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Same sex vs opposite sex relationships for bisexuals

Discussion in 'LGBT Later in Life' started by Nickw, Aug 6, 2018.

  1. Nickw

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    So. I put my foot in it on another poster's thread about there being a difference that a bisexual feels for someone of the same sex vs someone of the opposite sex. I was accused of "minimizing gay relationships" and that suggesting there is a difference has "no place in the community". This came up with my suggestion that maybe a straight spouse would have a different view of their non-straight spouse having an affair with someone of the same sex vs someone of the opposite sex. At least that was the point I was trying to make.

    I thought I would bring this up in the "Later in Life" forum vs the "Sexuality" forum because I didn't want to make this a discussion about "heteroromantic" feelings vs strictly sexual feelings because that is not what I am wondering about. I think this takes some experience to understand that only those that have been in relationships with both men and women could understand.

    I guess I am wondering if anyone else feels this way. I know I have chatted with other married bisexual guys and some feel the way I do. But, this is the second time I have been accused of minimizing homosexuality by trying to describe my sexuality. Am I wrong about this or that this is so rare that I should just keep quiet about it?

    I'll try, one more time, to explain my sexuality...

    What I feel with a man and what I feel with a woman are unique and different. One is not more intense than the other. One is not purer. One is not more pleasurable than the other. Just different. A lot different.

    With men, I am drawn to their strength and masculinity. With women I am drawn to their softness. The way I make love is different between the two. This isn't sexualizing it. I had a boyfriend before I knew what sex even was. This is what my attraction is and what I get out of the relationships. My wife is not threatened by this because she understands that she is not responsible for providing fulfillment of all my sexual desires. Even the physical differences between men and women pull at me differently. The curves vs the hard edges. I feel them in different ways and my reaction is different. I've tried to feel what I do for a man with a woman and vice versa and it just isn't there.

    At the risk of hearing the comments that "this is why bisexuals have the reputation they do" I need to also mention that I am, perfectly, OK with a monogamous relationship with one person of one sex. I did that for 35 years. But, I also recognize how much I have grown in the past couple years being able to express the full range of my sexuality. I cannot help but feel that being able to be with both is a good thing...a really good thing.

    I feel like the "community" often doesn't respect this. That somehow, as a bisexual, that my feelings should be the same with either sex and they are just not at all.

    So...let me have it...
     
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  2. Contented

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    Nickw, I think each person’s experience is unique to that person. Personally I dont find your remarks minimizing my homosexuality in the least. It’s your experience! For me having been on both sides of the fence if you will I finding being with another man so much more on level. In my case I find having been with a man far superior to anything I ever experienced with a woman. I can longer imagine being with a woman but that is my particular experience and certainly not every gay man feels like me. You are entitled to express how you feel because you are who you are. Please keep posting.
     
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  3. smurf

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    In Queer Theroy, and I know this might not be what you want to hear, is what people call "respectability politics". Its the idea if you convince straight people that we are respectable "enough" (monogamous, white picket fence, marriage, kids, good career, etc) then you are worthy of rights.

    So to people who subscribe to the idea of respectability politics, in their eyes, you are killing the possibility of them finally being seeing as respectable people and able to have rights. That's why you are getting so much pushback to you telling your truth.

    I don't think there is anything wrong for you feeling this way. That's your truth and it doesn't take away from "the community". You shouldn't have to be the spokesperson for all of us.

    I would personally feel "eh" about it because not all men are masculine and not all women are soft, but again its your truth. Its speaks a bit to some sexism and expectations of those two genders, BUT that's what you like and that's that. If you like masculine men and feminine women then do your thing. At the end of the day, its your life and you aren't hurting anyone else.
     
  4. SweetT80

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    So...let me have it...[/QUOTE]
    This right here...I'm new at the feelings of attraction for same-sex, but this is a great explanation. When I hug my female friend I love the softness, sweet smell, sensual touch. With a man its the toughness, take charge I love. Wow. I get this!

    Mine was just wrong because I developed feelings for the same-sex while married to a man. (Whom once wanted a threesome with this female friend)
     
  5. Linning

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    You are taking the comments you received on the other thread out of context though.

    The other thread was about cheating and you were implying that because (as a bisexual) you feel different for men and women that kissing someone of the same-sex when dating someone of the opposite sex couldn't really be considered cheating.

