Monday, January 31, 2011

Women and Gay Men

One thing has become clear to me since I started this blog.

Whether they think of themselves as gay, bi or straight, there are still a lot of guys in the closet and who are in denial of their true sexuality.

And there are a great number of women who either have gay boyfriends or even husbands, or are afraid that they do. [I rarely hear from men who are afraid their wives or girlfriends are lesbians.]

It would be all too easy to dismiss these letters out of hand, but I recognize that these women are confused -- it's their lives and futures they're worried about. No one wants to invest a lot of time in a relationship only to discover that it's a sham. Some women are deeply conflicted because on one hand they are in love and want to have happy, healthy marriages, but on the other, they don't want a possibly gay partner to be repressed and miserable and in the closet.

Below are a sample of some of the letters. Some of the situations are very similar, and others have their own unique aspects.

Gal with Gay Boyfriend?

I am a straight female and a little confused about my boyfriend's orientation. A week ago he told me his friend (they are good friends) slept over and his sister said to him, " I wouldn't be surprised if you and your friend got married." Yesterday I got a message from his friend saying that '"your boyfriend may be secretly gay." At school one time I saw them hugging after I headed to class and thought it was a joke. I have tried to ask him a few times and his response was a sad face T_T and that I am thinking silly things. What other things can I do ?

Hugging and sleepovers and phone messages don't necessarily add up to a gay relationship. It's possible that these people are having fun with your fears. Then, it's also possible that your boyfriend may be attracted to other men. [For now we won't get into gay or bi.]

When he's in a receptive mood, you can simply start a conversation on homosexuality, gay friends, gay marriage -- something along those lines. The important thing is to get the discussion started. You can slowly work your way into his sexuality, but you must make it clear that you are not accusing him of anything, and that you think being gay is okay [which I hope you do]. The important thing is to keep him from getting defensive.

As his girlfriend, you certainly have a right to know if there's something going on between him and this male friend of his. It's not a question of being judgmental, but of knowing exactly where you stand and what kind of future you can realistically expect with him. You have a right to ask what's up.

Good Luck!

Another Gal with a Gay Boyfriend?

I have been with my boyfriend for about a year and a half now, and things seem to be a bit rough recently. My boyfriend, as our relationship progressed, has become very emotional
and gets angry very easily. If things don't go his way, he either turns away like a girl would or whines until things change. I have been putting up with it for a while, and sat down with my mom and told her. She asked me if maybe he was confused, as in sexually. And things
began to click. He always cares about his appearance, he has a strange love for shoes (male shoes however, air jordans) but has purple and gold shoes in his collection. He has feminine gestures, he sings always falsetto (says he's joking) and is very very self-conscious. He says
he can't be like he is around me in front of people. He's always asking me if i love him and if I care about him, which I do. He also will get upset if I don't kiss him right when I see him, and cuddles with me like he is the girl. Our sexual past was never rough, but we
don't have sex anymore on my call. I have a gay cousin who is in his late 20s who said he could tell he was gay from the moment he met him, a lot of my family agreed. I've been pushing myself away because of the arguing but the pain of him possibly being gay is devastating. How may I approach him in a way that won't offend him? I really need to know if this relationship is real anymore. If necessary to know, we are both freshman in college. I've known him my entire life and he was my first boyfriend in 8th grade. I've dated a
couple guys in between our relationship, I am his only girlfriend. His father is in the military and his mother strongly opposes gays from the bible standards, which I could see as a road block for him. I appreciate what you do, and hope to hear from you. I'm really upset
and confused :/ Thank you.

It is certainly possible that -- if your boyfriend is gay -- his upbringing might make him uncomfortable with his sexuality, and it is also true that people come to a realization/acceptance of their gayness at different ages. While many people identify as gay long before they get to college, that is not always the case.

However, your reasons for thinking he's gay sort of add up to a mass of stereotypes. There are certainly heterosexual men who "turn away and whine" and who like to cuddle, and plenty of gay men who don't! Singing falsetto isn't a sign of homosexuality, either, nor is being self-conscious. Some men -- straight or gay -- are emotional or dramatic, and that's no real clue to sexual orientation, either. Neither is taking pride in your appearance. I think you've seen too many episodes of Will and Grace.

Even the feminine gestures you refer to aren't necessarily a sign of homosexuality, as I have met straight guys who are a bit feminine in some ways but are still, apparently, straight, (just as most of the gay men I've met aren't especially feminine). Of course there are "queens" or "femmes" in the gay male community who are quite stereotypical in their behavior, but believe me they are actually in the minority even if they tend to "stand out" a little more.

And so he wants a kiss immediately when he sees you. That makes him gay?

Then there's the fondness for shoes [what no Broadway musicals?]. If you catch him wearing your high heels you might have to worry, but even then it's more likely he's a transvestite than a gay guy. [Gay men generally have no interest in dressing in drag]. Maybe he has a foot fetish.

All kidding aside, the only red flag I really get here is possibly the fact that your gay cousin is certain he's gay. But he could still be mistaken.

If you caught him looking at gay porn on his laptop, that might be something. It would certainly be more of a eyebrow raiser than his purple and gold shoes, albeit that might be a little strange.

Click here for my post on Asking Your Boyfriend If He's Gay, which you might find helpful.

