Thursday, January 23, 2014

Bisexuality: "just a layover on the way to gay town"

From "Sex and the City", Season 3, Episode 4:
Carrie: You know, I'm not even sure bi-sexuality exists. I think it's just a layover on the way to gay town.
Miranda: Isn't that right next to Ricky Martinville?
Many people, both straight and gay, agree with Carrie.  In their eyes, "bi" is a label of convenience, not a label of fact. Bisexuals are gays who can't (or won't) admit the truth.  They're in denial - and that's their biggest problem - not their sexuality.

What's so bad about denial?

The argument is that if you're actually gay, not bi, and can't admit it, you can never be genuinely happy. Instead you live a life of permanent dissatisfaction.  Sometimes you're pissed off for reasons you can't explain.  Other times you're depressed and lonely, even when you're surrounded by the people you love.

Speaking of loved ones... they're the innocent victims of denial.  Unhappiness has a way of spreading, like a disease.  You might not kick the dog or yell at the kids because you're in denial, but everyone instinctively knows you're an unhappy person.  That affects the way they interact with you, and the way you interact with them.

Straight spouses bear the burden of denial more than anyone else.  If you can never be happy, how can she?  Can you express authentic love and desire for her, or, do you unintentionally make her feel like last week's leftovers?  Even during the best of times, many straight spouses know something isn't quite right.

Being forever unfulfilled might be sad...or frustrating...or silently hurtful to others...but what people fear most about denial is that it's a temporary stage.  Inevitably, it's assumed, there will come a day when the truth is revealed...

...and when it is...

the shit will hit the fan.

Shit hitting the fan - that, in a nutshell, is why denial is assumed to be bad.

In my previous post, I wrote about a straight wife who believes her husband's bi polar disorder caused him to have gay fantasies.  Her proof is that the gay fantasies disappeared once the bi-polar condition was treated.

That sounds like wishful thinking to me. While I can believe that being depressed might cause normally repressed gay fantasies to surface, I don't believe same sex attractions are actually caused by being bi polar.

I think this woman is in denial.  I think she wants to believe her husband is entirely straight, even though he obviously is not.

Here's the thing though - does it matter?  If she desperately WANTS to believe her husband is straight, why is that a problem?  Other than herself, who is she at risk of hurting?

I also wonder if those of us "in the know" have a moral responsibility to tell others when we think they're in denial.  For example, if a straight wife says, "My husband used to masturbate to gay porn and he even hooked with a guy in the past, but I *KNOW* he only did those things because he was lonely and depressed," are we helping her if we tell her she's delusional?

I'm asking this because it seems pretty obvious to me that straight men, authentically straight men at least, do not watch gay porn and they certainly don't hook-up with other men, ever.  Therefore, if a straight wife refuses to believe such blatant behaviors aren't good enough proof that her husband is turned on by men, is there anything a stranger could say that would convince her otherwise?  I don't think there is.  And really, I wonder if there's any good that could come from trying.

Do you agree?  Should straight spouses be left to their fantasies until harsh reality bites them in the ass?  Or, is their blind loyalty so well-intentioned that when it happens, others need to step in and make them aware of what they're setting themselves up for? 

Please share your thoughts below.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Being Bi Polar Can Make You Have Gay Fantasies

Recently, an anonymous straight wife posted the following comment on the post The Blame Game: Married Bisexual Men and their Wives:
My husband thought he was bi - he had a male relationship prior to our meeting 20 years ago that he told me about. We are now 7 years past discovering he had been having bi fantasies on participating in an online chat room.

Now our marriage and relationship is stronger than ever. We also have discovered his "hyper sexuality" was due to bi polar disease. Treat the bi polar and guess what? The gay sex fantasies subsided.

So what's most important is getting to the root of the issue. Is a husband gay? bi? They apparently are very different. And are there any underlying, untreated areas that could be bringing out this need to explore? We worked with a therapist who had experience in these issues exclusively - which I'd recommend. Not just any ole therapist down the street.
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Has anyone else heard that being bi polar causes gay fantasies in otherwise straight men?  If so, I'd like to know more about it.

I did an Internet search on the subject and this interesting article on About.com was the first hit.  Among other things, the article says:
The myth that bipolar (also called manic-depressive) disorder is linked with homosexuality is rampant. It’s easy to understand why: gay folks do sometimes suffer from bipolar disorder and sometimes they get depressed when life-altering situations arise. But guess what?! Straight people are bipolar and depressed as well.

There is no direct connection between depression and bipolar disorder and homosexuality. Being gay does not make you bipolar. Being bipolar does not make you gay. So where does the myth come from? There are some indirect connections between behaviors. For instance, when a bipolar individual is in the ‘manic’ phase, he is more likely to let his guard down. He may sleep around more, show less interest in safe sex, and behave in ways that he might otherwise feel shameful of. Gay men may be thought to be manic, in this sense, because of our association with promiscuity. Please note: straight bipolar people act in similar, if not identical, ways when they are in manic phase.

It is worth noting that homosexuality, as any LGBT person will attest, does not suddenly happen one day. We do not wake up on a Tuesday thinking, “Today, I’m gay.” Scientists now believe that sexual orientation and sexual preferences are formed while a fetus is still in development in the mother’s womb. By the time the child is born, his or her preferences are already developed, even if these preferences might not display themselves for many years. Depression and bipolar disorder likely do not work this way. While children may be born with mental illnesses, typically these illnesses are brought on by life-shattering events, such as death, disease, or loss. So while depression and bipolar may sometimes overlap with homosexuality, there is no scientific link. 
Although the article begins by saying that the connection between being gay and being bi polar is a myth, a later paragraph supports the straight wife's claim - sort of.

It says, "When a bipolar individual is in the 'manic' phase, he is more likely to let his guard own.  He may ... behave in ways that he might otherwise feel shameful of." 

So, if a bi-polar husband is ashamed of his attraction to men, and he's in a manic phase, he might actually have far more frequent and intense gay fantasies than he usually does, simply because his guard is down.  That means if the bi-polar condition is successfully treated then the gay fantasies might, in fact, actually subside.

Another possibility is that the man is simply lying. 

If your wife very much wants to hear that your gay fantasies have gone away, wouldn't a new medication be the perfect excuse to tell her you're cured?  "Case closed, honey.  The gay is gone!"

Which is it? Less mania which causes greatly intensifies the fantasies, or, telling an upset wife what she wants to hear?  Please share your thoughts on the subject in the comment box below.