Thursday, August 30, 2007
Straight, With an Asterick
It’s acceptable—even a little chic—for straight women to have a gay ﬂing or two. But it’s a whole other story when otherwise straight men do it.
Same-sex experimentation among straight women is trendier than ponchos these days. The L Word is a mainstream hit, and if you go to any nightclub around three in the morning, you’ll see two pink-cheeked girls in a banquette, sucking face, often as their boyfriends watch. Gay experimentation for straight men is becoming more popular, too, even if you don’t see it in a dark corner at Vento.
I remember as a teenager sneaking into a adult film movie theatre in 1979 with my best friend. I recall scenes showing two women kissing and having sex naively thinking that next there would be a scene with two men kissing and having sex. I was a gay teenager so it was my hope that this would be shown. I remember being disappointed and confused as to why they would show two women but not two men.
Now I understand as a psychotherapist that the movies are made for straight men to enjoy, not for women or gay men.
However, today there are still very few porno movies featuring two men unless they are specifically geared toward gay men.
I agree with Sohn when she goes onto explain about straight men who have sex with men:
Those who experiment tend to do it covertly, and often stop short of intercourse. Such men maintain that they are not gay or even bisexual, just sexually progressive. And though in some cases this may just be denial, many say their interest in men comes from their frustration in the role limitations of straight sex.
Sexism and patriarchy block the scenes of two guys going at it in a heterosexual porn movie. And the bottom line is that it won't sell! Straight men will not purchase DVD's with two men inserted having sex with each other.
Or will they?
Could it be that it is women who are blocking the idea of two men being together as much as men?
Sohn reports this in her article:
Jonny, a 32-year-old Web designer, also describes himself as straight, though he’s had several dozen same-sex experiences. “I’ve slept with enough men to know that I’m not gay,” he tells me over dinner at Café Orlin as I cough on my tea. “But I like the idea of playing with sex roles and the way I am the object of affection with men, instead of the typical hetero male sexual aggressor.” He says he’s sure he’s straight because he’s always the submissive, he doesn’t find men physically attractive, and “I have 30 gigabytes of porn on my hard drive and it’s all women.” If it weren’t for the several dozen men he’s hooked up with, this might sound more convincing.
He, too, has had bad luck with women when he’s tried to talk about it, except for one woman who listened intently and then had a threesome with him. He sees himself settling down with a woman someday, but she would have to be someone who is okay with bending the rules. “I wouldn’t be happy with a woman who only wanted to play one role.”
I hope that the media coverage of Larry Craig, being on the Downlow and situations like Jim McGreevey will stop forcing men who enjoy having sex with men to have to keep a straight face.
Women need to start asking their male partners about sexual interest and fantasies about being sexual with men. Men need to feel safe to tell women about their sexual interests. Both need to stop being threatened that it will ruin their relationship. Too often it is just a sexual fantasy, interest and/or fetish.
Other times it is about a closeted gay man which of course does threaten the marriage. But, better to know this earlier in the relationship and marriage than down the line with children involved and lives ruined because our society makes it impossible for men to talk about interests in having sex with other men.
The Larry Craig situation is bringing this into light through an article in the Washingtonpost.com article:
Tapping Into The Secrets Of the Stall
Experts Say Anonymous Sex In Public Places Is A Compulsive Behavior
By Lynne Duke and DeNeen L. Brown Washington Post Staff Writers
Thursday, August 30, 2007
Here are excerpts from this article that Straight Guise addresses:
Therapists also hear plenty about this world in the torment of their patients -- both married and gay men and those who eschew the word "gay" and describe themselves as "men who have sex with other men."
Whatever they call themselves, they are often driven by a craving, much like that which drives a drug addict, said Fred Berlin of the National Institute for the Study, Prevention and Treatment of Sexual Trauma at Johns Hopkins University.
"We use words like 'pervert' and we just demean and make very hard judgments," Berlin said. "What I found is that many of these people are hardworking and struggling hard to be in control. . . . Anybody can have a compulsion, whether it's a sexual compulsion or some other compulsion. That doesn't necessarily mean it's a measure of their character. Their character is something different."
And expert Eli Coleman who is a leading authority on sexual compulsivity had this to say:
"Some people are really compulsively driven to seek sex frequently, anonymously," says Eli Coleman, director of the human sexuality program at the University of Minnesota Medical School. They are often driven by the need to reduce anxiety and regulate their mood, to feel good temporarily, Coleman says.
"But oftentimes the behavior only gives short-term relief, and because of its furtive nature, they feel guilty and shameful and [tell themselves] they're not going to do it ever again, and then they're back out there."
An excellent resource on this topic is Patrick Carnes pioneering book, Out of the Shadows, on the topic, Rob Weiss' book for gay men and sexual addiction, Cruise Control, and I have a chapter about gay men and sexual addiction in my book, 10 Smart Things Gay Men Can Do To Improve Their Lives.
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
…A good majority of these men do have families. And that’s been a little bit shocking to us. You would think that it would be more of a gay issue. But overwhelmingly more and more we’re seeing that these are people with families.
Some of those arrested may qualify as closeted queers, but it’s certainly likely not all of them are motivated solely by shame. They may have sex with men, but it doesn’t make these men “gay”.
The article addresses a phenomenon of men hooking up for sex in bathrooms that has been going on since the 1960's.
Public places like men's restrooms, in airports and train stations, truck stops, university libraries and parks, have long been places where gay and bisexual men, particularly those in the closet, congregate in order to meet for anonymous sex.
Over time, people familiar with cruising told ABCNEWS.com, gay men began using a codified system of signals to indicate to others that they were interested in sex. In an effort to curb lewd acts in public — or as some gays argue, in an effort to persecute gay men — undercover police began sting operations in places known for sex soliciting and employed the same codes.
"Tapping of the foot is pretty standard for men who cruise in toilets," said Keith Griffith, owner of Cruisingforsex.com, (WARNING! This is a sexually explicit site before clicking be aware of that), a Web site on which visitors post locations popular with men looking for anonymous sex.
"They will usually go to the stall at the far end of the strip of toilets. They will see each other and usually decide to go someplace else. The vast majority have no interest in being seen. They may be meeting in public locations, but they will be as discreet as possible," Griffith said.
Cruising areas traditionally have been those parts of town "women and children are told to avoid," but through word of mouth, bathrooms at places like Wal-Mart or Home Depot can become cruising locales, he said.
In the book, Tearoom Trade, by Laud Humphreys, he talked about men cruising for sex in public bathrooms identifying the exact "foot tapping" ritual for "gay men" to meet each other.
