Thursday, October 27, 2011

Open Marriage / MMF Threesome

In a recent post I shared the story of a man who was seeking his wife's permission to enjoy casual, recreational sex with other men. He wanted an open marriage - the dream situation for just about every married bisexual man.

To allay his wife's fears about where an open marriage might lead, the man explained to his wife that his interest in men was purely physical. He said that he had no interest in pursuing a relationship with a man, and, to prove that his intentions were honorable, he suggested that the couple invite another man into their bed as the guest star. That way the wife could see first-hand what he meant.

The wife laughed at that idea.

Undeterred, the man was able to convince his wife to accompany him to a gay bar. That way she could see for herself that his interest in men was purely physical.

The couple did go to a gay bar together but the man failed to prove his point. Instead of agreeing to an open marriage, his wife decided to end it. Having an open marriage, to her, was "classic man wants his cake and eat it, too."

More importantly, she decided that his attraction to men was a very real threat to their future together. She said, "One day he WILL meet someone that he will be attracted to and will want to be with. So, after more years of being faithful to this man, he will leave me anyway. That is what will happen."

As a man who is attracted to other men, I completely understand the husband's point of view. I also know, based on the experiences of other men, that being open to other sexual relationships has the potential to strengthen a marriage; increased honesty and reduced sexual frustration usually make for a closer marital bond. As such, when conducted safely and respectfully, an open marriage can be a win-win situation for both partners.

Although I am familiar with open marriages from the man's point of view, I know little from a willing woman's perspective. The story I quoted was therefore a fascinating read. Yes, she seemed skeptical about the idea, but not so skeptical that she immediately rejected it. Further, her willingness to go to a gay bar with her husband is evidence that she tried to be open-minded. Not many wives would have agreed to go.

I posted the story because I wondered if readers (married men especially) would see the wife's reaction as valid or ridiculous. I particularly wanted readers to focus on the question of emotion. Because of the visit to the gay bar, the wife is now convinced that her husband WILL leave her for a man. Yet the husband says he's not interested in men that way. Who is right?

Consider each spouse's point of view:

The Bisexual Husband

I believe that bisexual married men can divided into two groups. The first group is composed of men who instinctively and naturally know how to make a woman feel desired. It's an effortless endeavor for them, like walking across a room; they're natural-born Casanovas. The men in the second group don't have it so easy. They have to concentrate in order to stay focused when they're with a woman.

What do I mean by 'focused?' It's a vague thing, not easily put into words. I'll use an analogy instead: it's like sex with a condom and sex without one. When you're fucking without a condom you're definitely not thinking about what a condom feels like. When you are fucking with a condom on, you're enjoying the sex, but you never really forget that your dick is covered with latex. It's distracting. It's a very thin barrier that keeps you from truly connecting with your partner. Bisexual men in the second group, in essence, are wearing a mental condom that subtly distracts them when they're having straight sex. It slows them down, both during the act itself and in wanting to have sex at all.

From a performance perspective, during sex, there's not much difference between men in the two groups. Getting hard, staying hard, and having an orgasm are usually not issues, barring any physical problems. What is different, very different, is how frequently the men in the two groups have straight sex. Because men in the second group have to make an effort to stay focused, straight sex requires some work. It's as if, instead of walking across a room, they have to progressively jump across, with both feet tied together. Having to expend the effort means they initiate sex less often, which means the couple has sex less often.

The man from the story belongs in the second group. The reason I know this is because his wife reports that they haven't been intimate "in forever." She also says she has repeatedly tried to entice him by going to bed naked and by wearing very sexy lingerie. The natural-born Casanovas don't need that much prompting. If a woman signals that she wants sex, they don't hesitate to jump right on.

Because the man hasn't been responding to his naked wife you might wonder if he is gay. He insists that he is not, for several reasons. First, his attraction to men is purely physical. Second, his taste in men is very specific; he only likes straight men. Third, he has no interest in kissing a man, much less falling in love with one. Fourth, he feels just the opposite about women as he does men - he likes to kiss women; he has only loved women in the past and he can only imagine being in love with women in the future. For him "men are for sex and women are for love." By most definitions, he is bisexual.

The Straight Wife

I have spent the last year absorbing the thoughts, opinions, emotions and experiences of straight wives who are married to gay or bisexual men. In the course of internalizing this information I have learned that straight wives care about many things, including fidelity, lying, diseases, financial security, love and public embarrassment. But what matters most, to the most women, is that they feel genuinely desired. Over and over different women have told me that "love is not enough" or "I don't want to be married to a roommate" or "I already have enough friends, I want a lover."

The need for women to feel genuinely desired is far more powerful than many men realize. For many women it is the basis of their feminine identity and their sense of self-worth. When a woman does not feel genuinely desired she feels like a failure as a woman. It's a knife that cuts her to the core, equivalent to a grown man being calling "a sissy" by his father; the hurt is deep and primal.