    Of course everyone feels different things about different individuals and it's obvious that men and women don't bring the same advantages and there is no problem with (some) people wanting both as long as everyone involved has consented to it but that wasn't the case in the other thread and that's why your post annoyed people.
     
  6. Nickw

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    I never wrote that it wasn't cheating to act on your same sex desires while married without your partner's consent. In fact I wrote that I considered it cheating, so I never did, no matter how much I wanted to. But, my wife told me she didn't really feel it was the same as if I was looking for an opposite sex relationship.

    Linning. I've been told what I do with a woman is gross at, of all things, a Pride party. I was pretty much shamed into leaving for not being one of the gay guys... for not being gay enough. In this thread, everyone was "offended" at my comments even though no one asked for a clarification after being on this forum for a couple years and trying to share with other posters in the interest of helping them get to the bottom of what is going on. Instead, I get scolded for something I didn't write. I'm getting pretty tired of the reaction I get from the gay establishment. I've come to the conclusion that my sexuality is an inconvenience at best in the LGBQT scene.

    Here's what gets the hackles up....I really do feel a gay relationship can't affect my relationship with my wife. I feel that way because I feel something different for a man and a woman. It is not minimizing either. It would be so much easier if I could minimize one attraction or the other. I am, constantly, asked to do that. If I was in a primary same sex relationship, it would be reversed.

    Smurf wrote

    "In Queer Theroy, and I know this might not be what you want to hear, is what people call "respectability politics". Its the idea if you convince straight people that we are respectable "enough" (monogamous, white picket fence, marriage, kids, good career, etc) then you are worthy of rights.

    So to people who subscribe to the idea of respectability politics, in their eyes, you are killing the possibility of them finally being seeing as respectable people and able to have rights. That's why you are getting so much pushback to you telling your truth."

    I think this is my reality.
     
  7. Linning

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    This was your post:

    This is the part that got people upset. And yes, I know what you said later, but this whole sentence implied that "cheating" should be gauged on a different scale depending on whether the people involved are in a same-sex relationship or an heteronormative one and whether or not the person is bi. Which is what irritated the people, because "cheating" shouldn't be based on whether or not the people in the relationship are in a straight relationship or in a same-sex one but on if whether or not the two people are in an open or monogamous relationship, and if they are in a monogamous one whether or not the person has crossed the boundaries set and agreed by both (irrelevant of the person's sexuality and desires.)

    I am sorry that you are having a tough time because yes biphobia can be rampant in the LGBT community, and especially for bi men but I totally disagree that you got the answers you had because people fear that what you have to say would compromise what we "fought" for or could cause us to be less "right-worthy" in the eyes of white cis folks. Most people on here couldn't care less what white cis men think of us, I for sure don't, and most of us also don't really care what personal arrangement people have with their wife or husband.
    I don't think anyone got upset over your own arragement with your wife or your own vision of your sexuality/desires and your own personal truth. You are just one individual so barely enough to make us fear that your vision could impact on anyone else but you.
    What got you the comments you had was your refusal to admit that someone thinking like your wife does or like what you suggest above, is a minimization of same-sex relationship.

    Bicurious women who say "girls don't count" or straight men who think women are "no threat at all because why would a woman be with another woman when she could be with a man? " ARE completly undermining same-sex relationships.

    If a straight spouse chose to make light of their spouse's same-sex attractions/desires and betrayal (in the case of cheating) because it happened to be with someone of the same-sex instead of the opposite sex when they would have abslotuley lost their shit if the person had done it with someone of the opposite sex, they ARE miniminizing same-sex relationships and attractions.
    If you can't see why some people might be upset about that, you are going to keep on feeling victimized because what those guys did to you at pride (which wasn't right) is what your wife and other people who have similar thinking are doing to, most of the time, queer women by implying that they aren't playing on the same scale. Yet a lot of the biphobia in the community is based on the fact that gay/lesbian, perceive cheating (and the risk of being cheated on) with a certain gender as worse than the being cheated on with the other, and yet this is a concept you/your wife seem to support.
     
    #7 Linning, Aug 7, 2018
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2018
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  8. Nickw

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    I won't belabor the issue of how my response was misinterpreted because I, perhaps, poorly wrote it regarding the issue of "cheating" except to point out that I was trying to cut the OP some slack because I know when one is married and dealing with the newness of discovering your same sex desires are real, or that they are more important than you realized, you are smacked up the side of the head and you make bad decisions. That's why I think this "cheating" should be looked at differently...that's all.