With many other options available for gay men to meet each other, Gershen Kaufman, a professor emeritus of psychology at Michigan State University and author of the book "Coming Out of Shame," said public cruising is practiced mainly by deeply closeted men. "Cruisers are not sex offenders. They are deeply, deeply closeted. There is a lot of self-hatred and shame and they can't allow themselves to come to terms with their sexuality. There is also the added element of danger and being discovered," he said.
Over the years, like Kaufman points out, there are plenty of other ways gay men can meet and times have changed to being more accepting and open, gay men have reduced bathroom activities.
The men who are arrested in "bag a fag" operations (a name used by Detroit police who raid bathrooms) and come to my practice for therapy are closeted gay men--men who do not identify as gay--and are straight men looking for fast and easy sexual release for reasons described here.
I am not condoning this behavior. I agree it is not okay to have public sex. However, calling it gay rather than just male behavior is prejudice against a whole group of folks who are not anymore or less involved as their straight counterparts.
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
If you have not heard by now Senator Larry Craig (R-Idaho) was arrested in June at a Minnesota airport by a plainclothes police officer investigating lewd conduct complaints in a men’s public restroom.
An associated press writer Todd Dvorak writer writes this:
Why does the act of men having sex with men have to be labeled immediately as gay sex?
Gay is an identity not a behavior. To be a gay man describes a sexual orientation characterized by lasting aesthetic attraction, romantic love, or sexual attraction exclusively for others of the same sex or gender. To be gay man means that his thoughts, fantasies and behavior are in aligned. It is an identity based on affectional, emotional, spiritual, psychological and sexual feelings exclusively or mostly to men. Men who have sex with men in public places are not all gay or even bisexual.
Straight people do not want to believe that men can seek and have sex with other men unless he is gay or bisexual. They immediately dismiss all the reasons that are not about homosexuality because to believe otherwise means that any man is "at risk" for having sex with other men. This is intolerable in the homophobic times in which we live to most non-gay people.
But why are gays so quick to label Craig as gay? Perhaps Andrew Sullivan understands best when he writes:Craig seems to have made a habit of voting against laws that would secure the rights of gay men and lesbians. In addition to supporting the Constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, he voted against a bill that would have banned job discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, against expanding the definition of hate crimes to include sexual orientation, and was rated zero by the Human Rights Campaign in each of the last three Congresses (1, 2, 3; all pdf.) I truly can't imagine what it would be like -- how little self-respect a person would have to have -- to amass that sort of voting record while cruising for gay sex in airport restrooms.
We want to believe that only a self-loathing closeted homosexual would do this sort of thing. This would help make sense as to why someone would vote against gays and be so prejudice.
And this might be true.
But it also might be true that Craig struggles with sexual compulsions, desires and interest in men that have nothing to do with a closeted gay identity. He may be fighting with concerns that he is gay and does not want to be. He might believe the popular press that if he is sexual with men he is gay when he knows he is not.
Perhaps if there was room for men to explore their homosexual interests and desires without having to label it, there would be little to no public restroom sex and few to no people fighting with themselves about sex sex behavior and a gay sexual identity
There needs to be room for other opinions than simply he is gay!
The Nation Mon Aug 27, 8:13 PM ET by Richard Kim
The Nation -- What's up with Republican politicos getting arrested by undercover cops for soliciting sex in public restrooms? First, Florida state representative Bob Allen, formerly John McCain's state campaign co-chair, was arrested in July after he offered a police officer $20 for the privilege of performing oral sex. And today, news broke that back in June, Senator Larry Craig (R-Idaho), long the subject of gay rumors, was arrested in a Minnesota airport by a plainclothes cop investigating lewd conduct in the men's bathroom. Both men are married--to women. (See Max Blumenthal at Campaign Matters for more details.)
The author goes on to say this which I think is very important:
But I wonder if the GOP's burgeoning "bathroom problem" isn't reflective of something larger than just a bunch of conservative dudes who couldn't come out of the closet. There's something palpably sad to me about what happened to Allen and Craig too, something oddly touching about their misplaced faith in the fading world of secret, anonymous gay sex. That world--once found in bathrooms, parks, piers and adult bookstores; the furtive refuges of adventuresome queers, married men, the curious--has been swept away by so many police raids, privatization schemes, quality of life campaigns and internet dating services. But mostly, it's fallen away as gays have become increasingly integrated into the mainstream, and also, paradoxically, more marked than ever. "You're either gay or you're not" seems to be the equation.
Until someone like Craig, Allen, Mark Foley, Ted Haggard or Jim McGreevey shows up to ripple momentarily the waters of public discourse on sex. These guys have problems, no doubt. But we might also pause to wonder if there's some cultural knot that gay liberation--despite its original and best intentions--has left in place. At the very least the link between public power and domestic heterosexuality--with all the fetishistic displays of family life that entails--has yet to be completely severed. Just ask Rudy Guiliani, or Hillary Clinton! Moreover, that knot, perhaps best described as sexual propriety, is what fuels the moral campaigns against homosexuality that have become one of the Republican Party's identifying causes--loyally supported by the likes of Craig, Haggard, Foley, et. al.
It's also what leads Bob Allen to the stunning and revealing calculation that it would be better to be seen in the public eye as an avowed racist than as someone who likes to have sex with men sometimes.
The "something" this author is trying to understand is that these men are simply straight men have sex with other men for many reasons. Are some of these men gay and bisexual? Yes of course. But the truth is that so many are not and there needs to be room in our culture for that.
As a risk category, MSM are not limited to small self-identified and visible sub-populations, such as gay men and male sex workers. ‘MSM’ and ‘homosexual’ refer to different social identities. ‘MSM’ refers to the sexual relationships between men, whether or not they identify with same-sex sexual desire. ‘Homosexuality’, however, refers to more than the sexual relationship and may extend to broader relationships with the same sex, i.e. lifestyle, sexuality, etc.
In their assessment of the knowledge about the sexual networks and behaviours of men who have sex with men in Asia, Dowsett, Grierson and McNally observed that using MSM as a category does not always work. From the material they have reviewed there is not any clearly identifiable group of men who can be labelled MSM in any of the countries that they investigated.
“The literature reveals that there are no socially or self-defined groups of men that fit into an overarching category of MSM. What the review shows is that there are just men!! Fishermen, students, factory workers, military recruits, truck drivers, and men who sell sex, and so on: all these categories of men are to be found in the studies and programmes reviewed.”
There was no similar traits in all of the MSM population studied other than them being males, and engaging in sex with other men.
