Wednesday, September 29, 2010

What's next?

As you read this post, my wife Gabbie and I are on an eight day vacation alone together. We are celebrating our 20th wedding anniversary which happened earlier this year.

It's very ironic to me that we're taking this expensive, romantic vacation after one of our most tumultuous years together. If I felt like our issues were resolved, I'd be a lot happier to go. I expect that we'll have a fine time and we won't have any arguments, but, that feeling we've both had, that we're on the verge of splitting, it's still there.

This vacation is a big deal to Gabbie. As such, both of us have been on our best behavior for the past several weeks. Actually, life has been very routine, even dull. Gabbie started a new job in August that has turned out to be completely stress free. And although Gabbie still spends quite a few nights out every week, she hasn't been even stumbling-drunk lately. Her former-lover-now-loser-friend Charlie is still around but I can see that she has distanced herself from him emotionally. Gabbie's even been spending more time with the kids. In short, she's back to who she was a few years ago. She still doesn't like being a wife or a mother but she's making a genuine effort to fulfill her responsibilities.

The last time she had this attitude, I was reasonably content. Now I'm dissatisfied. It bothers me that I haven't been able to appreciate Gabbie's relative calm. I worry that my feelings for her have forever changed. But I don't know yet. I've been wondering if I should take a break from blogging. I may be forcing myself to think about issues that I otherwise would not.

Because Gabbie and I are taking this vacation alone we're going to be spending more time together than we have since before she began her affair with Charlie. Perhaps I'm wrong, but I'm thinking that this trip could either make or break our marriage. I wish I knew which result I prefer.

On the one hand I'm kind of pissed off that I've sacrificed so much of myself and my life to be with her - and yet she doesn't want to be with me. I fear that she sees me as broken because I'm gay.

Maybe I just don't get it but I don't see my sexual orientation as a big problem. Every day I find myself yearning to have sex with her. I'm not horny, I'm not craving my dick in her cunt, I'm just terribly lonely. I can accept that I'm not the best hetero lay she can find, but it really hurts that she thinks I don't desire her. For me, this has become the make-or-break issue.

And yet I will not initiate a break-up. Instead I have decided to continue to be optimistic, to continue to tell myself that every marriage faces difficulties, and that it's wrong to act impetuously. In short, I will keep my head in the sand and patiently wait for the eventual, inevitable resolution.

Although it is possible that all the togetherness of our vacation will change my mind, I doubt it. I have made the decision to consent to a divorce the next time she asks me, should she ever do so again. Giving up is completely against my nature, but I have decided that saying yes could be the only way to move us forward. Either I'll be calling her bluff and she'll reconsider, or, I will know that I have only been delaying the inevitable.

It is possible that we will have some serious conversations while we are away together, although the odds are higher that we won't. In anticipation that something might happen, I wanted to record my thoughts and attitude in advance of our week together. For me, this week is very much a test and I'd like to see if I feel any differently on October 3rd when we return, than I do on September 24th, which is when I am writing this.

For those of you are following my melodrama, I hope to be able to post at least a short update on October 3rd. Thereafter I will finish the posts about the four options married men have when it comes to dealing with their same sex attractions.

I both hope and fear that something significant will happen on this trip. I'd cross my fingers but I have no idea what to wish for.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Option Two: Be Honest with Your Woman

If you accept yourself as bisexual (or gay) and you're committed to a woman, how do you handle your attraction to men and the commitment to your woman?

Believe it or not, you only have four choices.

I will be writing about each of these choices in the next few posts.

Curiously, I have had years of personal experience with three of the four options and I am currently contemplating acting on the fourth.

I continue with: Option Two - Be Honest with Your Woman.

Two explanations. First, whenever I refer to 'married men' I also mean men who are in long-term relationships with women. It's less awkward to read the post if I use 'married' all the time instead of 'married/committed' or whatever. Second, this post is primarily directed to married men who wish to continue their marriages. Being honest with your wife with the intention of ending your marriage is a different option which I write about in the future.

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The purpose of getting married is to spend the rest of your life with ONE person. And although nearly 50% of all marriages end in divorce it seems to me that anyone who gets married expecting to have less than a life-time partnership, well, their low expectations will probably be met. Maybe I'm too idealistic but I'd like to think that when most people get married they honestly expect to stay with their partner, and only their partner, until death.

Almost everyone who has been married for a few years can tell you that sharing your life with a forever-partner is "Fantastic!...except..." In other words, it's human nature to focus on what's not working in our relationships. Many of us aren't so good at appreciating the 'every day' good things. Especially after the initial honeymoon phase ends, I think both partners tend to take each other for granted.

When big life events happen, however, the first person we want to tell is our partner. They know us best. They love us most. We have committed to live together, as one, for the rest of our lives.

Because we always share the big life events with each other, isn't it logical and reasonable to expect that the first person we would share our same-sex attraction secret with would be our wives?

In theory, I would hope that we could all agree that this is true.

In practice, coming out to your wife as "curious" much less bisexual or (oh wow) gay, can be a life-altering nightmare. Or at least, that's what many men fear.

Let's think through the reasons why you should, or should not, be completely honest with your only life partner.

