Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Gay Sex 'Ewww' Factor

My wife and I recently had an in-depth conversation about making our marriage work, or not.

What I have consistently wanted is a "normal" straight marriage. You'd think that a 44 year old woman with three kids would be pleased to keep her husband around. Especially one who earns a respectable living and does the majority of the work around the house and with the kids. But no.

Charlie, my wife's loser boyfriend, is not the problem. Yes, she's in love with him but even if she wasn't, she says she still wouldn't be interested in me. Why? The gay sex 'ewww' factor.

My wife has always been something of a fag-hag. We met at 20 and prior to me she'd had three boyfriends. Two of them were gay. Now she tells me that she thinks a few of her high school prom dates were gay too.

One of my wife's best friends when I met her was Dante. Dante was, of course, gay. He and my wife frequently went out clubbing all night in San Francisco. It didn't matter what kind of club they went to, as long as it had good music. Gay clubs, straight clubs, mixed clubs, she didn't care. They just had fun hanging out together and being wild.

Early in our marriage, Dante and his boyfriend Mark were our best 'couple' friends. We used to see them weekly to watch "Melrose Place" together. It was with Dante and Mark that we went on our first cruise together. That was 18 years ago; it was also post-disclosure and post-separation. Gabbie was pregnant with our first kid at the time.

In more recent years, two of Gabbie's very best friends from college have come out. One of those friends, Kyle, and his boyfriend David, are one of our best couple friends now. In fact, this coming weekend the four of us will be spending the day together eating, drinking, hiking and driving up the coast.

I could go on and on about all of the gay friends my wife has or had. She's had a few lesbian friends too. One of which made a very serious play for her a few years ago. But I think I've made the point - my wife is about as gay friendly as a straight woman could be.

But she has her limits.

From my point of view, she's known that I'm gay for 18 years. We've had plenty of sex. We've had a good, supportive relationship. We're middle aged and we're raising three teenagers. What's the big deal about staying together?

The gay sex 'ewww' factor.

The 'ewww' factor is how my wife describes what she feels when she thinks about (and she tries NOT to think about it) gay sex. "Two men putting their you-know-whats into each other's butts? Ewww."

My wife assumes that I've had sex with men. She asked me, years ago, if I ever had and I lied and said no. But she's made many rhetorical accusations over the years since then. Things like, "I don't even want to think about what you do at your office" or "I called you at work but you didn't answer. How come you weren't there like you're supposed to be?" She's made plenty of insinuations but she hasn't asked me directly. Perhaps because she's afraid that I might someday be honest.

The fact that she doesn't know for certain that I've put my you-know-what into a man's butt and vice versa has not stopped her from being affected by the 'ewww' factor. The mere idea that I might have done that or that I might do that at some time in the future - that's enough. The 'ewww' factor is so powerful that she seldom makes any effort to touch me. Just this morning she said goodbye as she left for work. I didn't get a kiss (and I haven't for a long time), instead I got two quick punches to my right shoulder. Gee thanks.

Asking anyone to get over their instinctive 'ewww' reaction to anything is not easy. I don't like blood and guts movies. I have no desire to see them and no desire to feel better about seeing them. Yes, I know that if I saturated myself in them I would become desensitized and they'd bother me less. But I don't want to do that. I *like* that I don't like blood and guts spilled all over the movie screen. I don't want to change how I feel.

And that leaves me wondering...is that how my wife feels too? Does she *like* that gay sex grosses her out and is she completely unwilling to be desensitized to it?

It's not something we've talked about in detail. But I get the feeling that she finds the 'ewww' factor an immovable roadblock. What's weird to me is...why haven't I heard this before after we've been together for nearly 25 years???

I haven't asked her that question. It's pointless to ask.

One question she did answer that I never asked was, "How can you be grossed out by gay sex yet have so many gay friends?" Her answer: "I try to never think about it. As much as I like Kyle and David...the whole idea of them...well, ewwwww...I can't even talk about it."

***

As a post script to this entry, here is a brief update as to where we are:

After desperately wanting to bash my face in about two weeks ago, Gabbie asked that I back off for a while, and I have. I think we've entered an extended period of silence about our future together. She's in that phase were she's mentally preparing herself for a decision and she just needs to be left alone so that she can adjust to what that decision means for her. I see that she is thinking and I know her well enough to know that I must leave her alone.

When she's ready to talk, I'm pretty sure that she's going to tell me that our differences are irreconcilable. That will be her final decision and I will accept it as such. It's as Austin said it was in January: staying together is like trying to make a shoe fit that never will.

I don't feel bad that I haven't made any progress since January. Actually, there has been a lot of progress - within our heads. Instead of feeling connected and saying that we're separated, we've revisited the whole situation and are about to come to a clear, shared decision. The whole process of doing this the right way makes me feel so much better about myself and the decision. If my wife decides that we can't reconcile then I will know that I have tried everything I could.

If staying together is not going to happen, at least I will have closure - and that will be a very good thing.

10 comments:

  1. I doubt she is going to leave you. This situation will continue....and endless do loop of "we're breaking up, no we're not, let me think about it......"

    Why would she leave you? This whole situation is great for her. She has you as her slave to pay for everything, take care of the kids and do all the housework. And she has Charlie as her lover. Perfect!

    There's no catalyst for you to leave. If you find a bf and fall in love, then you'll make things happen. Otherwise you'll continue the status quo.

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  2. First of all, it drives me crazy when grown adults can't use big-kid words. Calling a penis a "you know what" went out when we were 10. The ewwww factor seems to relate to this. I think Gabbie needs to think a little more maturely about sex. I'm a little surprised that someone who has had sex with a few men and has had children holds a childlike view of sexuality.

