Thursday, March 22, 2012

The Win-Win Solution for Struggling Bi-Married Men

In the posts Men are for Sex, Open Marriage, The Divided Bisexual Man, and He Says/She Says I wrote about the struggle many married and bisexual men face as they come to terms with their sexuality.

In another series of posts I said that bi-married men have four options when it comes to reconciling their attraction to men and their marriage. I identified those options as: Don't Act on It, Be Honest, Cheat, and Start a New Life.

Several months after writing about those choices, I began to extensively interact with dozens of straight wives who are married to bisexual, gay and "straight" husbands. Wow, what a fundamentally different and unexpectedly revealing learning experience that has been. After swapping stories with hundreds of other married men for the past 17 years, I really thought I'd heard it all. Instead, I've learned that many men don't know as much about their marriages and their wives as they think they do.

It's my belief that bridging the gap between what a man thinks he knows and the truth has the potential to resolve the moral and emotional conflicts that often plague married men who are sexually attracted to other men. In short, bridging the gap is a "win-win" solution for bisexual married men who seek genuine and enduring happiness in their lives.

The "win-win" is not a cookie-cutter solution that is appropriate for every bisexual married man. Many bi-married men are happy to live a double life, and as such, this solution doesn't apply to them; they are not struggling. On the other hand, for men who are unable to find genuine and enduring happiness - because they only have the "losing" options of secretly cheating on the wife they love, or, coming out as bisexual and risk being rejected by their families - this solution is an authentic way to find inner peace.

A Warning

As simple and appealing as the idea of a "win-win" solution is, the problem it addresses is huge. As such, finding enduring happiness requires WORK. This is not a flip-the-switch or a pop-a-pill solution. You must be motivated.

That said, hopefully what you read here will inspire you to give this solution a serious try. If implemented correctly, it will change your life for the better.

Your Bisexual Journey

In order to understand how to find enduring happiness you have to take a step back and contemplate the bisexual journey you've taken.

If you're like most bi-married men, once upon a time you were happily married and not plagued by guilt, edginess, self-loathing, depression, frustration or an unquenchable desire to hook-up with men. What happened to you??

You became aware of your sexual attraction to other men.

Understanding, accepting and enjoying one's attraction to men is a lot like floating atop a raft on a smooth but deep river. When you first step onto the raft you have no intention of taking a long journey. Later, you realize that it's just something that happened; unseen, but inexorably powerful, the current of desire steadily pushed you forward.

There are two aspects to the bisexual man's journey. One is physical and the other is mental. On the physical side we progress from curiosity to porn to Craigslist ads to aborted meetings to real meetings to jacking off to getting sucked to sucking to fucking, and finally, to getting fucked. Not everyone follows the same path, but progression, rather than stagnation, is the rule.

The typical bisexual man's mental journey, on the other hand, tends to be chaotic. Denial, regret, self-hatred, depression and relentless desire swirl around and around in our heads. Often we are directionless as our thoughts change from one day to the next. Eventually we get tired of beating ourselves up. We realize that we are who we are and that our same-sex desires are not going to change. It's only once we accept ourselves that we gain some measure of peace.

Think about your own journey. When did it start? How did it start? How has your thinking evolved since then? How has your interest in different sexual activities changed? How long has it been since you went from being nervous and afraid to being comfortable with who you are?

Every situation is different, but chances are you began your journey a few years after you were married. And, even if you started earlier or later than that, there is probably no doubt that you married with good intentions and that you enjoyed the early days of sex and intimacy you shared with your wife. I make this assumption with conviction because marriages don't usually last unless they have a strong foundation.

Think about this: during all those years when you were adrift on the river of self-discovery, where has your wife been? By your side on the raft? Or left behind on the shore?

"I'm always straight except for when I'm bisexual."

The overwhelming desire to be "normal" can be astoundingly motivating. It literally makes men delusional. I can't tell you how many stories I've heard about men who obsessively pursue sex with men yet adamantly insist they are straight. Why is "bisexual" such an offensive label?