REASONS TO TELL


1. Honesty is a must. Honesty is the fundamental cornerstone of marriage, as is sexuality. Therefore, you have an obligation to your wife to be honest about your sexuality. It's a core principle, a matter of right and wrong, and there is no gray area. A married man who fantasizes about or has sex with other men must share this crucial information with his wife.

2. It's the right thing to do.
Being committed to one person, in essence, is about being both literally and figuratively naked with your partner. If your curiosity, bisexuality or homosexuality is a big deal to you then it's something you should want to share with your spouse.

You are partners in life, there to support each other through thick and thin, in sickness and in health, for richer or poorer. Out of love and respect for your wife, you know that the right thing to do is to share your darkest secrets with her.

REASONS NOT TO TELL

1. Your attractions to men are ambiguous. Seriously, how can you start such an awkward conversation with your wife when you know she is going to ask 10,000 questions that you cannot answer??? It's a pointless conversation that will ONLY make both of you miserable. The most respectful thing you can do for your wife is to take the time to figure out who you are and what you want. Once you know the answers to all of her potential questions, THEN you can decide what, if anything, you will say to her.

2. Telling your wife the truth will kill her. You love your wife. And you know your wife. Without question, you know that if you say anything at all about being attracted to men, both of your lives will crumble. Because you have no intention of leaving her and because she will take the news very badly, there is absolutely nothing good that will come from being honest with her. There are some situations that are lose-lose no matter what and this is one of them.

3. You don't know what will happen. Your wife could be accepting or she could demand a divorce. Because you don't know what's going to happen, your only option is to stay silent. You can't risk your life together when you're not sure how she'll react.

4. Your desire for men has no bearing on your wife or your marriage. You love your wife, there's no question about that. But the desire for men is so completely different from the love of your wife that there's no comparison. It's an apple and orange thing. The two are completely different and there is no need for the two worlds to mix. In fact, they shouldn't mix. Your thoughts or activities with men in no way change or affect your wife or your relationship with her. Therefore, there is no reason to discuss your ambiguous sexuality with her.

5. There are already enough problems between you. Your sex life is essentially non-existent. Being with men is your escape from her sexual indifference. Your marriage is already broken but you have some very practical reasons for staying together. Basically, you no longer have the kind of relationship where honesty or fidelity make any difference.

6. She already knows. When you desire men, or are having sex with men, there are many small secrets to hide and lies to tell. A clever wife or a careless you can easily result in a slip-up that gives your wife a clue. And if not that, then there's her Woman's Intuition. If you're fairly certain that your wife already knows and she has decided not to discuss the matter with you, what more is there to say? If she wanted to talk to you about it, she would.

7. Being honest is not going to get you what you want.
Even if you thought your liberal and understanding wife would accept your attraction to men, you know she will not permit you to act on those attractions. Fantasies are not enough for you, you need to have sex with men. Given the choice between being honest and having no sex, or, lying and having sex, you must choose the latter.


I hope the above list is complete. As I imagined other situations I realized that they were often variations of the same themes. Many were simply excuses to stay silent. Often, excuses are ways of rationalizing fears and the biggest fear is that we'll come to regret our honesty. Perhaps severely.

Hopefully when you examine these two lists you will see that kernels of truth and logical arguments are both inherent in each argument. To me that means there is no single "right" answer. The Ideal of Perfect Honesty in our marriages is certainly something for which we should all strive. However, I recognize that Reality has a nasty way of stomping all over The Ideal.

The bottom line is that there are a multitude of pros, cons, noble reasons and lame excuses that can lead each of us in the direction of being honest with our wives, or not. We can spend days, months and years debating the question in our heads, trying to find a place of peace as we reconcile our straight marriages with our not-exactly-straight sexual attractions.

Being honest with your wife is a permanent decision. Once you utter the crucial words, you can lie and backtrack later all you like, but you're a fool if you think she'll ever forget what you've said.

Before making the decision to permanently change your wife's understanding of you, you might find it useful to examine the experiences of others. From the stories I have been told, the consequences of being honest with your wife appear to be decidedly mixed.

I can think of two fine examples of marriages that have strengthened or remained strong even after the man confessed his bisexuality. One is Rob of The Bi Married Mafia. Undoubtedly, his wife is a real gem because she has given him permission to have both sexual and emotional relationships with men. She is an inclusive, loving person and she's done exceptionally well, I think, at supporting her bisexual husband.

Through his story "Cross Currents" on Nifty.org, I know that the brilliant but hot tempered Adam Phillips has never hidden his bisexuality from others, including his wife. In addition to being a professor he spends a lot of time writing about issues related to ambiguous male sexuality. You can check out his blog here.

On the negative side of things, the only blogger I can think of who has written about a marriage that fell apart because he confessed his same-sex attractions is Joe Conflict of My Complicated Life in Provo. I don't know him personally so I can't say for certain, but from reading his blog my guess is that he now views his wife's departure as a good thing.

Although I cannot provide names, details or even links, I am certain there are many men out there who thought they were doing the right thing when they told their wives that they thought some men were sexy, only to have their wives completely reject them.

There's no one who keeps statistics about what happens when bi men come out to their wives. My guess is that most marriages survive, at least in the short run. The long-term impact of being honest, however, is difficult to gauge.