It's possible that the problem isn't that your boyfriend is gay, but that he's a control freak, judging from the way he sulks when he doesn't get his own way. It's also possible that you've got a somewhat romantic and eccentric straight guy on your hands.


Gal with Gay Hubby Part 2

The following is from the young lady who submitted the question that was posted under Women with Gay Husband.

I wanted to thank you for helping me figure out some stuff about my husband. Inadvertently though it may be. [Thanks!] You mentioned that he is essentially going back in the closet by being with me. I thought that was totally crazy but upon talking to him we both realized it was totally true. He had two sides of himself, his gay side with his attraction for men and his gay friends and all that, and the side that was attracted to me, married to me and existed with people that know us as a couple. I did not realize how not integrated these two sides of him were. He was totally in the closet to his gay friends about his attraction for me (and yes he certainly is attracted to me) and also very uncomfortable admitting his gay feelings around our straight friends. So he is seeing a counselor on his own and learning to be honest with himself and with me about his feelings. We are way happier now than we have been in years (although we have never been unhappy, just a little less amazing) and all it took was him admitting his feelings. I didn’t know that he thought being married to me meant he "shouldn’t” be attracted to guys anymore. I would never want to change that. Now if he sees a guy he thinks is hot, he says so, to his co-workers, to me, whatever. And he is feeling way more comfortable with himself and we are having way better sex. Like we did in the beginning of our relationship. Both of us have to disagree with you on one thing though. Why do you not believe in bisexuality? Both my husband and I are attracted to both sexes. I consider myself more on the straight side since I am not emotionally attracted to women, and he considered himself more gay because he wasn’t normally sexually attracted to women. But he is to me and that’s what matters. So by definition I think we are both Bi. (TMI Warning: seriously, do gay guys get hard when they see a naked woman? Do gay guys like eating pussy?There has got to be some grey area here, don’t you think?) I am hoping that instead of denying any part of himself, he can begin to experience himself more fully. If that means he ends up leaving me for a guy, so be it. I wouldn’t want to keep him if he wasn’t truly happy. But he says he has been with lots of guys and a few girls and the point is he wants to be with me. I have no choice but to believe him and hope he is being truly honest. Like you said, only time will tell. I am still interested if you have any thoughts or ideas on how we can deal with our peculiar challenges.

I have never said that I "don't believe" in bisexuality. I won't speak for women, but I have almost never encountered a man who identified as bisexual who didn't say that his preference was men [which is even the case with your husband], and on the one or two occasions they didn't admit that I got the distinct impression they were lying. If you prefer your own sex, to me that means you're gay. I've met men with wives who call themselves bi but virtually every time they have extra-marital sex it's with another guy. That's not bi, that's gay.

The problem with any discussion of bisexuality is that when it comes to gay and straight there isn't an equal playing field. That is, no one gives a hoot if you're straight or in a hetero relationship, but unfortunately many people do care if you're gay or in a homosexual relationship. The battle for equality for gays -- including marriage equality -- has not yet been won, and in other countries being homosexual is still an offense punishable by death. Then we have the downLow and closet cases and gay teens committing suicide. Not twenty years ago but today. So you'll have to forgive me if it sometimes seems to me that in some cases "bisexuality" has become a kind of phony identity for people who are essentially gay or lesbian but just can't deal with that reality, as if the "bi" label is some kind of safety net. After all, once you fully open the closet door there's no way you can close it again. This doesn't mean that some people aren't genuinely bisexual, but my definition of that might be quite different from yours and others. But I'll save that for another post. [For the record I thought of myself as bisexual when I was in my early twenties.]

Gay men do sometimes get involved in hetero sex scenes -- sometimes drunken fooling around, sometimes sex for the sake of sex, sometimes a blow job feels good no matter what sex is giving it to you. This may very well be the gray area you're talking about. However, I will admit that human sexuality and psychology can be certainly be complex, so I wouldn't necessarily discount anything, although I reserve the right to be a doubting Thomas.

Gay men sometimes marry women. Some gay men simply feel more comfortable in straight relationships for any number of reasons. A study of this syndrome [although in these cases the wives did not know there husbands were attracted to men] indicated that these men suffered from self-esteem issues and had a terror of "bucking the system" [i.e. being unconventional]. Sadly, even in this day and age some men have a [often unconscious] craving for respectability and to them gay relationships are somehow not respectable. In other words, they can have sex with men, but are unable to have a relationship with another man. Hence the wife. And the bisexual label allows them to claim/feel that it's a real relationship [which in terms of friendship and caring it may well be]. [Even if a man is genuinely bisexual, say equally attracted to both sexes, his choosing a female partner/straight lifestyle might be indicative of the same syndrome.]

The gay/bi man in a straight relationship who is openly gay/bi isn't completely new, but it is relatively unique compared to the closet queen syndrome I mentioned above, and it does, as you've noted, have its own unique challenges [though at least you can get married].

But sheesh, give me a break here. I started this blog to advise people on homosexuality and gay issues, and to help people in gay relationships, not to help a gay guy [remember men are his preference] who's in a straight relationship! I've never denied that I think gay men should be with men. Of course your husband has the right to do whatever he wants with his life -- get married to a woman, become an ex-gay [Lord save us!], be openly bi, whatever, but you''ll have to understand that his situation is not something I can necessarily relate to. Also, never having heard his side of the story, I'm really not comfortable in advising him in absentia.