The woman in the story feels just as most other straight wives do. She wants to be wanted.

The Couple as Archetypes

An archetype, in this case, is "a universally understood symbol upon which others are patterned."

In my opinion, the bisexual man and his straight wife are typical of many other couples in the same situation. While the man is not typical of all bisexual men, I believe he represents a large subset of them. The wife is extremely typical of the vast majority of straight wives; she wants to preserve her marriage, provided that her needs as a woman can be met.

If you can believe that this couple is an archetype, then understanding them is a window into the dynamics of many marriages between bisexual men and their straight wives. Understanding this couple can explain why some straight wives are happy to stay with a bisexual man - even to the point of opening up their marriage - while others give up on their marriage, even when their husband promises to be faithful.

When a bisexual man asks his straight wife to open their marriage, the logical assumption is that it's her decision as to whether his request is granted. That assumption is true; lots of women will not accept a marriage with anything less than absolute monogamy. However, I have learned that a surprising number of straight wives are willing to consider the open marriage option, provided that it 'works' for them.

What makes a marriage 'work', regardless of whether it is open or closed, is if the husband makes the wife feel sexually alive. If he does not, then the marriage gradually dies.

This means that, most of the time, the bisexual man, and not his wife, is primarily responsible for the level of sexual in his marriage.


The man in the story vehemently insists that his interest in men is strictly sexual. He cannot imagine falling in love with a man; he does not WANT to fall in love with one. He's asked his wife to open the marriage by trying a MMF threesome, or by giving him permission to have recreational sex with men. To prove how harmless his interest in men is, the man convinced his wife to go with him to a gay bar. How did that go?

According to the wife, "[it was] one of the worst experiences of my life."

"[I] was looking across the bar and [saw] him looking at a man and flirting with him in a way that he has never looked at me. You know, the flirtatous eyes kind of look. I felt like I couldnt breathe...after all I have been to him, and giving him the very best of me all those years, I have never seen him look at me that way."

You might think she's misreading her husband's interest, or that she's paranoid, or that she's seeking to sabotage the open marriage option.

Any of those things could be true, however if they are, then the cost of being wrong is catastrophic for her. She WANTS her marriage to work. But she doesn't believe it can:

"It hurts my heart so much that most days I cannot breathe...Can he be my best friend and make me laugh till the cows come home? Yup. Can we cook together and drink wine and have a great time together and complete each others sentences? Yup. Is this enough for me for the rest of my life? Nope."

Clearly she loves him. Clearly she wishes their marriage could work. And yet she's convinced that it will ultimately fail. She's so convinced that failure is imminent that she's stopped even trying to make it work. Instead, she's decided to turn her entire life upside down by seeking a divorce. Being best friends isn't enough for her. She, like most other women, needs to feel that she is desired.

Women are so NOT like men. For the most part, women have a much higher emotional intelligence than men. Their 'women's intuition' is an everyday manifestation of how tuned-in they are to the people around them. When a man doesn't genuinely desire them, they know it. In the case of the woman in the story, once she saw how her husband desired the man in the bar, she knew she had never once been wanted with the same intensity.

Months of explanations by the husband after the visit have failed to convince the wife that she was wrong about what she saw. She knows what she knows, she knows how she feels.

The lesson of this couple is desire rules all. The proof for that is the decision the woman made. She gave up her comfortable life and the man she loves only because she HOPES that one day she might find a man who makes her feel desired.


People are different, marriages are different. What happened with this couple wouldn't necessarily happen with similar couples. But the dynamic that played out here DOES play out with many other couples:

First you have a large group of bisexual men who are unquestionably attracted to women, but 'making love' to their wife requires some effort.

Second you have virtually all straight wives who WANT to preserve their marriages, and are willing to make big compromises to do so, BUT ONLY IF their womanly self-image and feminine identity are regularly cherished by a husband who genuinely desires them.

A man can do or say anything he likes to prove his masculinity. He can aggressively make love to his wife as proof that he desires her. But most wives cannot be fooled. Desire is raw and animalistic. Desire means having a satisfying sex life - that means 'good sex' on a frequent basis. Once a month is not frequent.

The bottom line is that a large group of married bisexual men have an impossible road to travel. They are who they are, and they are authentic, but they don't have the essential and sincere ability to make a woman feel WANTED, yet being wanted is what their wife needs most.

In the story, the man's weakness became obvious when the couple visited a gay bar together. Most couples don't go to gay bars together so most wives can't compare the desire they feel to the desire they witness. But you can be certain that the marriages of some bisexual men inevitably crash when their wife has a similar "Aha!" moment; that moment where she realizes her man can never satisfy her.

In my next post I plan to write more about marriages between bisexual men and straight women. I'd like to particularly focus on why some are very strong and others are very weak, even when both spouses agree they love each other. I also hope to address the wife's conviction that her husband is destined to fall in love with a man, which is something he promises will never happen.