Tom of Cleveland does not have a blog but through his comments on other blogs, I am aware that when he told his wife of many years about his sexuality, he expected her to be understanding. Instead, his confession has put a deep freeze on their relationship. He's working hard to win back her confidence but I think it's safe to say that her feelings for him have permanently changed. That does not mean she no longer loves him, however, I believe Tom now regrets being honest.

In my situation, I told my wife I was gay two years after we were married; I thought our marriage was over. When we got back together a few weeks later, I assumed that I could be open with her about my feelings. It turned out, even though she wanted me back, she was not happy to hear me talk about men. I soon learned to keep my mouth shut. Her attitude was pretty surprising because she had always been something of a fag hag; she had (and has) many gay and lesbian friends. Because she is gay-friendly and because I don't talk about my sexuality, you might think that my confession from 18 years ago would be a non-event. Wrong! It turns out that my sexuality continues to be a very big deal to her; she's brought it up in every heated fight we've ever had.

As pissed off or hurt as she may be, her underlying insecurity has proven to be the 800 gorilla in the room. Her fear that I will leave her for a man some day has permanently undercut our marriage. It's a fear she cannot shake, no matter how many times I have sincerely denied it. I believe that my confession eats at the heart of what's wrong with our marriage. She will never, ever trust me and because she cannot trust me she is unable to commit to me. I am powerless to change that dynamic. No amount of time, good behavior or ridiculous loyalty has quelled her fears. So, although our marriage did not end when I came out to her, it has never been the same since.

For various reasons, I personally have no problem with married men who decide not to share their complete sexuality with their wives. I wish I could encourage respectful honesty but it's a crap shoot. There is no easy answer; there is no right answer; what's best all depends.

If I had to give one consistent piece of advice it would be to use caution, because once you speak the words you can never take them back.

Want to share your story or offer your perspective? Then please comment!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Option One: Don't Act on Your Same Sex Attractions

If you accept yourself as bisexual (or gay) and you're committed to a woman, how do you handle your attraction to men and the commitment to your woman?

Believe it or not, you only have four choices.

I will be writing about each of these choices in the next few posts.

Curiously, I have had years of personal experience with three of the four options and I am currently contemplating acting on the fourth.

I begin with: Option One - Not Acting on Your Same Sex Attraction.

The most obvious way to handle your same sex attractions is keep them as your private fantasies and to not act upon them in real life.

This is probably the first option most married men consider. After all, vows are vows and cheating is cheating. Every married man should stay loyal to his spouse, no matter what.

Right?

If you think about it, there are thousands of Catholic priests, Buddhist monks and others who never have sex with anyone. Surely you can be happy with a lifetime of unlimited sex with one person?

That's easier said than done...

Even the most traditional, monogamous bisexual man is going to have a problem staying loyal. Desiring a man is not like desiring a woman, therefore it is SO easy to tell yourself that any kind of fooling around with another guy isn't 'really' cheating. Two buddies trading blow jobs doesn't count as real sex, does it?

Actually, it does.

This is why it is essential to understand that staying loyal is a serious option that requires serious dedication.

SO many guys try this option and fail. The key to doing it successfully, I think, is to be at peace with your decision to forgo men. If you're constantly wishing you could have sex with guys then it's only a matter of time before you give in. You wear yourself down.

Twenty-three year old bi-married blogger Bobby Derrekson of bi.the.way. is a good example of this phenomenon. The guy is going ape shit right now; he's on a emotional roller coaster.

Bobby needs to realize that if he is going to stay permanently faithful to his wife, he needs to stop wishing he could have sex with men. The same is true for you. It's very much like the decision to accept your same sex desires. Accept the desires and the emotional angst ends. If you (or Bobby) can honestly accept the fact that sex with men is NOT going to happen, even when you're given the opportunity, THEN you'll know that you can commit to your woman.

Most guys fail at being committed because they go about it the wrong way. Instead of taking man-sex off the table as an option they try to motivate themselves by focusing on their commitment to their wife. Logical enough. The problem, however, is that it's more difficult to be good than it is not to be bad.

Think about that for a few minutes.

There's a gray area between being good and not being bad. For those who want to be good, they attempt to give up all sexual thoughts of men. No fantasies, no flirting and certainly no gay porn. My opinion is that this cold-turkey approach is too much denial of your natural feelings. As such, many guys become unhappy and this affects their marriage. As their married sex life diminishes, thoughts about sex with men increase. It's a vicious cycle.

Undoubtedly there will be guys who would disagree and say that watching no gay porn is easier than watching some gay porn. It's a personal preference and you have to do what works for you. My opinion is that living in denial requires a lot of emotional energy, which over time, is quite taxing. You're like a dam holding back billions of pounds of water. Then one day you crack and CRASH! - a big crisis hits. I prefer the lazy, relaxing approach: get horny, jack off. Repeat as often as necessary.

As I mentioned, I've had personal experience with this option. In fact, it's my current status; I have not had any kind of sex with a man in more than seven years. And I label myself a homo.

Honestly, it hasn't been that difficult. I don't know how much of a factor it is, but I have a standing offer from my last Fuck Buddy to fool around with him at any time I like. He emails me a few times a year to ask what I'm up to. I know what he really wants. So maybe because man-sex is so readily available, I desire it less?