Monday, August 27, 2007
Resources for sexually abused men:
Author and Psychotherapist Richard Gartner
Author and Psychotherapist Mike Lew
Saturday, August 25, 2007
Teen Gets Jail For Hazing Incident
By CHRISTINE DEMPSEY The Hartford Courant
August 23, 2007
MANCHESTER - A former upperclassman in a Glastonbury program for out-of-state, gifted minority teens was sentenced to nine months in prison today for brutalizing freshmen during an ongoing hazing ritual...four upperclassmen at the program arrested last year on charges that they abused freshmen as part of an ongoing hazing ritual that included slapping, kicking and beatings with ping pong paddles. Some of the abuse was sexual...
Teen boys charged in Grant hazing incident
NIU official says no counselors were near vicinity of attack
Published on: Tuesday, July 31, 2007
Article by: Jami Knowles Web Reporter
Four male teenagers are facing charges stemming from an alleged hazing incident at Grant Towers Residence Hall.
Shortly before dinner on the night of July 8, two 14-year-old boys were attacked outside a laundry room during a summer wrestling camp.
The first boy had his hands bound by a belt and athletic cream rubbed on his chest. The second boy was held down and the cream was rubbed on his chest and genitals.
Coopersville teen gets probation for hazing baseball teammate
Investigators say the boy and four other members of Coopersville High School's junior varsity team slapped a teammate, rubbed his private areas, and put their body parts in his face.
These are ways straight men have sex with other men. Using violence, humiliation and sado-masochistic means to have sexualized contact with each other.
Some of the reasons men engage in this behavior is having been abused physically and sexually themselves, latent homosexual and bisexual feelings, homoerotic interest using "acceptable ways" to express those interests and anger at males in general.
Though only a partial list for this blog at this time, humiliation through sex, violence and feminizing are sadly societal acceptable ways for men to have sexual contact with another male without being labeled gay.
Thursday, August 23, 2007
Time Out New York / Issue 621 : August 22, 2007 - August 22, 2007
By Jamie Bufalino
Q: This question needs a lot of setup, so I hope you’ll bear with me. I’m a 28-year-old straight guy; my girlfriend and I (we live together) went out last weekend with another couple we’ve become friends with. We’d been drinking a lot, and before we called it a night the other couple invited us up for one last drink.
We were just sitting around talking, and of course the subject of sex came up and instantly changed the vibe in the room. We kept drinking and sharing sex stories and then the other couple started going at it—kissing, he was grabbing her boobs, she had her hand in his crotch.
My girlfriend and I looked at each other and decided to start going at it too. You can probably tell where this is going—yep, foursome! But an awkward foursome. At first, we were all just naked with our own significant others, but then the guy suggested we all go into the bedroom.
To make a long story short, my girlfriend and I had a quick discussion about it and laid some ground rules. I was okay with watching her get fucked by the other guy (as long as he wore a condom) and of course I was okay with her fooling around with the girl. She was cool with me fucking the other girl, but then she kind of laughed and said, “No guy-on-guy.”
Obviously, I wasn’t expecting or desiring any guy-on-guy, but in the middle of the four-way (while the girls were on top of each other), the guy grabbed my dick and started sucking it. I went with it, and there was hell to pay afterward.
I got called certain names, my sexuality was questioned.
We worked it out, but I’m left with some anger toward my girlfriend. What do you have to say about the whole situation?
Here is Jamie Bufalino's excellent answer:
A: Frankly, I think your girlfriend needs to grow up. Either she’s into being sexually open and adventurous or she’s not—she can’t have it both ways, and she can’t embrace it just for her and not you.
It’s pathetic and hypocritical enough that so many straight guys think that girl-on-girl sex is hot while being completely homophobic when it comes to guy-on-guy, so the world doesn’t need straight women exhibiting such stupidity as well.
It also annoys me that you gave her carte blanche to do whatever she wanted, and she repaid you by giving you restrictions. In the larger picture, what her actions reveal is that she’s got serious trust issues.
The idea that one homo-ish encounter (while she was in the room and having a homo-ish encounter of her own, no less) somehow means that you’re not the man she thought you were is ridiculous. She turned what could have been a fun sexfest into a self-conscious test of your devotion. Good for you for working through it, but since you’ve still got anger about the incident, you two need to hash things out again. I wouldn’t focus on the sex part—zero in on the trust problem.
Ask her why she felt the need to rein you in so much. Delve into what her fears are regarding the health, status and longevity of your relationship. The homo freak-out was merely a symptom of some underlying insecurity, so the best thing you can do is summon up compassion for her on that score and not take her suspiciousness as a personal affront.
Q. My husband of four years is driving me crazy about oral sex. I don’t like doing it and don’t want to. I think it is degrading and disgusting. He also wants to see me on “all fours” naked. This is also degrading to me. Any advice?
Brian's answer below:
A. Aside from doing it, you mean? Well, how about reading Joe Kort’s last comment above about trying to understand men's needs and desires and then making an effort?
You seem pretty quick to place limits on sex. No oral? No doggie style? Geez. Look, getting married does not mean you must accede to everything your spouse desires, but perhaps you should ask yourself why you think oral sex is disgusting and degrading. Religious teaching?
Brian then goes on to spotlight the work of Joe Beam who is a religious expert who preaches that if your husband wants to engage in certain sexual fantasies, acts and behaviors with you as his wife why is that humiliating and degrading?
While I do not agree with Beam's religious aspects--which are anti-gay amongst other things--or his politics (He has rubbed elbows with James Dobson and the late Jerry Falwell) I believe his sexual message is a good one for couples--gay or straight.
Can you give us some techniques for oral sex?
He does, and, using his hand and arm as props, describes it in detail (“…creating suction and warmth with your mouth, your tongue here…”) complete with sound effects.
Is mutual masturbation OK?
Which sex toys are good, and can we use them at all?
“I usually get the question this way,” Beam answers. “‘What does the Bible say about vibrators?”
“Can we use a vibrator? Sure you can if you want to.”
What can you do if your wife is having trouble reaching orgasm?
“Try having sex doggy-style and simultaneously masturbating.”
He offers another suggestion: “You’ve heard of the proverbial 69?” Some in the audience return blank stares. He stares back, open-mouthed, and gently mocks them. “Huh? Is that in Acts?”
Wife to husband: "Okay you go first."
Husband: "I have a fantasy of watching you have sex with a younger guy pleasing you until you scream in ecstasy."
Wife: (Angrily) "How could you think like that? Don't you have more respect for me?"
Husband: "It is not about disrespect it is just a fantasy. Even if we make it a reality it would not make me disrespect you it is just sex to me."
Wife: "Well I am no longer in the mood and I never want to hear hear you say that again."
