I am a straight woman and I think my boyfriend is gay. Here are the reasons [assorted]. I am afraid to come right out and ask him. Can you help me? Numerous women.
I frequently hear from women who think that their boyfriends or even husbands might be gay. I've decided to post a few pointers for women in this situation.
1.) Just because your boyfriend likes the arts, musical theater, etc., doesn't make him gay. Just as there are countless gay men who couldn't care less about Broadway musicals, opera, or Judy Garland, there are many heterosexual men who are either artists themselves or are fans of the performing arts, even -- yes -- musicals.
2.) Your boyfriend isn't necessarily gay just because he's a little "soft" or even "girlish" or non-macho in some way. Just as the vast majority of gay men are actually masculine, there are cases of heterosexual men who are somewhat effeminate. Also being bad in bed is not a prerequisite for being gay. Some honest-to-goodness straight guys are lousy or inexperienced lovers, and there are gay men who are able to satisfy a woman [by using fantasy if nothing else].
3.) When straight people talk of having "gaydar" they usually mean that they pick up on stereotypical behavior -- which is hardly a feat. Many gay people have a more advanced type "gaydar" that is not always tangible or easy to explain. Just because the man in your life rings a few "stereotype" bells doesn't make him gay.
4.) If he supports gay rights, gay marriage, doesn't seem to have homophobic attitudes, this just may make him an open-minded secure straight guy. Consider yourself lucky.
5.) Here are some red flags:
a.) He visits gay porn or dating sites on a regular basis and has a profile on a gay dating/sex site.
b.) He sends or receives sex-oriented email from other men.
c.) He is virulently homophobic, almost obsessively so, always going on about "fags" and the like as if he's trying to cover up something. [He may be a repressed homosexual.]
d.) When you're out to dinner he spends more time looking at the handsome waiter than he does at you. Ogles good-looking guys at parties.
e.) He admits to having had homosexual relations -- or relationships -- in the past, but says he is "all over that" or that it is "no big deal." Homosexuality is not some "condition" that just goes away. This fellow may be suffering from self-hatred, trying to use you to become an "ex-gay" [which never works], or is flat out using you for a beard.
There was a time when I would have said, "if you think your boyfriend is gay he probably is" but sometimes women can jump the gun. [Bisexual advocates insist some men are genuinely bisexual, but if in their heart of hearts -- and gonads -- their preference is men, then to all intents and purposes they're gay.] One thing I can say with certainty is that if a man has had sex with men in the past, he ain't straight. Aside from being in prison and under highly unusual circumstances, straight men do not have sex with men, no matter what you've heard.
If you are convinced your boyfriend is gay, sit down and have a talk with him. It takes a very special person to help someone she loves comes out of the closet, knowing that it may forever end their romantic relationship. Remember not to "accuse" someone of being gay -- it's not criminal to be gay or even in the closet. You can't just tell someone they're gay, especially if they are repressed or deeply closeted and ashamed. But sometimes an honest discussion can lead to a positive result.
And for women who are sure that their husbands are gay, you can find support at the Straight Spouse Network.