Mostly, I think the reason it's been so easy for me is because random sex eventually became unappealing. Sex for the sake of sex, even with a 'friend,' just wasn't any more fulfilling than jacking off. Actually, jacking off is better because I have no guilt, no worries about diseases and no fear of being caught cheating.

I was married at 23 and first cheated (while married) when I was 25. It would have been impossible for me to avoid all sex with men at that stage of my life. I can do it now because I learned from experience that the Empty Feeling can only temporarily be sated by intimate male contact. I now believe that the only way I will ever secure long-term fulfillment is to be in a lasting, full-time relationship with a man. And even that may be wishful thinking.

The hole in our souls that only a man can fill...

When I was younger I thought if I kept searching I'd eventually find the right man and the right situation, then I'd be happy. And I was, with two serial sexual friendships. But when those ended and I tried out a third friendship (the same guy who keeps checking on me), that hole in my soul felt as empty as ever. That "ah ha!" moment I had when I decided to give men up - it was something that happened ONLY because I had already spent years cheating. My point is - just because giving up men has been easy for me in NO WAY means that it will be easy for you. You might need to be a lying cheater for a long time, like I was, before it becomes that easy.

One final point. These four options for handling your same sex attractions while you are committed to a woman...two of them are open to you at all times, two are 'forever' decisions. The decision not to act on your desires is not permanent. Nor are there any requirements for when you can decide to begin. In fact, fidelity begins anew each time you say goodbye to your lover.

Up next: Option Two. Any guesses what it will be?

As always commented are appreciated, especially dissenting opinions.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

When the self-hatred ends, then what?

Thoughts are not actions.

Once you realize that your same sex attractions are not going away, and you make the decision to stop hating yourself for having those attractions, you should be at a place in your life where you feel calm. Self-acceptance is a wonderful thing.

What happens after self-acceptance?

Many guys want to take action.

If you've only imagined sex with a man, you probably want to try it out, to see if reality matches your imagination.

If you've already experimented with men, but have lived in some form of denial, self-acceptance can lead to just about anywhere - from coming out to celibacy.

In an ideal world I think the best move is to completely understand your attractions before making any major decisions. It's called "thinking before you act" and it's something easier said than done. The good news is, even if you've fooled around a lot, it's never too late to do some soul searching and decide who you are and what you want.

Among the bloggers I follow there are two guys who appear to have accepted their same-sex attractions and are now trying to figure out what that means for their lives. One is 30 and married, Christian of Confessions of a "Straight" Guy. The other is 25 and single, Blurred of Closet Case #3498. It's been a genuine pleasure witnessing their transformations as they've come to accept their same sex attractions. I think both guys feel that they have regained control of their lives now that they have made peace with themselves.

Christian and Blurred are now in the process of figuring out exactly how important men are to them. Are they curious, bi, gay, or some other derivative? Christian is figuring himself out by thinking, blogging and talking to two former fuck buddies. He's made the decision to avoid having sex with men until he figures out who he is and what he wants.

Blurred is single and unattached. He has decided to figure himself out by living one day at a time. He's open to experimenting with men and women. He's open to the idea of a casual relationship with a man or a woman. The one situation he is NOT open to is a serious girlfriend. He knows that he needs to get his shit together before he gets serious with a girl. Like Christian, Blurred is thinking and blogging. Through blogging he's made some friends with whom he can honestly discuss his feelings. Having friends is crucial. It's nearly impossible to figure out your complex sexuality unless you are forced to explain to others exactly how you feel.

I think both of these guys are taking very healthy approaches to understanding their vague sexualities. Both realize that getting seriously involved with new people or hooking-up with random guys are ways to cloud their minds and distract them from understanding what they truly want from life.

If you want to know what can happen if you ignore the big questions and live from hook-up to hook-up, read Fraternity Memoirs. It's a true story written by a guy using the pseudonym John Walsh.

John got involved with a guy his freshman year of college and although it was a casual relationship, it caused his life to spin out of control. He had a lot of hot fun while it lasted but a decade later he realized he was still in a fog about what he wanted: men, women or both. John eventually quit writing because he reached the point where the fun ended and the regrets began.

Despite their similar quests to understand their sexualities, the fact that Christian is married and Blurred is single puts them on different paths. Taking action with men while you are already in a relationship with a woman gets very complicated. Love, sex, truth, lies, and a million other factors weigh on you as you try to decide what you want from life. If you're in that situation, I have some suggestions that may help clear the fog in your head but that requires a whole separate post. The remainder of this post, therefore, is directed toward those who are single and might be bisexual or gay.

Getting involved with women while you're in the process of figuring out your sexuality is generally bad news. Yet it can happen so easily! Women are much more eager than men to get serious, and, your friends and family are always happy to see you coupled with them. I recommend avoiding women altogether, even when you think you're bi, if you are young and single. As my story shows, it's entirely possible to end up married in a very short time, even if you have no intentions of ever being in that situation.