I am not suggesting that women (or men) should be coerced or forced to have open relationships or do things that are against their will and humiliating. However, what I am saying is that spouses need to be able to talk about their sexual fantasies and desires without judgment and contempt and criticism.
Without being able to talk about this openly--especially for men--they are likely to be sneaky about getting their needs met another way through pornography, the internet, or another person.
Sexual discussions need to happen to keep a couple's sex lives going.
As a therapist I hear over and over from heterosexual men that they talk to their wives about sexual fantasies and desires only to be shamed, judged and silenced. Some of it is their own shame and embarrassment about their sexual desires and so many more are about women not being open to hearing their mate's sexuality.
Why is this?
Some marital experts say that for marriage to work in today's times men need to catch up emotionally to where their wives are. In other words, men are behind in learning emotional expression and language.
I agree with this.
However, as much as men need to catch up emotionally, women need to catch up sexually. It isn't fair for a spouse, (male or female) to say, "I won't engage in that sexual fantasy or act with you and you better not get it anywhere else!"
I understand that for many women society, religion, sexism, patriarchy and other factors have caused them to be sexually shut down, stunted and closeted to themselves. I say it is time for that to change and women to claim their sexuality with their male partners along side them and even with their male partners help.
Men need to allow for women's help to learn about attachment and emotionality as do women need to learn from men about sex and sexuality.
What do you think as readers?
Here is something to listen to on this very topic for men and women.
Sunday, August 19, 2007
Boys don’t have the same rites of passage for their masculinity. When we grow pubic hair and start getting erections, no one talks to us about it. And eleven or twelve-year-old boys aren’t about to bring it up themselves. No one explains to us how and what to do. Without knowing what it means to be a male and lacking a sense of our masculinity, we are lost.
Adults stop touching boys by the time they turn eight, which is younger than the age at which we stop touching girls. Only girls have permission to touch each other’s hair and be affectionate with one another whereas boys are shamed for touching each other in any way other than through sports.
In the book, I Don't Want To Talk About Itpublished by Scribner Books in 1998 author Terrance Real writes:
“Boys and men are granted privilege and special status, but only on the condition that they turn their backs on vulnerability and connection to join in the fray. Those who resist, like unconventional men or gay men, are punished for it. Those who lose or cannot compete, like boys and men with disabilities, or of the wrong class or color, are marginalized and rendered all but invisible. . . The exclusion, isolation, of a failed winner is so great, it as if he never existed at all".
Patriarchy is defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as, ‘The predominance of men in positions of power and influence in society, with cultural values and norms being seen as favoring men."
Patriarchy defines masculinity by rigid rules that men are to live by. Men are to avoid and distance themselves from being viewed as gay. In our culture, being male is a privileged status, and anything else is viewed as inferior.
What boys need from their father, Real argues, is “affection, not ‘masculinity’.” He rightly stresses that men need more emotion and vulnerability, which they need to learn from their fathers. Sex becomes men’s way of being affectionate not just with women but with other men. There is no other way other than sports to have male physical bonding. This allows for touch and intimacy with another man.
Men who have a strong desire to bond with another man who are not athletically inclined do so through eroticism. Sex is an easy and secretive way to meet their affectional and physical needs especially when both understand that they will keep it on the downlow. In fact, for men the need for affection from other males is not known consciously to themselves because of our cultural prohibition. Thus sex with other men on the downlow is kept quiet but meeting a need at the same time.
Another way of releasing anger and power over other men is in dominating other men. The movies Deliverance and Pulp Fiction were powerful because of the scenes involving male rape, a phenomenon that is more common than we admit.
Men rape other men to show dominance but they have to feminize the raped man or turn him into animal, as in Deliverance to remove any trace of homosexuality.
Men are not taught how to deal with sexual advances from other men the way women are taught; as a result, men get aggressive and overreact to overtures in protest. Rage toward other males can become eroticized through rape and humiliation. Men who are angry at fathers who might have abused them react by sexually harassing other men.
For most men, humiliating another male through homosexual gestures and sexual innuendos is the worst punishment one could give and/or receive. In this way, they go from victim to victor.
Until these Straight Guise truly understand their situation, they are going to continue to sexually act out on the downlow and not tell their female spouses—or anyone else for that matter.
Friday, August 17, 2007
By Joe Kort, MSW
From time to time I will blog about various cases I have had in my office to illustrate how men can have sex with other men and it not be about homosexuality or even bisexuality.
According to the Oxford English Dictionary, a cuckold is “a derisive name for the husband of an unfaithful wife.” The concept of being a cuckold is that a man’s wife or girlfriend is interested in being with another man, usually because she complains of not being sexually satisfied by her husband or boyfriend. Often the other man is more endowed and the male partner is therefore humiliated and shamed for not being able to satisfy his woman as this man can. Usually these sexual fantasies involve the women being sexually dominant and forcing their male partners to watch and/or participate in the sexual acts.
In the case of cuckolds, straight men have fantasies where their wives are having sex with another man either in their presence (or not), but with their knowledge. Other straight men fantasize and/or engage in sexual activity with another man's female wife with the husband present and watching (or not), but with the husband's knowledge.Either way the men involved in cuckold fantasies need a woman to be involved or they are left cold.
In other words, if women are not part of the sexual fantasy or the other man is known to be gay or bisexual, the husband or boyfriend is often turned off. The erotic part of the fantasy for these men is that both are heterosexual.
Some argue these men are gay and/or bisexual and in denial—and some are. But there are too many heterosexual men who enjoy the homoeroticism of another male present for various psychological reasons—none of which have to do with homosexuality.
The Story of Jim being a cuckold
Jim, a heterosexual 35-year-old accountant and father of two young children, came to see me after his wife of 10 years found bisexual pornography on their home computer. Jim would erase his computer’s history to avoid his wife’s discovering what he was looking at on the Internet. What he did not count on was that these sites were saved in the computer’s anti-virus software cache. His wife, Lori, accidentally discovered a list of “Googled” websites; the majority of which were bisexual porn sites where men were sexual with other men while women were present.
Jim denied that he was gay or that he was even bisexual. He admitted that he had been looking at gay and bisexual porn and he was horrified that his wife had found out. He told me that he did not have sexual or romantic feelings toward other men, and he had shame around his interest in being sexual with men. This interest began when he realized he was aroused by having threesomes. Jim had always had fantasies about threesomes in which he was with two women.
In college his male friends talked about openly and proudly about their conquests when they convinced a woman to do a threesome with them. One night he and a buddy were drunk and both discovered they were eyeing the same young woman at the bar. They began hitting on her and ultimately all three agreed to have a three-way. They went back to Jim’s apartment and both he and his friend were sexual with her. He was not aroused by his male friend, nor did he have direct sexual contact with his friend during the threesome.
