Joe Kort has been treating and writing about gender and sexual orientation issues for nearly three decades.
This population is the focus of his new and much needed book: I am pleased that Joe has written this book, as I have had to deal with these questions in my own practice relatively often, as have many other therapists. I recently spoke with Joe about the book, and I wanted to share a few of his thoughts below. What prompted you to write this book? There are two main reasons. Number one is the high incidence of male-female couples entering my office because the woman thinks her man might be gay.
There are some basic questions that I ask. These are covered in detail in the book. Most gay or bisexual men will say yes. Straight men will say no.
They almost never report youthful noticing. Another thing that I look for is homophobia. I threaten their sense of denial. The straight guys are not like that at all. The final thing that I ask about is romance. Who does the man want to go to dinner and a show with, who does he want to spend the holidays with, who does he want to wake up next to in the morning?
A gay guy wants to do all of that with a man, a bisexual guy might want a man or a woman, and the straight guy wants to only be with a woman in that way. The Internet is doing it. Usually the wife discovers his history on the computer. Craigslist is where they go. What are the psychological underpinnings for this behavior?
For the straight men, the most common reason is sexual abuse. I call this returning to the scene of the sexual crime. Usually the way I find this out is I ask: What exactly are you doing? The second reason is kink. They might be into BDSM or they might be into power exchange, and they think they can only find that with a man. Or they might be into cuckholding, where two men and a woman are engaged in sexual play but one man is submissive and the other guy is dominant and the submissive guy gets the dominant guy hard.
But the gay man cares. This can be tough for the woman to understand because male and female sexuality is so different. Another factor is father hunger. So they go find a guy who will take care of that for them. And then they ask me if this makes them gay. Do the men in these relationships usually want to stay together? And the wives do, too. What advice do you give to these couples? So I try to help them understand that this is about sexual abuse, or father hunger, or kink, or some other unexpressed need.
Sometimes the relationship actually gets stronger over time as the partners develop compassion and understanding for one another. If the man is gay, the relationship has less of a chance of survival.
About a third of these mixed-orientation marriages end in divorce right away. In another third the couple stays together for two years and then divorces. And in the final third, half stay together long-term and half still end in divorce. The reason is that the guy really is gay and he wants to express that sexually and romantically. However, more and more of these couples are deciding to stay together, mostly after the age of In might depend on how bi he really is.
Some guys are mostly heterosexual, and the marriage has a better chance in those cases. That might last for two months or two years, and then it may recede, but this typically causes all kinds of problems in the marriage.
What advice do you have for the women in these relationships? I always advise the women, and I write about this in the book, to not need all the details of what their man has done. I also want them to know that the marriage can survive. These are his issues, not hers, even though they can and usually do affect her and her relationship rather profoundly.
He is author of Cruise Control: Jennifer Schneider of both Untangling the Web: For more information you can visit his website, www.