Hundreds of thousands of men, Im convinced, are in heterosexual marriages and yet experience continuous or sporadic homosexual urges. Why do I think this? Because of the Internet! For years, I have used the Internet, specifically AOL, to talk to, confide in and share feelings with other married men who experience a strong desire to have sex with men. Their reasons are manyfold, and the way in which they handle these urges is just as varied.
I wont get into a discussion of the range of human sexuality, but I think its obvious that there is a spectrum. It may even resemble the Bell curve, where about 10-15% of men are completely heterosexual, 10-15% are completely homosexual, and everyone else is some mixture of the two. Or it may be that 10% are gay, another 10-15% are bisexual in their experiences, and the rest are straight.
You can read any number of studies to get a fix on human sexuality, but one thing is clear: Many men who have walked down the path of a "straight" lifestyle, choosing to marry, have children, and pursue their careers in a basically straight world, find themselves conflicted by urges to relate sexually to other men.
What, then? Ive seen men make these choices:
* Do nothing. Some men fantasize about homosexual sex and yet never pursue it. Others pursue it via online chat, looking at pornography, or engaging in banter with a buddy or acquaintance, and yet do not follow through. Men from conservative religious backgrounds often find that the belief that homosexuality is morally and Biblically wrong keeps them on the straight and narrow.
* Engage sexually with another man or men, and yet remain in the marriage. Many others, I believe, cant resist the temptation to act out their urges. Online chats and postings are the great untold story that explains why so many married men have become sexually active with other men. A married man cant very well hang out in gay bars, frequent public places where gay men congregate, or otherwise connect with another man sexually. (Most married men wouldnt choose these venues, anyway.) But an AOL chat room makes it easy (too easy?) to meet another man for sex. This certainly was my experience!
Regardless of your ethical background, its impossible not to experience tremendous guilt once this dynamic begins to take hold. Some men become obsessed with sex with other men, "hooking up" frequently during the week, on lunch breaks, on the way home from work, etc. They return to the home to deal with the consequence of their decision to pursue gay sex and remain married, keeping the secret that I believe corrodes their souls, or at the least, destroys any hope of intimacy with their wives.
*Disclose to their wives their homosexual urges, and deal with the consequences in honesty. A small, yet rapidly growing number of married men, decide to take the hardest step of all: to COME OUT. Yes, I know, this is a "gay" term that means many things to different people. Its quite simple, though: HONESTY. Men who come out to their wives come to understand the fundamental injustice to their spouses when they keep the secret of their homosexuality to themselves. They choose to take hard steps to make it right, even if it means dissolving the marriage, dealing with the impact on the children of a failed marriage, and possibly even suffering the wrath and legal consequences of a hurt and angry spouse. (I never said any of this is easy; I just have come to know it is usually best for all involved, if respect for others is an important virtue you want to live by.) My coming out story
"Gradually, I realized that coming out was an act of mature self-love, that it involved breaking the bonds of shame and claiming the right to be myself."
-- Dr. Terry L. Norman,
"Just Tell The Truth: Questions Families Ask When Gay Married Men Come Out"