In addition to avoiding a serious commitment, there are other reasons to avoid women when you are young, single and might be bi. First, gay life is very youth-oriented. If you want to find out how important men are to you, you need to experiment. Men are all about looks. The better you look, the more chances you'll have to experiment. Second, from a peak sexual performance point of view, if you do 'men first, then women' you'll be fucking each gender near their sexual prime. Third, the dating advantage for men really hits its stride in mid-life, if you are pursuing women. Women of all ages are happy to fuck you. Fourth, transitioning to women from men is not such a big deal. Going from women to men, depending on the circumstances, can be a real nightmare.

The big objection to men first, then women, is "I'm bisexual! I want both!" If you're young and single and you can juggle multiple partners and you know you're not going to get tied down, go for it. The reality, however, is that you put yourself at risk for falling in love with a woman. And, if you haven't been upfront about your bisexuality with your woman, you will almost certainly find yourself in a very messy situation.

If you truly are bisexual and you avoid women for an extended time, there will eventually come a day when you will have had it with men. You'll be burned out for one reason or another and you'll be clear-headed about wanting to start a serious relationship with a woman. Having done the man-sex thing, you are far less likely to have regrets or face a midlife crisis. Of course there's no guarantee that you won't fuck up your life by wanting men again later, it's just that your chances of doing so are a lot less if you stick to men when you're young.

As always, any feedback, especially contradictory opinions, are appreciated.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Self-Hatred and Same Sex Attraction

I find so many blogs fascinating. We all live in our own heads but a well-written blog can be a captivating way to peer inside the mind of another.

Recently I started reading several blogs written by guys who are trying to come to terms with their not-exactly-straight sexuality. Too often these guys are stuck in a heart-breaking mire of self-hatred.

I remember my own days like that all too well. I eventually backed myself into a corner where I became numb to everything and suicide seemed like the perfect cure. I was 15.

Planning my own death actually was the cure. When I realized I didn't have the guts to do it I figured I had no choice but to stop hating myself. I haven't felt bad about being gay, or labeling myself as gay, ever since. And how ironic is that, considering that I've been (mostly) happy being married to a woman for 20 years?

Learning to accept yourself and end the self-loathing takes time. When you're in the thick of the misery it often seems impossible to imagine ever being happy again. I'm offering my perspective in the hope that it might help at least one person who is in that position.

I believe my perspective might be helpful because I have grown to appreciate my homosexuality for reasons that are not often mentioned by most gay men. Perhaps this is because I have lived as a solitary gay man in a straight world for so long.

As always, comments are appreciated. Dissenting opinions, even more so.

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Accepting your divergent sexuality is an evolutionary process.

Step One - Realization

One day, it begins. You realize for the very first time that you are sexually attracted to your own gender.

For some, the realization happens at a very young age. Others may be well into their fifties.

No matter how old you are when it happens, it's almost always a lonely day.

Step Two - Reflection

The word 'reflection' has a peaceful connotation. But the reflective stage is by far the most miserable.

Not long after you realize that you are attracted to members of the same sex, you panic a little and start to question yourself. How long have I been this way? WHY am I this way? Am I gay? Am I bisexual? You question your entire self-identity. Many plunge into depression. These are always very dark, lonely days.

Some guys spend years, even decades, trying to answer those first few reflective questions. Some are tormented because they just want to be normal. Or, they're tormented because they have been taught, and honestly believe, that same-sex sexual attraction is always wrong.

Scratch and claw as much as we might, there are only three ways to exit the truly awful reflective stage.

One is death. Gay teenagers have long had one of the highest suicide rates in the country. And how incredibly sad it is...young people, with their whole lives ahead of them, so overcome with programmed self-hatred that they see death as the only answer.

The second exit is permanent denial, as in, to the grave. These are people who forever keep their feelings bottled up deep inside. MANY individuals begin on this path but in time they find that they cannot stay silent. Why? Because denial comes with a price. If it's not your mental health, it's your physical health. If it's not your health, it's the people around you who suffer, either directly, because you eventually betray them, or indirectly, because your depression and/or internalized frustration adversely affects your relationships.

'Change' therapy is another example of an attempt to live in permanent denial. Basically someone tries to 'reprogram' you to make you straight. Some (Ex-gays) insist change therapy works. But scientific studies have proven that the success of such therapy is "uncommon" at best.

Permanent denial is the marathon run that never ends. You must run and run and run and run. All in an effort to hide from yourself. If you can't run for a lifetime...why start running at all?

You can live in a state of self-hating denial for as long as you can stand it, but ultimately acceptance of your same sex attractions is the only way to escape the self-induced pain caused by too much reflection.

If you think about it logically, spending any time at all in denial is a complete waste; you'll end up accepting your desires eventually anyway. Wouldn't it be better to skip all the agony and move as quickly as possible into a peaceful state of acceptance?


Step Three - Acceptance


Sunshine!

Accepting one's non-traditional sexuality, in the long run, is the easiest, healthiest response to the (almost) inevitable early feelings of self-loathing that same-sex attraction spawns.

Getting to a place of complete acceptance - "I'm gay and it's no big deal" - takes time. Many begin at "I'm gay and I realize that I'm never going to change, BUT..." and that's ok.

The reason people take so long to reach a state of complete acceptance, I think, is because they incorrectly assume that complete acceptance requires some action in the real world. It doesn't. All complete acceptance is, is a genuine pride in yourself. The easiest way to feel pride is to realize that being different is a good thing; being different makes you special.