It's easy to marvel at how out of touch those men are, but the fact is, nearly all closeted bisexual men are delusional. Here's why:

When we think of bisexuality in its most basic form we think of it as "having a sexual attraction to both women and men." This is an incomplete definition and it is the root of Bisexual Delusion. Men in particular tend to think their bisexuality is a switch. When they're having sexual thoughts about men they're bisexual. When they're not thinking about men they're straight. This is not true. Bisexuals are bisexuals 24/7.

Your sexuality affects every important relationship you have. With little conscious thought you alternately express and repress your attraction to men throughout the day, and no matter which you are doing, it affects how you interact with others.

Repression is especially significant. It causes you to be more withdrawn and more secretive than you otherwise would be. It makes your relationships more transactional - even robotic - as your highest priority is to keep your bisexuality hidden. No relationship is more affected by this dynamic than the one with your wife. Because she is simultaneously the person closest to you AND the person who must never know the truth, engaging in a genuinely intimate conversation with her is a dangerous tight-rope walk. Most closeted bisexual men prefer to play it safe.

The thing is, playing it safe slowly causes intimacy to be replaced by distance. And no matter how polite or good-natured you are to each other, there's still a deep river that keeps you apart.

That distance between you on the raft and her on the shore? It's caused by your bisexuality.

"I'm always straight except for when I'm bisexual." - Part Two

Another aspect of Bisexual Delusion is that it causes men to make excuses for their lackluster (or non-existent) marital sex life. For example, it's common knowledge that marriage kills your sex life - right?

We all know that young couples fuck like bunnies and older couples hardly fuck at all.

We all know that women lose interest in sex after they have children.

We all know that women lose interest in sex when they hit menopause.

We all know that our married friends' sex lives are just as bad as ours, if not worse.

Although there is often an element of truth in these statements, it is delusional for a man to think that his bisexuality has no affect on the quantity and quality of sex within his marriage. Over and over, straight women have told me that they knew "something" wasn't right but they didn't know what. Then, once they learn the truth, it clicks.

The fact is, women of all ages LOVE intimate sex.

"I'm always straight except for when I'm bisexual." - Part Three

A third aspect of Bisexual Delusion is when bisexual men attribute their lackluster sex life to their wife's imperfections:

"She doesn't take care of herself."
"She's always tired."
"She never wants to give me a blow job."
"She's fat."
"She's a bitch."
Etc, etc, etc.

Again, there is often some truth behind these excuses, but the fact is, heterosexual men will eagerly fuck a fat, ugly woman who just lies there LONG before they'd ever consider hooking up with a man.

Bisexuality is not a part-time orientation. It's who you are, all the time, and it always affects how you interact with other people, most especially your wife.

The Win-Win: Step One

The first step of the "Win-Win" solution is to take responsibility for who you are.

Although it's very likely that your bisexuality is not the only issue in your marriage, if you want to find enduring happiness, you must work from the assumption that it is.

Focusing on other issues, especially ones that are her fault, will not be productive.

If you want results, you have to man-up. You have to work to bridge the intimacy gap that exists between you and your wife, and, you must believe that the gap is entirely caused by your sexuality.

Step Two

After you have accepted that your bisexuality has created an intimacy gap between you and your wife, and you acknowledge that your marital sex life is not satisfying to you, the next step is to address the problem with your wife.

Does that mean coming out to her?


The beauty of the "win-win" is that you can find enduring happiness without ever coming out of the closet.

In place of coming out, however, you MUST initiate a brutally honest conversation with your wife. This conversation is REQUIRED.

In the conversation you must tell her, without ever once blaming her, that you miss "the good old days" when the two of you couldn't get enough of each other. You must tell her that your first inclination was to make excuses for why that is...getting older, the kids, work, whatever. But then you realized that YOU haven't made as much effort as you once did. Just hearing those words should make your wife tingle down there in a way she hasn't in quite some time.

I've said that in a cheeky way, but actually, it's true. If you initiate an honest, intimate conversation and then take full responsibility for taking her for granted, she should respond in an overwhelmingly positive way. Ideally she will accept a portion of the blame and offer her understanding for the pressures that weigh on you.

Her comfort and support should encourage you to take the conversation to the next level, which is to create a joint plan to rekindle the intimacy in your relationship. Because keeping your bisexuality hidden is a permanent barrier, you have to work doubly hard to compensate. There are hundreds of intimacy-building books out there, read some.