He and his friend enjoyed this experience very much and did this several more times when they were drunk or high during their last year in college. Neither Jim nor his friend ever talked about these experiences after they happened. They never had direct sexual encounters with each other. Jim denied being in touch with any sexual feelings toward his friend in any way. Jim did, though, begin having masturbatory fantasies about threesomes between himself, another man and a woman—involving both men taking turns with the woman. He found pornography that showed images of this both in magazines and on the Internet. It was nothing more than fantasy at that point.
After he graduated he began dating and eventually marrying his current wife to whom he was 100% committed. During the first few years of marriage he felt sexually satisfied and happy. However, as is true for most people, the sexual intimacy reduced between him and his wife. He admitted she was more open to things than most women he had been with. She was willing to give him oral sex and was “good at it;” as well as allowing him to give her anal sex.He stimulated himself with Internet pornography between sexual contacts with his wife.
The pornography was the same as always--two men being sexual with a woman at the same time. This excited him and he joined online groups to find images where two or more men were having sex with one woman. He did not dare disclose this to his wife or friends as he was concerned he would be judged and labeled as gay or bisexual. He knew he was turned on to women both sexually and romantically and found images of women erotic as well. But he also enjoyed the fantasy of threesomes.
Then about five years ago Jim discovered a porn site about men being “cuckolded”.
He did not know what this word meant but found himself strongly interested in the images and stories on these sites.What aroused him most was the idea of being sexual with a woman while he husband watched. He found message boards where couples were looking for a male and masturbated to the thought of his being that male.
One night Jim was on the Internet and found a chat room called “Pix of my hot wife” and discovered men looking for other men to be sexual with their wives while they watched. Jim had now entered an entirely different realm and found himself unable to stop going back to these chat rooms.Jim started chatting with both men and couples about pleasing their wives, about being seen the couple as the one who could satisfy her in ways that the husband could not. The thought of the husband’s watching aroused him more than just finding a woman to have sex with. Ultimately these couples invited Jim to have sex with them in real time rather than just cybersex. Jim agreed and began meeting various couples during which he would have sex with the women and the husbands would watch.
One time Jim was with a couple and in the excitement of doing the wife of one of the couples the wife asked Jim to ejaculate into her husband’s face and mouth. In the heat of the moment, Jim did this and found himself now excited by the thought of doing that each time he was with a couple. This progressed to having the husbands fellate him while the wife watched. Jim was excited by having men get him erect to have intercourse with the man’s wife and/or accept his ejaculation after having intercourse with the man’s wife.
A number of times Jim realized he was being tricked by men who said they had wives while chatting over the Internet but having met them in person found that these men were single and simply wanted to meet a straight man. Jim was turned off by this. He tried to be sexual with the first man who tricked him by convincing him he was with a wife, but Jim could not finish and left the situation.I asked Jim what turned him on about all of this.
Jim enjoyed the dominance and receiving the ultimate prize of a man giving up his wife for him to enjoy.
Jim was truly a heterosexual man who enjoyed erotic play with other men but only in the presence of a woman.
An interesting article in online ABC News tells of some of the negative labels women have to endure:
Young Women Defy Labels in Intimacy With Both Sexes
Bisexuals Take a 'Flexible' View and Don't Follow a 'Fixed Path,' Say Sexuality Experts
Young bisexual women face urban labels like "hasbien" and "Bug" (bisexual until graduation), not to mention the giddy voyeurism of male fantasies and the ridicule of their lesbian sisters.
The Good News For Women Discussed in the Article
For many of today's women in their late teens and 20s, openness to intimate physical relationships with either gender has become a way of life, rather than an "experiment." This relatively new phenomenon is likely a product of a generation unconcerned with labels.
"These young women see sexuality as a fluid thing," said National Gay and Lesbian Task Force spokeswoman Roberta Sklar. "It's not just between your legs."
"These relationships are physical, emotional and intellectual, and the boundaries are not hard set," she said.
Although there are no hard data on the numbers, Sklar said a growing number of young women have a "more flexible view" of their sexual partners, and their early choices of gender may not be a "fixed path."
Read the entire article here.
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
In recent years, the disease has been most common in men who have sex with men. But now, health officials say they are concerned about an increase in cases among women in New York, following a trend seen nationally beginning in 2005. After a decade with almost no female cases, health officials said the jump among women was possibly fueled by an increase in the number of men having sex with both men and women.
City health officials said they were receiving more reports of bisexual behavior among men. And Dr. Stuart Berman, an epidemiologist at the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said that in the last few years, New York men with syphilis had reported engaging in bisexual behavior more often than men with the disease in other cities.
An alarming piece from this article was:
Federal health officials estimate that those infected with syphilis are two to five times more likely to become infected with H.I.V., the virus that causes AIDS, because of the open sores caused by syphilis. But doctors said that because syphilis was on the decline until recently — medical providers do not routinely screen for it except in pregnant women — many people do not suspect the sores are a sign of infection.
Women deserve to know if their male partners are engaging in sex with men. I have many gay clients who have sex with married men who are not telling their wives they are involved sexually with other men for fear of being labeled gay, bisexual or having their wives leave them.
My hope is this blog will open some doors for men and women to talk more openly to each other and not put either at risk for STD's.
In The Windy City Times is the following article talking about the stigma of male-male sexual encounters and how this stigma puts these straight, gay and bisexual men at risk:
Empowering Men Who Have Sex With Men to Fight AIDS
In 85 countries of the world, it is illegal for men to have sex with other men. Male-male sexual relationships are stigmatized, driving men to hide their activities from friends, family members and health workers, according to a recent report by the International Lesbian and Gay Association. Because these men are forced to live part of their lives underground, they often lack access to basic services and, as a result, are at increased risk of HIV/AIDS.
Men who have sex with men ( MSM ) is a term that applies to those who identify as “gay,” but it also includes many MSM throughout the world whose gender and sexual identities defy Western categorization. For instance, in India there are at least three designations: “Kothis” are effeminate MSM who may nonetheless be married to women and have families; “panthis” are masculine men who have sex with kothis; and “hijras,” who are often castrated, are often considered to be a third gender altogether.
While these groups often do not identify as a cohesive community, they share a vulnerability to HIV/AIDS. Men who have sex with men are among the most vulnerable populations to HIV transmission worldwide, and yet they continue to be one of the most underserved. Today, fewer than one in 20 MSM has access to basic HIV education, prevention services or care. Many will die of AIDS simply because appropriate programs to support them do not exist.
