Wednesday 22 May 2019

Help! I'm married to my wife for 15 years, but I want to be with a man

Sex therapist Emily Power Smith answers your sex-related queries and problems

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Q. Can a straight man have sex with men and still be straight?

I’m married to a woman for 15 years. Sex is fine but a bit boring and routine. She’s not into new things or experimenting so we do the same things all the time. I’ve been getting more interested in the idea of having sex with men recently and have started going to places to watch men have sex. It’s really exciting and I’ve had offers. If my wife can’t give me what I want, is it wrong to get it elsewhere?

A. The days of understanding attraction/orientation as binary are long gone, as we now know that orientation is a continuum.  At one end of the spectrum are the purely same-sex attracted, and at the other are the totally straight. The majority slide up and down the scale at different times in our lives, depending on how open we are to our fluidity. Binary labels of “gay” or “straight” can create extra blocks for those who wish to slide on the spectrum.

In Australia a large study found that 40pc of men who identify as “straight”, have sex with other men. Generally the sex they have is anonymous, unsafe and  demeaning (at least in their heads) because they’re homophobic and can’t accept that part of themselves. They’re often in heterosexual, monogamous relationships with women who have no idea. Many of these men state that they can’t ask for the sex they want from their women, and they like being able to compartmentalise sex with men as meeting a need rather than an orientation, or cheating. 

There’s nothing wrong with gay sex or being attracted to men. But your situation is more complicated than that. You’re married, so going outside the relationship without the agreement of your wife, no matter who it’s with, is not okay. It’s cheating. 

Lots of men get bored in their relationship and those that look for excitement don’t always look to men. You may be entering a new phase in your life that includes sex with men. It would be a pity to have it sullied by cheating on your wife. Tell your wife how you feel about your sex life and be clear that you need more. But before you do that, take some time to understand your attraction to men because I suspect it may be more than simple boredom.

If you want to open up the marriage and have sex with other people, she needs that information so she can choose to stay or go. Sex with other men is not the issue. Going outside the relationship without your partner’s agreement is. I wish you well.


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