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Thursday, August 31, 2006

 

Comments on "mixed attraction marriage"

An anonymous commenter left these thoughts on my Ex-ex-gay? post. I thought they were refreshing in their honesty and provide another perspective not often heard. I wanted to give this point of view some additional exposure so with the permission of the gentleman who made the remarks, here they are:

I'm not worried about Dr. T "endorsing" these marriages. Surely he will not be endorsing each and every one of them, encourageing ALL such couples to marry and follow the advice he comes up with.

Then, it must ultimately come down to the individuals, their evaluation of their relationship in light of hopefully honest communication and the best information they can come by. Happiness, as an individual or as a couple, is dependent on many different factors, and different factors for different folks, and, from what some writers have said, factors that may change over time.

Personally, I do not see a "mis-match" of sexual orientations as necessarily, eventually detrimental to a relationship. People have many different conceptions of sexuality, spirituality, relationships, and, yes, happiness. Does the man or woman who is primarily attracted to the same sex (yes, sexually) have a fighting chance within the context of his/her marriage and social circumstances to continue to grow as an integrated, whole person, especially including in terms of sexual orientation, personal identity and meaning, and self-esteem? Part of the answer may also lie in the past social circumstances of childhood and adolescence, in which the psyche and self-esteem of the gay individual is in formation. (My preference for terminology is revealed: I'm gay, to me we're all gay who have shared a particular internal experience -- which varies amongst individuals, no doubt -- as we were growing up, WITHIN a social environment that supported things like shame, denial, repression... in those who did not fit THE MOLD.

Admittedly, I am only 13 yrs. and two children into a "mixed orientation marriage". Ironically, since having children and going back to work full-time when I took over as Mr. Mom 7 yrs ago, it is my wife who is less interested in sex than I am. I will add that I never set out to become any less gay than I was during the six years in my twenties when I was Out, and socially and politically active. I kept my gay friends, the ones who kept me anyway, and my gayness has continued to be an open topic of discussion with my wife, my parents, good friends, etc. More recently, I've been making some new gay friends through support groups. What I did do was change my behavior, and some mental habits that tended to focus my mind on the importance of bodies, sexual attractions, and satisfying my "needs". For me (so far) spiritual needs, relationships, identity, transcend the physical and psychological. (The primary stimulus for my motivation and spiritual development has been the Baha'i Faith.) While I did not set out to change my sexual orientation, I have found that it's evolved somewhat over the years of being married, say from 95%/5% toward other men/women, to about 85%/15%. But, more importantly, if it's not about my wife, my mind doesn't linger too long, or attach too much importance to it. I wouldn't deny that this issue is an added source of stress for me and my wife and our marriage. But we share a strong commitment to faith and marriage and family, we work through issues and toward greater emotional intimacy like any couple that's trying to make things work for the best.

These are my views at the moment, but I can certainly understand how others would see things differently and appreciate the perspectives that have been shared here.

Comments:
I believe that some men who are primarily gay (like the 95%/5% example above) certainly are capapble of forming a meaningful and satisfying marital relationship with a woman.

Now his orientation is moving more towards bisexuality, even though he admits he is predominately gay. Good for him. What's the point?

This isn't really a change in orientation. He was and still is bisexual. Nothing wrong with that or that he (with his low sex drive) and his wife (who doesn't really care much for sex anyway)are happy together. I wish them well.

It is not unusual at all for a primarily gay men to hook up with a lovely and giving low-sexed straight woman. The companionship can be very satisfying. I know. I did it myself.
 
Here's the thing. I would have no problem with EXODUS, NARTH ot other reparative therapists if they were as honest about "change" as this gentleman is.

Why not just level with the public and say "OK, we admit it. We don't really change anyone's orientation. Nobody is really "Ex-gay".

"The vast majority of our clients never really develop primarliy hetersexual attraction or become "straight" in the common sense of that word."

"But we believe that it wrong (Biblically) to engage in ANY sort of sexual behavior outside of monogamous, heterosexual marriage. So, we help our clients either abstain completely from sex or modify their behavior and feelings ENOUGH that they may be able to stay in a tradtional "straight" marriage."

That would be a reasonable and truthful thing to say.
 
Micahel B:

We'd probably also suggest adding something along the lines of

We realise these people tend to be unique individuals, responding in a way that is most satisfying for their own lives. It would be foolish, if not cruel, to even suggest that any and all gay men or lesbians could -- let alone should -- be compelled into making the same sort of decision.

That would be as foolish and cruel as suggesting that these unique individuals likewise prove that any heterosexual is capable of entering into and enjoying a gay relationship.


Then we'd have something "reasonable and truthful" and sensible :)

Then, perhaps, drawing a parallel to those heterosexuals who appear more than capable of "behaving homosexually" in a threatening prison environment, or working in street prostitution when destitute.

Ahh, the power of threats and bribes...
 
I truly believe that the key to having a mixed orientation work is that the husband MUST have a genuine sexual (not just romantic/emotional) attraction to his wife.

If he does, then the chances of success are greatly increased. The problem is when the husband is not aroused by his wife, no matter how hard she tries to turn him on. At the end of the day, its the sexual incompatibility which ultimately ruins these marriages.
 
(this isn't really a comment on just this post, as the posts above mine are fairly balanced)

I'm confused...

some exexgays who were once married say "my sexlife with my wife was not great, I didn't desire her, but we managed somehow, until I couldn't fool myself anymore".

Then others say "our sexlife was great, I loved her, etc., but I still couldn't get away from the fact that I'm gay, and so I left for a man".

So what is it to be gay then?

I've read so many different peoples opinion now on what it means to be gay, if there is such a thing as a bisexual, etc., etc., and I really can't see how one person can say to another; "you're fooling yourself, you might love your wife now, and you might have a good sexlife now, but you'll in time know that you're gay, and so you'll leave your marriage for a guy."

Also; I don't see how anyone can say "everyone can change, if only you try hard enough"

It seems to me (and I was confused enough before I started reading about these issues) that sexuality is so much more complex than what each of you (or me) has experienced to be true for us/work for us, and so we should wish each other good luck instead of saying "this is the truth, get real!"

On the issue of sexuality, it seems to me that few statements or facts can be set in stone...

Einy
 
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