'Special' means not homogeneous. It means not being a clone or a robot. It means that you have the capability to understand and explain that variety truly does add spice to life. We should all celebrate our special, unique natures.

Think about this: as puberty kicks in and we take our first steps toward adulthood, we HATE being different. All we want to do is conform. Seventh grade, and the years around it in particular, are often our most miserable years when growing up, simply because we endlessly agonize about being different and fitting in. If twelve and thirteen year olds ruled the world we'd all be clones, all identical and conforming. What kind of world would that be?

As adults we should realize that diversity, of all types, is what makes life worth living. Our individual uniqueness creates a collective diversity, and that, we should celebrate. The applause should begin with ourselves. If we're not a dull, blank page like everyone else, we should at a minimum, be privately proud.

Accepting our same sex attractions and being proud of our individual diversity are two things that can begin and end in our own heads. Just because we are men who are attracted to other men does not, in any way, mean that we need to tell another soul. Accepting that we have same sex attractions and coming out are NOT inexorably linked.

It's on that point that many "out and proud" gays and I disagree. I firmly believe that you do not need to be out in order to be proud. If I'm a math genius, and I'm proud of my abilities, but I never speak of them, am I any less of a genius? Am I any less proud? Some might argue yes. But maybe they don't understand that a humble person can be proud, as can a shy person, as can people who don't like to be the center of attention. Quiet pride is still pride and it's no better or worse than outspoken pride. Really, it's just another form of diversity.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Sexual Confusion


Everyone is familiar with the Kinsey Scale, the seven point (0-6) line that moves from "completely heterosexual" to "completely homosexual."

How do you know where you fit on that scale?

You choose your own number.


Picking a number for some people can be very difficult. For others, the number can change throughout the day. "Threes" are true bisexuals, they are equally attracted to both genders. But how many threes might move to a four or a five if they spent 72 hours interacting only with hot men? Similarly, couldn't they move to a one or a two if they spent an extended period of time interacting only with sexy women?

Fritz Klein, a psychiatrist, sex researcher and bisexual, devised the "Klein Sexual Orientation Grid" to add greater depth to the Kinsey Scale. Unlike the Kinsey Scale, you don't pick a number on a line. Instead, you answer a few questions. The first set of questions are about your attractions, behavior and fantasies. This is your "sexual self."

The second set of questions is about your social, emotional and lifestyle preferences. These are "aspects of sexual orientation."

The final question is the Kinsey question: how gay or straight do you think you are?

For all three sections, you give an answer based on your past, present, and your ideal.

For years I have thought of myself as a 5 on the Kinsey scale. Honestly, if I had never married I doubt that I would ever have had sex with a woman. But I do occasionally find myself noticing women and I certainly desire sex with my wife.

On the Klein scale I scored a 4. Close enough to 5, I guess.

But wait! There's more.

Dr. Robert Epstein developed the Epstein Sexual Orientation Inventory (ESOI). This is an 18 question test that measures your sexuality in two ways. The first measure is your 'sexual mean' - the center point for your orientation. On the 0 - 13 Epstein scale, where 0 is heterosexual and 13 is homosexual, my mean is 8. According to Epstein I'm just a shade to the gay side of being perfectly bi.

Huh?

How can it be that I'm getting more straight with each test?

The second Epstein measure is your 'sexual range' - how far to either side of the mean your orientation ventures. My range is 7. This means that the only orientation I clearly am NOT is a zero, also known as, totally hetero.

Ok - so I've gone from being nearly totally gay to being almost completely straight??

These tests are a joke!

The ESOI range measure, especially, appears to be completely irrelevant. I'm shades of all sexualities except completely straight? Give me a break.

I am not impressed with these tests' methodologies. They do not use objective data. Anyone can easily skew the results by manipulating their answers.

The sex industry needs a new, objective measure of sexual orientation and I just happen to have recently developed one: The Cameron Test.

The Cameron Test is completely scientific. Here's how it works:

You get hooked up to sensors that measure your heart rate, blood pressure, perspiration and breathing rates. In other words, a polygraph.

To get base-line readings, you first review pictures of simple objects. Then, pictures of different animals. A cute bunny invokes a certain happy reaction, a bat hanging from a cave ceiling makes you wrinkle your nose. Eventually the pictures transition from animals to pictures of individual men and women.

In some pictures, the subjects are clothed, in others they are provocatively dressed and in some they are nude. Sometimes the pictures alternate between men and women. Sometimes they go in streaks of all women or all men. The subjects vary. Some are VERY hot, some are so ugly that you want to turn away.

In total, you are shown 100 pictures of men and women that run the gamut of looks and types and at the end you get a score that shows how much your body responded to pictures of men and how much it responded to pictures of women.

The beauty of the Cameron Test is that you can't fool yourself. You can't get the answer you want to get - your body betrays you and tells you what you truly desire.

I have a fun alternative to the polygraph-required Cameron Test. I call it "The Fuckable Test."

The test very simple and can be easily set-up on the Internet. It's just a blank screen with two images.

One image is an average-looking man, the other is an average-looking woman. The test-taker is prompted with a question: Which one do you most want to engage in some kind of sexual activity?

Straight guys, of course, will always choose the woman.

