Dear Mary: I'm missing out on sex with my wife, so now I'm turning to men
I am a 50-something man married for over 25 years to a wonderful woman whom I love completely. We have a couple of kids ranging from early to late teens. The trouble for me is that while our sex life has never been what you would call regular (I think because we both have no experience other than ourselves), in the last two years it has essentially been extinct. What's worse for me is that I feel we are drifting apart.
We are both very hard-working people and have a shared vision of doing our best for the kids to give them the opportunities we never had, given our working-class backgrounds and having to struggle with little help from anybody.
Lately I've taken to fantasising about sex with anyone (male/ female/ group) and have registered on a few sites that facilitate gay/ bi/ group profiles and I've found that I have a growing fascination with older males. I feel myself drawn more to wanting to engage in sexual activity of this nature. I've also recently meddled in Skyping with some older guys from one of these sites, just chatting initially and watching them masturbate and also I've masturbated on camera with one or two that I have come to fancy.
I've always been very careful not to show my face as I'm acutely aware of how small this little island is and I would be devastated if my family discovered this side of me. However, the problem I now face is whether to take this to a new level and meet one of these older guys I have become so fond of, as I know if I do, it will lead to the bedroom as I am very attracted to one of them in particular.
So do I explore this side of my sexuality which I would have never considered until the last couple of years, or do I keep going as I am, feeling so isolated and missing the intimacy we had (albeit not very often).
I believe my partner loves me and I do still get the occasional 'look' that hooked me the first time I set eyes on her all those year ago.
The privacy of my family is of the utmost importance to me and even clicking 'Send' has me anxious, but I feel the need to get this off my chest as I've actually for the first time 'said' how I feel.
Mary replies: I appreciate how difficult this must be for you and what a big step it is to actually verbalise what has been going on in your head for some time.
You have gone from fantasising about sex with anyone at all - male, female or groups - to having what I would call virtual sex with some older men. This in itself is going beyond fantasy and you now find yourself one step away from making all this a reality and meeting up with one of these men to whom you find yourself attracted.
You are in effect contemplating going from 'bi-curious' to bi-sexual. But labels are just that and of no real help to you.
One could explain all of this by saying that as your sex life had totally diminished you went searching for some excitement. But what led you to male/male sex when your only experience up until now was heterosexual? This is something that would be worth exploring with a therapist.
The sexual urge is a very strong one - in this way the future of the human race is assured - and my experience of clients with stories somewhat similar to yours is that they almost always followed their urges despite the consequences. However, you are well aware of what you stand to lose and so you should talk to your wife and tell her that you feel you are drifting apart and ask if there is anything you can do to get closer again.
If there is more emotional intimacy, then sexual intimacy should follow but first you need to know her thoughts on where the relationship has faltered.
If you feel closer to her then it may be that you feel more fulfilled, and the interest in pursuing male/male sex may subside. You owe it to both of you to do everything you can to keep your marriage healthy. But be careful of what you wish for - it may not turn out to be all that you had hoped.
You can contact Mary O’Conor anonymously by visiting www.dearmary.ie or email her at email@example.com or write c/o 27-32 Talbot Street, Dublin 1. All correspondence will be treated in confidence. Mary O’Conor regrets that she is unable to answer any questions privately.
Sunday Indo Living