I realize that talking about your relationship and improving the intimacy in it is not something you would normally want to do. Probably the opposite - and that's the point. As I said, the "win-win" requires work and now you can see why. It might seem like it's one sided, and it is, at first. After holding back for many years you have an intimacy deficit to fill. The good news is that if you are persistent, you will definitely enjoy the benefits of your labor: more and better sex.

The initial pay-off should be especially hot; there's good reasons why it's called "The Honeymoon Phase." Your pledge to intimacy and her response should inspire both of you to feel like giddy teenagers in a new relationship who just can't get enough of each other. Improved intimacy will rekindle the flame that has always been there, and once you feel it, you'll be surprised by the intensity. Just like that, you'll go from feeling frustrated and stressed by the confines of your marriage, to feeling happy and optimistic about your future together.

Reaping these benefits is essential because they will keep you motivated - and staying motivated is essential because bringing true intimacy back to your marriage is not a one-shot deal. Nor is it a one-month commitment. It's a permanent change of habit, a new beginning for an old relationship.

Step Three

Step three, mostly, is to repeat step two. Whenever your marital sex life slows down it's up to you to take the initiative to breathe life into it by letting your guard down and seducing your wife with intimacy.

There will be plenty of times when you will be tested. What if you're tired? What if she is being a bitch? What if sex with her is boring? Instead of burying these frustrations as you have in the past, you have to be open about them WITHOUT being negative or confrontational.

For example, don't reject her advances because you're tired. Instead be playfully teasing, "It's been a long day and I haven't been in the mood, BUT, I really want to enjoy this time together. Maybe you can put me in the mood? Or maybe we can cuddle?"

If she's being a bitch don't make it worse by criticizing her or telling her to relax. All she wants is for you to listen to her complain. So say something like, "I don't want to fight. Remember how I said I really to improve our relationship? I mean it. Can we call a truce for a few minutes?" You might surprised by how much better she responds when you're open and honest rather than closed and defensive.

When it comes to sex, what turns most women on is "girlie" stuff. Things like romantic comedies, romance novels, cuddling, kissing and holding hands. If sex with your wife is boring then you have to inspire her by asking how you can better please her. If you try some things that she suggests chances are she'll be that much more exciting in bed.

Whatever hurdles you face, overcoming them comes back to two simple ideas: respectful honesty and genuine intimacy. Step three is to continuously use them.

Step Four

Speaking of hurdles - one of the most difficult ones might be how to handle your attraction to men. Improving intimacy within your marriage will not make you straight.

But... it should make you much less motivated to pursue sex with men.

One of the key assumptions of the "win-win" is that intimate connections make for enduring happiness. There is something fundamentally satisfying about connecting with someone on a deep and intimate level. Yet, for all of the reasons outlined above, closeted bisexual men tend to avoid intimacy with their wives. This leaves them with an interior void that aches to be filled.

Sex with men is a great outlet to fill the void. It's fun! It's also a relaxing way to be close to someone without the risk of emotional entanglement. And, it's a welcome relief to escape the burden of the closet. Of course the inspired orgasms don't hurt either.

With so much to gain from hook-ups, it might seem unrealistic to expect that improved intimacy with your wife will dull your need to pursue them, but it will. It's not every day that love, sex and genuine intimacy all come together in the form of one person, so putting that relationship at risk by hooking up with others just won't seem worth it. Why go outside your marriage if what you have within it is so satisfying?

With that said, and for as much a commitment to intimacy should improve the relationship you have with your wife, you are - and always will be - bisexual. There will be times when you'll have to fight to resist the urge to hook-up. I suggest that you give yourself a break and not fight. Instead, redirect your sexual energy. Challenge yourself to find new ways to put your wife in the mood. Or, if you're not up for that, indulge yourself with some good porn and a lengthy solo session.

Giving yourself an outlet is extremely important. Repression does not work in the long-run, it only makes you miserable. Embrace your sexuality and wallow in it - in your own private and guilt-free ways. Finding enduring happiness means keeping your balance - a happy, fulfilling marriage AND the healthy expression of the full spectrum of your sexuality.