The next screen has two more pictures. Again, a man and a woman. Because the straight man chose the woman on the first screen, on this second screen the woman is less attractive than the first woman was. The man, however, is more attractive. Now which one does the straight guy want to fool around with?

The woman, of course.

The next screen shows an even less attractive woman and an even more attractive man. With each set of pictures the progression continues. Sooner or later a point is reached where the woman is so unattractive and the man is so hot that the straight test-taker capitulates. Generally speaking, the sooner he capitulates, the closer he is to being genuinely bisexual.

I love the idea of this test because it would be fascinating to see how far many 'straight' guys would go before they change their gender preference.

Who thinks I'll make millions if I create a "Fuckability" website? I figure every 15 year old on Facebook will force their friends to take the test so I should be a billionaire in no time.

I have one more test idea to share. It's a 'home' version of the Cameron Test.

It's very simple but you have to be honest and be comfortable with some level of bisexual desire because you have to score yourself.

In a highly populated place like a shopping mall, an airport or an amusement park, you count the number of men and women you'd be willing to fuck. Using your personal "fuckability" threshold for each gender, you tally the fuckables as you see them. When you get to 100 fuckables in total, you calculate a percentage. Five fuckable men and 95 fuckable women? Straight. 70 fuckable women and 30 fuckable men? Much closer to bi.

For myself, I know that I don't need to take a Cameron Test. Men overwhelmingly catch my eye.

The funny thing is, for me at least, orientation has nothing to do with who I fuck. I'm gay yet I have been married to a woman for 20 years and I haven't been with a man in seven years.

Maybe I'm now 100% straight???

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Want to find out how bisexual you are? Here are some links:

Take the Klein Orientation quiz.

Take the Epstein Sexual Orientation Inventory.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Good Sex, Bad Sex / Sex with Women, Sex with Men

What is good sex?

It seems to me that every individual has to decide for themselves what good sex is. How do we do that? Mostly, we compare our own sexual experiences - last night was better than last week, but the best time ever was in the elevator at work. The term 'good' sex, therefore, is very subjective because it mostly hinges on our individual sexual experiences.

The power of our own perceptions of what good sex is is huge and it can change over time. Think about this: the first time we have sex, we probably all thought it was good. What else could we think? We had an orgasm, it was something new, we have no other sexual experiences with which to compare it. Over time, our opinion - our memory even - of our first time almost certainly changes. Why? Because the second time gets compared to the first time and one was better than the other. If the second time was better, the first experience gets down-graded. And vice versa.

Ultimately, an awareness of what truly is good sex takes time and experience to develop.

Something else to ponder. Sexual experience can be measured in two ways: how much sex you have and how many people you've had sex with. Although there's usually a correlation, the difference between the two is extremely important.

For example, think of a traditional Mormon couple. When they marry, both are virgins - but not for much longer. They have so much pent up sexual frustration that when they finally have the freedom to fornicate, they fuck like bunnies, doing it as often as they can. A really horny Mormon couple might fuck 25 times or more in a month. That makes for 300 times a year and 1,500 times in five years.

(Of course by that time the couple might want to undergo some fertility testing. Why, after all that unprotected fucking, isn't she pregnant??)

Now think of the high school slut who fucks a different guy at every party she goes to. At the best parties she fucks two or even three guys. But when there are no parties, she doesn't often get laid. Why? She's a slut! Most guys want to fuck her once or twice but after that they're done with her. Still, the slutty girl manages to get fucked an average of four times a weekend. That's 208 times a year and 1,040 times in 5 years.

Who has more sexual experience, the horny Mormons or the trashy slut? The Mormons have fucked nearly 50% more often than the slut, but, the slut has been banged by nearly 500 different men.

(Wow, she really IS a slut.)

Isn't it safe to say that the slut has nearly 500x more experience than the Mormons because the Mormons have vanilla sex? They have their routine, they fuck mostly the same way, but they just happen to do it a lot. The slutty girl, however, has been fucked so many different ways she KNOWS a good fuck when she has one. The Mormons don't have much of a clue - all they can do is compare each of their boring fucks to all of their other boring fucks.

The upshot: when it comes to knowing what good sex is, the number of partners one's had matters far more than years of sexual experience, or, the frequency of sex.

Another question: when does good or bad sex make or break a relationship?

Suppose two people like each other well enough...there's no magical spark, but for whatever reason they end up in bed together and the sex is phenomenal. Does great sex create a spark that was not there? If so, is it a temporary thing, or, does more great sex inevitably deepen the bond?

I don't remember ever hearing about a long-term relationship that blossomed purely because of sex. So I'm guessing that it is a rare occurrence. But I do know at least one woman who will not date a guy unless the sex is good. She's a lot like Samantha in "Sex in the City" - a woman who genuinely likes sex for the sake of sex.

Millions of men love sex for the sake of sex. In fact, recreational sex is the foundation of gay pop culture. Take that away and what's left to talk (or think) about? Yet, for as important as sex is for men, and for gay men in particular, can good sex alone make for a successful long-term relationship?

Mostly, the answer would seem to be no.

Gay men have a lot more sex than they have successful long-term relationships, so, either most gay men have bad sex OR the sex is good but ultimately it's not as important as other things. I assume it's the latter.

If great sex generally does not make a relationship, can bad sex kill an otherwise good one?