When the term MSM was coined it was to created it as you described to create an objective term so that materials produced could be relevant to any man who has sex with other men, regardless of how he identifies -- in getting information to men, and wanting it to be relevant they wanted to remove any internal barriers that might allow a man to say -- this isn't about me.
And if you think about it -- the exact reasons why homosexual sounds so right to you -- "a term with a history and culture" -- means that it runs into the same issue when using the term gay or bisexual -- by appearing to a segment of MSM as not being applicable to them.
Its also important to note that MSM is a clinical term and isn't really designed to be an identity, its just a way of putting a set of behaviors under a single roof that might be applicable to a variety of identities.
Currently those within the bisexual community are pushing to also make HIV/AIDS materials that are an expansion of the MSM materials that include behaviors MSMW -- so this carries information about sexuality transmitted diseases that men can carry with little or no effect that has a larger effect on women; additional information as relates to bisexual health and awareness, etc.
The Boston community is really in forefront of a lot of this work here in the US -- Fenway Community Health has been producing a specific bisexual targeted HIV/AIDS program that produces pamphlets specifically stating bisexual and another one for MSMW -- you should check them out. You should also look at the Bisexual Resource Center's website as they have a multitude of resources on Bisexual Health as well as other categories.
Monday, August 13, 2007
Homosexual Obsessissive Compulsive Disorder (HOCD) is a form of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder in which the individual is preoccupied about being homosexual when, in fact, they are heterosexual.
Some will read this and think it is ridiculous. The truth is there are many sufferers who worry about being homosexual--and some actually are. Until society makes room for gays and lesbians and diminishes homophobia, these types of disorders will remain.
Sufferers of HOCD will be relieved to know this exists and can get the help they need.
Characteristics of HOCD which I found at Brainphysics.com:
- Unwanted or intrusive thoughts about being homosexual
- Doubts of one's own actual sexuality
- Inability to get rid of unwanted worries or intrusive thoughts about being homosexual
- Seeing a member of the same sex causes anxiety and triggers unwanted thoughts about being a homosexual
- Avoidance of members of the same gender from fear of unwanted thoughts or anxiety about being attracted to them
- Thoughts or worries about giving off signals that one may be homosexual
- Repeating mundane actions for fear that these actions may have been performed in a "homosexual" way or a way that may signal homosexuality in the person (for example, a male may feel the need to get up from a chair and sit back down in it if he feels that the way he sat in the chair was "feminine," or a male may worry that the way he walks is too "feminine" or signals homosexuality)
- Repeating an action may relieve anxiety, but then the person feels the need to repeat the action (or ritual) again and again to relieve anxiety
- Anxiety over being a homosexual is in opposition to one's own values and desires
- One feels that the thoughts are unacceptable and inappropriate
- Homosexual thoughts are repulsive rather than arousing
Characteristics of Being Gay (not suffering from HOCD):
- Having feelings of attraction for members of the same gender (even if kept secret)
- Having sexual encounters with members of the same gender
- Preferring members of one's own gender for sexual/dating partners or feeling comfortable with both male and female sexual/dating partners
- Homosexual thoughts are pleasant, though a person may be shameful of their sexual orientation or keep it a secret
Sometimes a closeted gay individual can experience OCD symptoms until they fully come out. That is different than a heterosexual suffering from HOCD. There is no coming out process for someone who is straight other than with the fact that they are suffering OCD and need treatment.
I'm Gay and You're Not: Understanding Homosexuality Fears Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder Takes Many Forms
A personal story written by Mark-Ameen Johnson for the BrainPhysics website, 8/2005 illustrates HOCD best. Mark is a gay man who had OCD and achieved recovery finding his truth homosexuality and coming out. He talks about those who have HOCD who are not gay who get treatment and their recovery is relieving symptoms of OCD understanding they are innately heterosexual.
Patrick Carnes, Ph.D., has written extensively on the subject. In his landmark book, Out of the Shadows, he coined the term sexual addiction. My own working definition of addiction is any behavior or activity that interferes in one's life in some way, but which one continues, despite negative consequences. Along with behaviors are other factors and dynamics, like loss of control.
If a man's tried to stop or cut down his cruising behavior, with no success, that signals a problem. Addictive behavior often displays progressive increase in tolerance. The person needs ever-stronger "hits." This syndrome explains heroin overdoses: The previous level of the drug wasn't satisfying enough, so the frustrated addict "promotes" himself to a higher, lethal dose-beyond what his body can handle.
Similarly, the sex addict needs more and more of whatever behavior satisfied him in the past. Because this progression occurs over time, it's not always obvious. Initially, masturbation with fantasy was enough to satiate his sexual appetite. Later, he needs to view pornography while masturbating. This is then that is not enough, and he feels the need to actually meet someone. Suddenly, he realizes he's cruising at a bar or sex club, or going online more often than he wants to be.
These behaviors, in and of themselves, doesn't necessarily constitute addiction. Problems arise when they interfere with being able to be completely present with one's self and one's partner and enjoy the sexual act-in addition to the fantasy.
People with addictions continue their behavior in spite of negative consequences, which they deny or do not perceive. When the man becomes accountable for his own behavior, no longer blaming it on others, only then can treatment begin.
Most people don't know that during any addictive behavior, biological chemicals are released, making these actions even more compelling.
Natural chemicals such as endorphins and adrenaline give the addict their "high." The sex addict's behavior causes chemical changes in his brain, which promote a mood- and mind-altering experience. Then there's a natural drug in our bodies called phenylethylamine or PEA for short. It's an essential chemical for those who are addicted to inherently risky behaviors like gambling, shoplifting, bungee jumping, and sex. PEA's molecular structure parallels amphetamine, and is strongest when first released. This explains why so many people with addictions say they're always seeking the feeling they had during their first high, and want to re-experience it over and over.
A number of signs exist of sexual addiction. One is a pattern of sexual behavior that's out of control. Of course, sexual impulses are the spice of life, reminding us that we're biological beings. But in sexual addiction, these feelings become intrusive. An impulse comes, followed by a strong need to act on that urge immediately, to get relief. This pattern begins to occur with some regularity.
Another warning sign: Severe consequences due to one's sexual behavior, such as being arrested, compulsive masturbation resulting in abrasions and sores, contracting sexually transmitted diseases, or having a loving relationship end when one partner catches the other cheating.
Another warning sign: Ongoing desire or efforts to limit sexual behavior with failed attempts to stop or cut down the behavior.
