Monday, January 13, 2014
Request for Advice from a Reader
During the Christmas holiday season, I received the following email request from a female reader:
I recently discovered that my husband has been watching gay porn. I feel very confused. I am afraid that if I ask him about it, he will deny it. I also don't want to make him feel ashamed about it. But I think it's something we need to discuss.
Do you have any advice on how I should handle this? Do straight men watch gay porn?
I love him and I think he loves me, but I am worried that I am not what he's looking for.
Thanks for reading this. I appreciate any words of wisdom you can give me.
Here's my response to this reader, which I share with you in the hope that, if you're going through something similar, my words will provide comfort and support.
Before you become too concerned or upset about what discovering your husband watching gay porn could mean–although I suspect you already are–you should consider the possibility that he’s nothing more than curious about what two men do together sexually. Or that he’s exploring the possibility he might be bisexual. Until you know more than you do now, I wouldn’t jump to the conclusion he doesn’t love you, or you’re not what he’s looking for.
I have never been in favor of couples not facing challenges within their relationships head-on. So, whether you’re comfortable bringing up the subject or not, and regardless of what the outcome might be, you owe it to yourself, and to your husband, to ask him about what you discovered. Initially, he might deny it; however, if you give him a safe place–that is, if you invite him to be honest, and assure him that the two of you can work through this together, no matter what–I’m sure you’ll be able to get him to open up. Your first step should be to encourage him to talk, not to confront him before knowing the facts.
I hope you’re on the same page as me when I say that, above all else, what you want to avoid is a situation where you put your head in the sand, think all of this will just go away, and believe you’ll never have to give it another thought. If you’re lucky, that might happen.
More than likely, it won't, especially if it’s not addressed in some definitive way now. You could find yourself, years down the road, when you’re even deeper into your marriage, facing the possibility that your husband is gay and needing to live the truth of what he is. That doesn’t necessarily mean you would end up getting divorced–there have been instances when marriages between men and women survive, with the wife turning a blind eye to her husband’s other life. Only you can decide for yourself if that’s something that could work for you, bearing in mind that you love this man and don’t want to lose him, and he likely loves you and doesn’t want to lose you.
You ask the question, do straight men watch gay porn? Since I’m not straight, and I don’t have many straight male friends, I can’t say for sure if they do. But, if I’m totally honest, I’d say that if a man is one hundred percent straight, I doubt he would have any interest in watching two men together. He might do it once, just for the hell of it, but I suspect he’d be disgusted by the whole thing and never do it again.
Sexuality is a complex thing. I’m aware, for example, of a heterosexual couple, where the husband was interested in being with another man, and the wife was interested in being with another woman. So, together with another couple, they explored their fantasies. While the two husbands engaged in sexual activity together, to the extent they felt comfortable, the two women watched, and vice versa. I’m not saying this is something you might ever need to consider, or that I'm recommending it. But I am saying it’s possible to remain happily married with your husband while exploring other sexual opportunities–as long as the two people involved are willing.
I hope I’ve given you something to think about. Right now, you need to sit your husband down and have a talk. If you don’t, this will continue to weigh on you. If he’s on the ball, he’s already sensed something is up. Sooner or later, you’ll find yourself having to face it, so why not do it now? Once you know what’s what, then your next step will be to work through it as a couple. Don’t expect the worst, and, above all, treat each other with respect, consideration, and love.
Thanks for your question and the opportunity to share my thoughts. I hope everything works out for both of you.