Anecdotally, the answer seems to be mixed. When two people who don't know each other well have bad sex their romantic relationship tends to end very quickly. At best, they become platonic friends. So the gray area is when two people are already in a relationship and the sex turns bad, or ends. In that circumstance, almost anything can happen - including mutual acceptance of celibacy to mutual cheating to the termination of the relationship.

Slight change of topic.

There's a life-experience pattern that is common among bisexual married men. They fuck women, they get married, they fuck their wife, their male fantasies begin to flourish, they cheat, and over time, they fuck a lot of men. Younger bisexuals are fucking men at earlier ages, but even for them, one fact remains: although they may most often fuck a woman, they ultimately have far more male sex partners than female.

In some ways I think this phenomenon could be a legitimate reason why a guy might self-identify as straight at 18, bisexual at 28 and gay at 38. When they were straight they'd only had sex with women and therefore they had no idea what good sex, for them, was. As they gained more experience with men, and they compared it to sex with women, they eventually realized that dick is consistently WAY better than pussy. Then, as they have more 'good' sex with men, they decide to opt out of pussy altogether.

I wonder...how good is the sex for women who are married to bisexual men, particularly those whose husbands eventually decide they are gay?

Society condemns promiscuity in women. Many women marry with very little sexual experience beyond the man with whom they have partnered. In a marriage where the man's sexual interest moves away from women toward men, surely the quality of the sex must decline, surely she must notice, and surely, both partners eventually become aware that the marriage is in trouble.

How about in marriages where the man stays bisexual? It would seem logical that the sex would either remain good...or good enough. These marriages, I'd wager, are pretty stable.

Here's a scenario near and dear to my heart. What about a marriage between a gay man and a straight woman? How good is the sex for both partners? Probably not very! The key fact to remember, however, is that the number of sexual partners one's had has the biggest influence on determining what 'good' sex is. When a woman has only had one sexual partner and he's a gay man, does she truly know what good sex is?

As you can see, I've been thinking about sex a lot recently. Far more than usual.

I have always thought of sex with my wife as a by-product of my love for her. That - and sometimes I just want to get off. But a recent confession by my wife Gabbie has made me wonder: when two healthy people in a long-term relationship have a shitty sex life, what does that say about the quality of their relationship?

I think one can make excuses and try to sugar coat the truth, but in all honesty, can a shitty sex life EVER be the product of a happy relationship between two healthy people?

Also, it seems to me that once a relationship endures for years, bad sex (or no sex) does not suddenly happen. And bad sex itself does not turn the relationship sour. Rather, the relationship changes, sours, whatever...and the sex follows. If good sex is a by-product of love, then bad sex is the by-product of...what?

I'm sure there are plenty of situations where couples decide to stay in poor or weak relationships, for a variety of reasons. Unlike in a new relationship, bad sex is not necessarily a relationship killer. But if it's happening in your relationship, and you know the problem is not with you, a weak sex life is probably a sign that your partner is unhappy. In fact, I suspect that in many cases the first signs of serious relationship problems appear in the bedroom.

It's therefore ironic that sexual problems can be easily dismissed - it's stress, we're in a rut, we're getting older, etc. These excuses and others make it way too easy be in denial about other problems that exist between partners.

Sometimes it's not you who is in denial. Sometimes, it's your partner. Or, your partner is not in denial but, for a variety of reasons, they opt to lie to you.

The most deceptive lies are when your partner tells you it's their issue. Why wouldn't you believe them? And best of all - the problems in the bedroom are your partner's fault, not yours.

What has prompted me to think more about sex recently is not the fact that my sex life sucks. That's nothing new. What is new is that I have very recently learned that my assumption that I am blameless could be completely wrong.

For the last several years my wife Gabbie has been telling me that she's not interested in sex with anyone. I believed her; I attributed her lack of a sex drive to the fact that she has some sexual hang ups. But this past weekend I got a more cryptic explanation - she says I don't smell sexy to her.

She clarified the statement by saying that I don't smell bad. It's like I'm missing a sexy allure.

I don't smell sexy to her...what does that mean??

A little while later, while we were having sex for the second time in two months, came the other bombshell. She said, "I can't cum. I already came today."

"Huh?"

"That little purple thing [a vibrator]...and an episode of Hung...first time in 43 years."

Once the sex was over, I couldn't enjoy the after-glow. All I could think was I don't smell sexy...she's hornier than...ever??

Still stunned, the question that came next hit me the hardest: Oh fuck - what if Jim is right?

You see, Jim has been insisting that gay men can't maintain successful marriages with straight women because, well, they can't love them the same way a straight man can.

Having been in that situation and not been unhappy myself, nor having heard direct complaints from my wife (who had only had sex with me until age 41), I have disagreed with him.

I am not ready to concede the point yet, but for the first time in many, many years, I am wondering if he might be right.

Truthfully, I'd love for him to be wrong. If anyone out there can honestly say that a gay man/straight woman marriage can work sexually for the woman just as well as a straight one, for the long-term, I'd love to know. Or, if you want to agree with Jim, I'd (reluctantly) like to hear your comments too.

I'd also be glad to hear other comments that relate to the several ideas I have written about above. Please, knock yourselves out.