    It's a big societal problem that we're conditioned to think sex is gross. It's not just her. We're taught to call it dirty, or "doing the nasty", when in reality that's just not the case.

    Secondly, your analogy of the blood and guts isn't really fitting. I totally agree that I hate seeing blood and guts in a movie. The difference between sex and gore is that sex is natural. It's what our bodies are made for. The glans and testicles are sensitive to stimulation. A man's anus and prostate are erogenous zones. It's normal. That's what those parts are made for. Having blood and guts spilled all over the place is not natural and is not normal.

    Cameron, you are a great guy. I really admire how you always try to see things from your wife's side, but you need to not be ashamed of your side of the story, especially when you are trying to do the right thing.

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  3. Cameron,

    I don't buy the "ewes" factor excuse. She's not being truthful. You know I feel that Gabbie IS childlike when it comes to sex and you know why I feel that way. You know I don't blame her. BUT, a grown woman who goes clubbing with her gay guy friends knows what's on the M/M menu. You left her years and years ago to be with a guy. She's known all along about what gay sex involves. He'll, plenty of straight couples have anal sex. She can't be that naive.

    I think this is the excuse your wife is using because sex has become terrifying for her. First the sex early in your marriage does not sound like it was that great. She meets her straight guy and while it might have been ok for awhile, her gives her warts, she has to undergo painful and humiliating treatments AND THEN he rapes her! Are you surprised Gabbie's attitude toward sex is messed up?

    My heart goes out to you. At this point Gabbie is her own worst enemy. Whatever happens, you will have done your damnedest to make this work. If Gabbie throws you away for Charlie, she deserves what she gets.
    D

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  4. Another thought, Cameron...Does Gabbie think you are currently unfaithful? I was just thinking..she may be afraid of HIV. If she thought you were seeing guys, even if you were always careful, she would be at some risk. Maybe that's part of what's going on and she just can't say it. Remember, this is a woman who's already had an STD by a relatively low risk partner. Who knows what's going through her head?

    I work with someone who's wife has AIDS (he does too..they were introduced by their ID doc). She was infected in exactly this way so it is not outside the realm of possibility that this is a fear she harbors. Maybe someone has said something or she's read something....I still don't buy the ewes factor.
    D

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  5. Eeewwww, your situation is like that!
    I don't know much about your story but I can say this. Give her some time to think then if it took her too long, you'd better make your own decisions. If you really want to stay married and she wants to think, that's fine, but if you have other plans, you have to think about moving on.
    Either case, wish you luck

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  6. We all realize that not all gay/bi men put their you-know-whats in you-know-where, do we not? The more I hear about Gabbie and sadder I feel for her and for you.

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  7. Why should she be obliged to sleep with you? If he chooses not too, regardless of her reasons then she shouldn't be pushed into it.

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  8. Cameron, my friend, It's time for you to move on.

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  9. RB - You're such a cynic! I understand your logic and for a finite period of time, you have been (and will remain) correct. But the endless loop you describe is not endless. It's pretty clear to me what is going to happen. Now it's just a matter of time as we work things out.

    Mack - She's had sex with two men, including me. Her father was in a seminary for 13 years before he married, studying to be a catholic priest. He passed away a dozen years ago but he has remained a pivotal influence in her life. So, yes, her view of sexuality is more child-like than most.

    Re: Blood and guts. My reaction is instinctual. It comes from a primitive, reactionary part of the brain. I believe my wife's reaction to anal sex is similarly primitive, reactionary and instinctual. That is why I drew the parallel. Any other connotations were unintentional.

    Understanding my wife's point of view is a 'trial' that I believe will heal my guilt. It's the only way I can KNOW that I've done the right thing - to fully understand how she feels and what she wants. Yes, it takes time and it seems self-abusive, but in the end I will be guilt and regret free. Having that peace of mind after spending 25 mostly good years together cannot be taken for granted.

    D - You may be exactly right, but I'm not sure what it means if you are. That she has her own issues that can never be overcome? That I should therefore take no responsibility for my role? Is it proof that we can never be reconciled and I should focus on how to transition our lives toward something better?

    She doesn't think I'm currently unfaithful. She pretty much knows where I am every minute of the day. And we remain very emotionally connected. If I had someone to distract me, I think she'd notice right away. With that said, we have not ever discussed infidelity in depth, so I could be mistaken.

    Memoirs - The clock is very slowly ticking, but it is ticking. Thanks for stopping by and for reading and commenting!

    Jason - She has some very strong and specific ideas about gay life based on first-hand experiences. I'm just now realizing how many narrow-minded assumptions she's made based on those experiences. Clearly she needs to be educated. It's going to be a long, slow process because unlearning first-hand experiences is a really difficult task.

    Mind of Mine - She's not obliged to have sex with me, although sex is certainly a universal expectation of the marital covenant. As everyone who has read my drivel will affirm, I have no backbone. I can't push her into anything, least of all sex. I know that, she knows that, everyone who knows us knows that.

    Jim - I understand that you have retired from providing advice. I therefore take your statement above quite seriously. What exactly makes you say this? And why now?

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  10. My mother's first reaction when I came out to her was "I'm so happy for you". Her reaction 6 months later was quite different. Then she called gay sex "Abnormal". She said she "couldn't picture" two men "doing it". In other words, the "ewww Factor" had struck her. My response, "Mom, it's ewww for me (as for most kids) to think of you and Dad as having sex too but that doesn't make me dislike straight sexual activities". I didn't win then and four years later, I'm still not winning. Moving on . . . :-)

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