Your thoughts?

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Men are for sex, women are for love

I've had more than one person tell me that I sabotaged my marriage when I came out to my wife as gay.

"How was she supposed to react to that?" they've asked. "You basically said you have no sexual interest in her. Why would she want to stay married to you?"

Those are good questions. When phrased in that manner, I can understand how some might see 'coming out' as sabotage.

In my particular case, it wasn't. Within weeks of meeting Charlie, and experiencing a never-before-felt sexual charge whenever she was near him, my wife realized that our connection was fundamentally different. I could call myself anything I wanted, but she knew that there was no sexual heat between us. There never really was, and there never would be, regardless of how much we might love one another.

My wife's attitude is hardly a surprise, is it? Women want love and desire to be linked. Men are different. We're ok with, and often prefer, keeping the two separate. Just think about how common it is for a man to enjoy sex with other men, yet have no romantic interest in them. These same men feel very differently about women. It's as if their personal mantra is "men are for sex, but women are for love."

I wonder: how do these guys label themselves? As straight?

Some must. The thing is, it's hard to make a convincing argument that you're straight when you're regularly having sex with men.

On the other hand, they're clearly not gay, right? You can't be gay and NOT have an emotional attraction to men.

So the answer must be that these men label themselves as bisexual. It's the only answer that makes sense.

Here's the weird thing. The labels "straight", "bi" and "gay" are supposed to define sexual orientation. But these men who desire 'just sex' with men, they're not gay because they apply an emotional criteria to define their orientation.

Consider the sex vs. emotion question as you read this story from a straight wife:
My husband has told me that although he thinks that I am beautiful, he is not attracted to me sexually. He wants to have sex with a man. But he wants to keep our life intact, and stay in this relationship. He says that he doesnt want to have a relationship with a man, just sex, and he loves me. The ball is in my court according to him. He has even suggested the idea of a threesome, so that I can feel better about things if I am there. LOL.

Well, this is what I have come up with after much thought, prayer, and reading...........this is classic man wants his cake and eat it, too. He would like to satisfy his desires and keep his life with me and the kids. Thus not having to feel guilty about anything because I would know about it, and not have to experience any accountability.

The big problem with this to me is that one day he WILL meet someone that he will be attracted to and will want to be with. So, after more years of myself being faithful to this man, going through the insecurity and loss of any self esteem, and being robbed of being with a man who desires me sexually, he will leave me anyway. That is what will happen.

Let me share something else.........I agreed to go to a gay bar with him to help him explore this and see how I would feel about of the single worst moments of my life was looking across the bar and seeing him looking at a man and flirting with him in a way that he has never looked at me. You know, the flirtatous eyes kind of look. I felt like I couldnt breathe and I was consumed with both jealousy and anger that after all I have been to him and giving him the very best of me all these years, that I have never seen him look at me that way.

Sorry to say, but that is my sad reality. It hurts my heart so much that most days I cannot breathe. We straight wives love men deeply; we are in love with men deeply that cannot love us back sexually the way that we as women need to be loved. They will never smell our hair and skin and get dizzy off the scent of us, or be so desperate to make love to us that they cant see straight. Can he be my best friend and make me laugh till the cows come home? Yup. Can we cook together and drink wine and have a great time together and complete each others sentences? Yup. Is this enough for me for the rest of my life? Nope.

I want it to be enough. I really do. But I know in my heart that its not. I know this man loves me as much as he can love a woman. But at the end of the day, its just not enough. I want more.

Notice that the husband's sexuality is not labeled. Given what he wants - to have an open straight marriage - how do you think he labels himself?

I think it's pretty clear that he believes he is bisexual. He might even think he's straight. The reason I say this is because the reason he brought his wife to the gay bar was to prove to her that his interest in men is purely sexual, not emotional. He can't be gay if he has no emotional interest in men.

The thing is, the visit to the gay bar went horribly wrong. She agreed to give him a chance to prove his loyalty, but he utterly failed in that attempt - at least so far as she is concerned. It ranked as one of the single worst moments of her life. So, based on what she said, I think she believes he's gay - emotional attraction or not.

Who's right?

The question of whether he is bisexual or gay is essential. It truly matters whether he's gay or not because this woman, like most others, does not want to be married to a gay man.

I'd like to hear your thoughts. Please weigh in on whether you think the wife is wrong - he's bi not gay - or whether the man is gay and in denial. And please cite the reasons for your opinion.

Using your comments, I will do a follow-up post that will attempt to untangle the complex mix of desire, emotion and sexual orientation.

One initial observation: isn't it interesting that both my wife and the quoted straight wife seem to agree that heated sexual desire is MORE important in a relationship than emotion, yet this man and I believe the opposite? Is this a common gender difference? If so, isn't it ironic that women ultimately care more about sex and men care more about emotion??

I look forward to your comments.