Sex addicts viewing the world through a sexual filter. In an attempt to cope with stress, sexual obsession/preoccupation and fantasy become primary strategies. The sex addict will allow his thought to focus on sexual fantasies and sexualize most of his experiences, to relieve himself of the tension he is experiencing.
A sex addict will use fantasy and behavior to modify his mood state. That's the essence of any addiction: an attempt to reduce anxiety, depression and other unwanted feelings and thoughts. The psychological self-soothing hit of PEA and other internal chemicals lets the sex addict feel temporary relief. His mood will elevate. But when the sexual behavior is over, he will drop into shame, despair, depression, remorse and guilt for having engaged in his obsessions and compulsions.
"Sexual acting out" (or SAO, for short) behaviors are a way of acting out our feelings-about whoever we're with, and about ourselves. For the sex addict, the goal is to identify the difference between what behavior's healthy, and what's not.
That's what defines these repetitive, unhealthy behaviors. A man within normal limits, -briefly, or at times of stress or crisis-might find himself driven to overindulging in sexual behavior.
For the sex addict, this activity can consume an entire afternoon, interrupting his life. He may even leave work early to engage in these behaviors.
Sexual addiction blocks its sufferers from having deep connecting relationships. This is why it is greatly important to have to relate to another human being on nonsexual levels. Time and again, studies show that the sexual addict who engages in individual, group, and 12-step groups-all three together-is helped most effectively. Placed in proximity to others, they're forced to examine their issues of intimacy and relational skills with others.
If you think you might be a sex addict or are involved with someone who might be one read information and resources on sexual addiction.
Friday, August 10, 2007
My quest in this blog is to state repeatedly that an individual can enjoy a sexual act and fantasy unrelated to one's sexual orientation.
So the answer to the question in the title is "No!"
I see many men who enjoy having their wives use a strap-on to perform anal sex with them. They are still men who are straight and enjoy erotic anal play.
The problem is that men feel shame asking their wives to engage in this behavior. Other men do ask but their wives are opposed to it, are offended by being asked, and/or worry that their husbands are gay.
So these straight guise seek out men to act out their fantasy of being anally penetrated. They desire the sexual act, not the man.
The Feeldoe® was invented and patented by a woman. She writes on her website:
Though Mia created Feeldoe® for lesbians and for friends who are female to male transgendered, many heterosexual couples are enjoying these new toys, too! Even men with a little problem can use a Feeldoe®. One way or another, this fabulous invention is pleasing people all over the world!
Those men who do succeed in talking with their wives and receiving anal sex have found the use of this sex toy on this adult website. *WARNING: Do not click if you are uncomfortable viewing sex toys.
Anal sex for males who enjoy receiving is the most troubling concepts for straight men and women because it is so closely tied to homosexuality. My hope is that this posting along with the rest of straightguise.com can assist couples to talk openly and honestly about their sexual desires without labeling and negatively judging each other.
Wednesday, August 8, 2007
While I appreciate the discussion you've created on this list and on your Blog I do think that your website does also feed into a didactic viewpoint of one much either be Gay or Straight -- while you have injected the word bisexual or bisexuality in a few places, largely the content on your site seems to reflect a very either/or mentality which I think also inhibits men from understanding and accepting what their choices are beyond gay or straight. I think is most pronounced when we talk about men who are married who continue to have enjoyable and fulfilling sex with their wives also desire to have sex with men. It seems that almost everything is placed in terms of gay or homosexuality -- you don't frame this as bi or bisexuality, nor does this seem to be a viable option in your discussions, it doesn' t seem to come up.
By using dualistic terminology places in an individual into an immediate state of conflict -- of having to choose one over the other.
So I would say that I would like to see more discussions about bisexual identity as a third option -- to me, this is not the same as being gay -- and while that identity does also have its share of societal trials and tribulations -- the statistics show that in sexual identity mixed marriages, where the husband comes out during the marriage -- that in those marriages in which the husband identifies as bisexual there is almost double the success rate than in which the husband identifies as gay.
Makes sense when you think about it -- bi is inclusive of the wife, while gay is exclusive. With all of the issues that arise for a wife when a husband comes out, his identification plays a role in how that drama will play out.
I agree wholeheartedly with you Alexei and will be posting more about bisexuality.
Here is some resources for readers to explore:
- Books by Fritz Klein
- Bisexual health: An introduction and model practices for HIV/STI prevention programming
Sexual health issues affecting bisexuals have been largely ignored and underrepresented in academic and professional literature. Many bisexuals have negative experiences with health care providers, whether it is because they are afraid to come out to their providers or because their providers give them improper or incomplete information on HIV/STI prevention.
This report serves as an introduction to bisexuality and a model programming guide for HIV/STI prevention.
Created by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Policy Institute, BiNet USA and the Fenway Institute.
Monday, August 6, 2007
I hope those reading this blog might consider reading this book to understand why straight men would be sexual other men. This book is also an excellent guide for all people--male, female, gay, bisexual, straight--about sexual fantasies that has an optimistic point of view.
Dr. Bader’s approach to understanding the sexual fantasies of men and women is from a positive and affirming place. Most people feel shame and embarrassment over their sexual behaviors and fantasies. Since I treat individuals suffering from childhood sexual abuse and sexual addictions I hear a lot of suffering of people who are troubled by their sexual thoughts, feelings and behaviors. Even those individuals who I treat who are not bothered by their sexuality and have healthy expressions of their sexual thoughts, feelings and behaviors find it difficult to discuss them.
Arousal attempts to help all individuals address their sexual fantasies with respect and dignity and understanding. Bader states that, “.......my theoretical and clinical approach to sexuality is an affirmative one, viewing sexual fantasy and arousal as resulting from an unconscious attempt to solve problems and not, as many psychoanalysts would have it, recreate them”.
Bader says sexual fantasies are not only stories one thinks about when masturbating or having sex. He goes on to explain that everybody has preferences about the way they like to get turned on. There are certain body types people prefer and certain temperamental traits that turn people on. All are telling a story about the person with the specific interests. One can learn more about one’s self when understanding why he/she is sexually aroused by the things that arouse him or her.
Bader believes, as do I, that your sexual fantasies are a result of your psychological makeup. He believes that sexual fantasies, however mundane or bizarre, are attempts compensate for the guilt and fear or worry each of us carries over from childhood. He states that “the details of the fantasy sometimes offer clues” into that persons childhood or history. He is clear that he does not believe that one’s orientation is shaped by childhood. That, like temperament, is stable and unchanging. But sexual arousal is imprinted from childhood.