Step Five

We'd all like to find happiness as soon as possible. Yesterday, even. But securing ENDURING happiness takes time. You can't pay attention to your wife for a month, bask in the glow of a honeymoon phase, and think your work is done. Maintaining a good relationship always takes work - you know that. But changing old habits is extremely difficult. The idea of the "win-win" is to slowly and steadily paddle your raft to the shore and reacquaint yourself with the woman you fell in love with years ago. That takes time.

If you're serious about wanting to find enduring happiness, I suggest that you give yourself at least a full year to do it. If you can remain genuinely motivated for a year, you will - unquestionably - secure the first win in the "win-win" scenario.

Conversely, if you make a short-term effort and don't follow through after some initial good results, then your chances of finding enduring happiness will be no better than they are now.

Basically, if you want the "win" you have to go "balls to the wall" for at least a year.

The Second Win

What happens if you do exactly as I suggest, for exactly a year, and you aren't any happier than when you started? What then?

Don't despair.

By making a lengthy and determined effort to rekindle genuine intimacy in your marriage, you will avail yourself to a new set of opportunities - opportunities that will grant you new ways to secure enduring happiness.

I'll explain how that is possible in the next post.

In the meantime, thanks for reading. I look forward to your comments.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Reply to a Bible Literalist

In 1999, Dr. Laura Schlessinger "America's #1 Female Talk Radio Host" outraged the LGBT community when she called homosexuality a "biological error."

Also in 1999, in response to a fax sent into her show that said pedophilia has nothing to do with sexual orientation, Dr.Laura said, "That is not true. How many letters have I read on the air from gay men who acknowledge that a huge portion of the male homosexual populace is predatory on young boys?"

Around the time of these and other ridiculous remarks, a Dr. Laura "fan" published a letter to her on the Internet. If you've never seen this letter before it's definitely worth reading:

Dear Dr. Laura,

Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God's Law. I have learned a great deal from your show, and I try to share that knowledge with as many people as I can. When someone tries to defend the homosexual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind him that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination. End of debate.

I do need some advice from you, however, regarding some of the specific laws and how to best follow them.

a) When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odor for the Lord (Lev. 1:9). The problem is my neighbors. They claim the odor is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?

b) I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her?

c) I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of menstrual uncleanness (Lev. 15:19-24). The problem is, how do I tell? I have tried asking, but most women take offence.

d) Lev. 25:44 states that I may indeed possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are purchased from neighboring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can you clarify? Why can't I own Canadians?

e) I have a neighbor who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself?

f) A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an Abomination (Lev. 11:10), it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I don't agree. Can you settle this?

g) Lev. 21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle room here?

h) Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev.19:27. How should they die?

i) I know from Lev. 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves?

j) My uncle has a farm. He violates Lev. 19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing garments made of two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester blend). He also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really necessary that we go to all the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them (Lev.24:10-16)? Couldn't we just burn them to death at a private family affair like we do with people who sleep with their in-laws (Lev. 20:14)?

I know you have studied these things extensively, so I am confident you can help. Thank you again for reminding us that God's word is eternal and unchanging. Your devoted disciple and adoring fan.

I'm still working a post about the "win win" solution for married bisexual men. I hope to be able to publish it very soon.

I hadn't intended to write about dumb 'ol Dr. Laura but when I saw this letter it was too good not to share.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Presumptuous Advice

In the post that follows this one I will offer some potentially life changing advice for married bisexual men who struggle with their sexuality and their marriage.

Normally I don't think twice about posting my opinions or advice, but recently a fellow blogger criticized my unrestrained enthusiasm. He feels that it is presumptuous of guys like us (he is also in the process of dissolving his marriage) to offer unsolicited advice to others. "People need to make their own decisions," he says. A number of other bloggers feel the same way. They have a strict rule that they don't give advice.

I don't object to their philosophy but I do think it's unfortunate. It's my belief that one of the primary reasons men read bi-married blogs is to learn how other men cope with their conflicted desires.

My blogger friend believes that readers should be free to draw their own conclusions based on what they've read of our experiences. I don't think that expectation is very practical. How many new readers are going to spend the time to read 200 entries that span several years? Not many.

To me, it seems much more reader-friendly to offer succinct advice. Things like, "Here's why you should think about issue X" or, "It's a mistake to do Y because here's what can happen." What's the problem with that?

