attracted to men or both sexes? Am I paranoid? I think during our 3rd date something about gay culture came up and I almost asked him the big question in a very humorous and relaxed kind of way and he seemed like he was offended. But then why when I talk about guys, and he says, “Well, I don’t know I haven’t dated a guy,” it seems like he is trying to reassure me. How on earth do I find out if a guy is gay or bi if he is hiding it? I know this is a weird question, but please help. Straight Gal Needs Help.

It's not a weird question -- it's one that quite a few straight women wrestle with these days. The difficult truth is that it can almost be impossible to tell if someone is gay/bi or not. To begin with, let's get certain things out of the way. You seem to be aware that straight men can sometimes come off as a little feminine/effeminate, and you're probably aware that the vast majority of gay men are not only not effeminate but don't conform to the usual stereotypes [not to suggest that there aren't a certain percentage who do]. When some people say they can always tell if a guy is gay, it's generally because they think in terms of stereotypes.

Now let's look at the "evidence" you have for thinking this guy might be gay. which is not that he seems a bit feminine but that he makes odd faces and certain gestures, which you say are different from that of straight guys, including straight guys who are a bit feminine. I'm not certain if you're implying this guy is out and out girlish, or perhaps a bit nerdy, or something that you don't necessarily associate with homosexuality but you definitely don't associate with heterosexuality. But remember that straight guys come in all shapes and sizes and what-not just as gay men do. There are macho, uncouth baseball loving straight guys, and cultured well-dressed straight men who prefer the symphony to sports.

I remember having a friend who used to giggle and crinkle his nose in a way that I thought of as girlish. Was he gay? Who knows? I never had sex with him, and in those early days I wasn't about to ask him. He could have been, but there's also a good chance that he wasn't and simply picked up certain mannerisms from female relatives he was close to.

Is it possible that the thing that's getting on your nerves is that you think, to bowdlerize Shakespeare, that "he doth protest too much?" Perhaps he takes too many opportunities to deny homosexual feelings, whereas a straight guy wouldn't bother. But that may not mean he's gay -- he might just be very insecure.

Even at 29 there are gay/bi men who are conflicted over their sexuality. He would probably know if he's attracted to men, but due to what we call internalized homophobia -- an inability to accept one's sexual orientation -- he might repress these feelings or be in serious self-denial over them. I have known straight men who laugh about the fact that some people think they're gay for one reason or another -- it's no big problem for them -- but obviously these men are not insecure. Some men who can't accept their sexuality not only fake being straight but practically convince themselves that they are. To add to the confusion, there are even men who go out on a regular basis seeking male sex partners, but because they live straight lives with wives and children identify as heterosexual. They have sex with men because they're gay/bi, but their internalized homophobia not only keeps them in the closet but prevents them from facing the truth about themselves.

[Now do you see how difficult it is to figure out someone's sexual orientation?]

But getting back to the guy you're dating. Clearly there is something about him that is troubling you. Maybe it's the way he says it when he says he isn't bi -- for some reason you're not buying it [no pun intended]. Maybe he says things in a way that reminds you subconsciously of a gay guy you know or once knew. Maybe it's just paranoia or the guy seems so perfect for you that you're just convinced that there's got to be something "wrong."

Modern-day thinking about bisexuality [not that I agree with all of it] suggests that a genuinely bisexual man can have a real relationship with a woman, but that woman might always worry if the guy is really bi or just kidding himself, or if his attraction to women, real as it may be, can't compare to his feelings for other guys. And of course, I don't have to tell you how unrealistic mixed marriages can be between gay men and straight women.

I get that you're very much into this guy, and need to find out what's what before you get in too deep. The only advice I can give you is to keep on dating him, and see what happens. If he's struggling to accept himself and come out, he may eventually do so, hopefully before you're picking out china patterns.

Or he may turn out to be just a perfectly nice straight guy. They do exist. Straight men who have positive attitudes toward women and themselves, and aren't "macho meatheads." [Conversely, I have met gay guys who are "macho meatheads." You never know.]

I'm rootin' for ya!