In my work with men who suffer sexual addictions and compulsions, it has been most helpful going right to what turns them on the most sexually. As difficult as that is for them to talk about, once they reveal their sexual turn fantasies and interests we find plenty of information necessary to help them stop the compulsive behavior. For some men, they discover that sex with prostitutes is a form of “paying for love”. They were not loved as children by their caregivers. Other men are compelled to be submissive and take orders while others want to dominate and be in charge.
Bader’s book explains all of this and offers some practical thoughts and answers for those interested in understanding their sexual fantasies. For sexually compulsive and addicted people, this understand can help remove and eliminate the compulsiveness around the behavior. I highly recommend this book to therapists and individuals struggling with shame and guilt around their sexual fantasies and behaviors.
I highly recommend reading this book.
Friday, August 3, 2007
Anything seen as non-masculine in a man is deemed effeminate or gay and is punishable under patriarchal standards.
"What are you a fag?"
"Dude, are you a little light in the Loafers?"
Men who have sex with men are punished by the prejudice and stigma attached to the act with people judging them to be gay--when they are not.
Straight men direct this homophobia at themselves for engaging in sexual behavior with another man and the results can be brutal.
The Case of Roger
Roger, a 32-year-old fitness instructor at a local gym, came to me because he was having sexual problems with his wife. He and Sarah had been married three years and did not have children yet. While he was able to have intercourse with her, he was no longer able to enjoy her giving him oral sex. His wife enjoyed performing fellatio; but he no longer enjoyed receiving it.
Their problem was that she didn’t like him being verbal at all—by “talking dirty,” directing and guiding her, or even telling her how he liked it. When she was either not in the mood for intercourse or was having her period, he couldn’t enjoy oral sex because of her reservations.
When Roger first called me about this problem, I suggested that he and Sarah both come to see me, so they could explore it as a couple. But he ended up coming alone, because Roger was keeping a secret from his wife: He was receiving oral sex from men. Roger said he was not gay and insisted that he couldn’t tell his wife about these experiences or she would judge him harshly.
As an older teenager, Roger realized that both men and women were attracted to him. His working out gave him a tight, muscular, carefully sculpted build. He wasn’t homophobic and denied any sexual interest in men, but did enjoy being looked at and desired by them as well as women. He told me, “Men express their desire differently than women do.” By this, he meant that men were more sincere and could openly express their aesthetic pleasure in his body.
Roger recalled when he was 20, an older man in his 30s offered him $100 if he could see him naked. Roger politely said that he was not gay. The man insisted that nothing sexual need come from it: He just wanted to see Roger pose naked in different positions. Enticed by the money, Roger agreed. While he posed, the man watched and complimented him on his good looks.
Over time, this man offered Roger more money if he could masturbate while watching Roger and ultimately, asked if he could perform fellatio on Roger with no reciprocation.
For months Roger refused, until the man started buying him gifts and giving him even more money. The man even helped Roger pay his college tuition. Roger made it clear that he was not interested in reciprocating in any way and wanted no romantic or emotional ties—that he was doing this just to earn some money for school.
Roger found himself enjoying it more than he thought he would, and appreciated that the “client” was interested in Roger’s enjoyment. In Roger’s experience, women merely tolerated fellatio, though he wanted them to desire giving it as much as he enjoyed receiving. Roger was able to talk dirty to this man and tell him how he wanted to be serviced. The man was also willing to swallow, which increased Roger’s excitement. In time, the man sent other male friends to Roger who offered money to Roger in return for sexually worshipping him. What Roger loved was that these men pursued him and honored the body he had created. He felt desired, beyond appreciating the money he received. These preferences reveal who Roger really was and from them, we can piece together Roger’s erotic intelligence.
The Punishment to Males from Patriarchy
Roger was the first of three children. When Roger turned eight, his alcoholic father told him that he would no longer kiss him and taught him how to shake hands “like a man.” While his mother remained affectionate both verbally and physically, his father did not. Thus, his family’s messages were that men don’t touch one another to show affection. As a small boy, Roger interpreted this information as his not being good enough to love. Why else would his father continue to show affection to his sisters, but not to him? Even when drunk, Roger’s father treated his sisters well, but became angry and contemptuous toward his sons. In addition, Roger was overweight. Many male authority figures– his peers, teachers (his gym teacher in particular,) and his father—made negative comments about his body.
In light of all this, Roger’s adult sexual behavior made better sense. In our work together, we discovered that the men who worshipped him were standing in for his critical, affectionately distant father. His father’s patriarchal mindset left Roger with an affectional hunger for other men that he did not acknowledge until he was pursued by men who wanted to be pleasure him. These men made him feel desired, important and respected as a man among men. Their “payment” was compensation for all the hard work he had done on his body.
We also learned that, for Roger, directing his wife and guiding her verbally and otherwise was his way of being in control of receiving oral sex. Knowing this helped Roger recognize the importance of telling his wife his interest in taking some control during oral sex. He also realized the need for letting go and letting his wife be in control some of the time too for him to heal; he would thus be able to receive the “love” he never received as a child.
Once he understood this, Roger realized he would have to start exploring his father’s alcoholism and the lack of affection he experienced as a child. Eventually, Roger joined a men’s group so that he could learn to bond with other men in healthy ways that were not at all sexual. Roger also wanted to stop the sexual activity with these men and that he needed to tell his wife the truth. This took time, since he was afraid she might assume think he was gay or at least bisexual — which he clearly was not.
By telling her, Roger could strengthen his marriage. Roger needed to be accountable for his behavior and could do so more by having understood what his sexual acting out meant. Now that he realized what he was trying to receive from these men, he could find nonsexual ways to get approval.
Roger’s wife was upset and anxious upon learning this information. It took months in couples therapy for her to understand what happened for Roger was not about being gay nor bisexual. She learned about Roger’s childhood wound and why he was driven to have sex with men. She understood what was happening during oral sex with him and became more willing to let Roger take more control given what it meant for him.
She also had to overcome the betrayal and anger she felt by his cheating in the marriage by having sex with other men. This tapped into her own homophobia as well as issues about fidelity. Through the work of couple’s therapy, which is outlined throughout this book, she and Roger were able to overcome these issues and develop a more attached and intimate relationship. Roger was finally able to receive the love he never got from his father.
**NOTE: It is important to understand that this type of case example is used by reparative therapists and those who believe in sexual conversion who would state that Roger went from being gay to straight.
In fact, Roger was straight from the start. If not for patriarchy and homophobia he would not have struggled with directing homophobia toward himself causing psychological problems.
If his father provided him with enough love and affection, perhaps Roger would not have been open to having sex for any reason with another man. But maybe he still would have. Either way what is wrong with his allowing himself to be sexual with another man in the first place?
What do readers think?