I think the concern is, what if the advice is wrong or harmful?

Honestly, I don't think it matters very much what any blogger writes. I say this because when it comes to matters of the heart, people do what they want to do - regardless of what might be best for them and regardless of what advice they receive. This is especially true of advice dished out by anonymous bloggers on the Internet. We could hand out mountains of advice but would it matter? Not really.

So why bother?

Because I believe that blog readers are intelligent, discerning and capable people. When I give advice my hope is that I might cause at least one reader to think about an issue in a way that he or she never has before. The importance of learning new things can't be under-emphasized. New thoughts enable personal growth and personal growth leads to happiness.

Speaking of personal growth...

When my fellow blogger criticized me he said it's "ironic and ridiculous" that I so frequently give advice when my living situation is "the most fucked-up thing ever."

Harsh criticism. Criticism that turned out to be based on several key misperceptions. Misperceptions that occurred because the blogger hadn't read or remembered important details about my situation that are buried in this blog.

Which brings me to the main purpose of this post: if I'm going to offer advice then I should summarize my "credentials." That way readers can decide for themselves whether I'm a delusional hypocrite or someone who has "been there and done that" and learned from experience.

Experiences that have shaped my opinions on mixed-orientation marriages:

I came out to my wife in 1992, at the age of 26. I hadn't planned to come out at all but the guilt of hiding the truth combined with a high pressure situation caused the words to flow. Once I dropped the bombshell I assumed that my 2.5 year marriage was over. She moved out and I found a boyfriend. Yet it turned out that splitting up then was not our destiny. Starting a family and staying together for another 19 years was.

For about the first eight years after we reconciled I had friends with benefits and hook-ups, all on the down-low. I therefore know exactly what it feels like to be a cheater and to feel guilty about it. I also know what it feels like to cheat and not feel guilty.

About 10 years ago I stopped hooking up all together. I didn't stop because of love or guilt. I stopped because my marriage was fulfilling and friends with benefits were not. After nearly 20 years of on-and-off sex with men, I never expected to feel content in a straight marriage, but I did. And it wasn't something I tried to make happen, it just did.

My sexual struggle would have ended in 2002 if I was the only person who mattered in the marriage. But about six years ago, my wife started hanging out in the local bar. She's always been someone who needs A LOT of social stimulation and the bar turned out to be a comfortable place for her to hang out. At the bar she met and fell in love with a total loser. As I watched their relationship develop, I faced the choice of confronting her or letting her demons play themselves out, as I had mine. Because of the kids and because of the propensity for alcohol to fuel more drama, I decided to give her total freedom. She could do as she pleased as long as it was outside of the house and away from the kids. Was that the right thing to do? For us, yes. It turns out that no matter what I had done the outcome would have been the same - after 21 years of marriage she just wanted to be friends. Had I confronted her it just would have made for ugliness and the outcome would not have changed.

Our break-up has been completely amiable. Not one fight. No resentments. Minimal impact on the kids. It seems to me that if a couple with kids is going to break-up, we're doing it pretty well. Not perfectly, but pretty well.

For the most part, I would consider all of the above experiences "standard" for many divorced gay and bisexual married men. My story is just one more variation on the same old bi-married theme. What I think makes me very different is that the hurt of being rejected by wife caused me to do everything I could to understand the straight wife mindset. It was a struggle at first but now I get it. And ironically, I get it all the better because *I* was the undesired spouse, the same fate that many straight wives suffer.

Understanding the bisexual husband's point of view is pretty easy, especially if that's already who you are. But now that I truly understand the straight wife's perspective, I know that it's the wife who makes or breaks a troubled marriage, not the man's sexuality. For this reason some break-ups are inevitable. Some, like mine, are contingent, and some mixed marriages actually work.

Because I've lived every aspect of the mixed orientation marriage experience - from being the cheater, to the content man, to the betrayed man, to the educated man - I feel that I have a 360 degree understanding of the dynamics that make a mixed orientation marriage work - or not - for both spouses.

I've made a point of saying all this because, although it doesn't matter whether a particular reader thinks my advice is good or ridiculous, I do hope that people will consider my suggestions on their merits.

Next up: the stay in the closet and "win win."