    That said. None of your characterizations above "girls don't count" etc are anything that I've felt. So, if that is what you are reading from my posts, then I completely apologize. I have three gay siblings and have fought for gay rights and gay marriage for decades. I have been physically threatened for standing up to bullies who threatened a gay couple. I have tried to help other guys navigate coming out to their wives and to avoid discreet relationships and the damage it causes.

    I guess there is no way I can explain this that I cannot be accused of "minimizing" same sex relationships or digging a deeper hole...All I will say is that believing same sex relationships and opposite sex relationships can coexist without threatening the other is valid and does not minimize the importance of either one. So, taking that one step further....If my wife had an affair (not discreetly) with a woman I would respect the importance of that relationship; but, not, necessarily, jump to the conclusion that it is a threat to our relationship because I know it COULD generate different emotions than our relationship does. If she was in the process of discovering her sexuality, I would cut her some slack if she cheated...just sayin. Maybe, I'm the only guy who feels this way and tossing it out as a possibility was, obviously, a really bad idea.
     
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  9. Linning

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    And I fully agree with that actually (minus the cutting someone some slack because they are discovering their sexuality).

    My problem isn't with people who feel their wife's encounter with a woman isn't threatening to their relationship.

    it's not about considering a same-sex relationship a "threat" or not.

    It's about someone, considering a certain encounter more or less of a danger on the sole basis of the gender the person is having an encounter with.

    If in your scenario, you were okay with your wife having a same-sex encounter but would be totally unhappy with your wife having a sexual encounter with another man, in the EXACT SAME conditions she would have had the sexual encounter with a woman, I would be compelled to ask you (or whoever reacted that way) a few questions. Like why be upset over her having an encounter with another man when you are fine with her having one with a woman? Is it because you find her having a relationship with a man more "threatening" to your relationship than her having sex with a woman, if so, why? Don't you think a women could awake the same things/feelings you are scared your wife might feel/discover when with another man and cause the exact same result? If not, why?


    The "you" above are obviously not directed at you specifically but the scenario I am describing above is extremely frequent and it's something that bother me because it's often something that has no basis other than the person's own insecurities over one gender and usually end up undermining the validity of a certain type of relationship.

    If you ask someone who is biphobic why they are biphobic they will say that it's because they don't want to be cheated on with someone of the opposite sex, and when you ask them why that would be worse than being cheated on with someone of the same-sex they can't answer. If you ask a straight woman if it's worse to be cheated on with another woman or with a man, she is most likely to reply with another man (mostly out of 'disgust' of gay sex and clichés surrounding gay-sex and gay/bi men), if you ask a straight man if it worse to be cheated on with another man vs a woman, he will likely answer another man because he will find it a bigger afront than a sexual encounter with another woman.

    None of the reasons above make sense, they all stem from insecurities and prejudice the people on the receiving end of those "ideas"/thoughts.

    I would be equally upset if I was cheated on with a man or a woman, and I would be equally fine if my partner decided to have sex with men and/or woman if in an open relationship, I wouldn't find one more threatening than the other because they shouldn't be, they should either be equally threatening or not at all. So yes, the two should be able to cohexist but it requires communication and trust and acknowledging that both could equally damage your relationship (maybe in different ways depending on the people involved) if those two things cease to exist. Unfortunately not many people actually really feel that way.


    Would your wife, for example, actually be okay with you having similar encounters to the ones she would be okay with you having with men, with other women or do you think it would trigger a totally different reaction in her, and if so why ? and can you see how this change of reaction (rightly or wrongly) could be perceived by some?
     
    #9 Linning, Aug 7, 2018
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2018
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  10. Nickw

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    This is a fair question I will try and articulate

    .
    "If in your scenario, you were okay with your wife having a same-sex encounter but would be totally unhappy with your wife having a sexual encounter with another man, in the EXACT SAME conditions she would have had the sexual encounter with a woman, I would be compelled to ask you (or whoever reacted that way) a few questions. Like why be upset over her having an encounter with another man when you are fine with her having one with a woman? Is it because you find her having a relationship with a man more "threatening" to your relationship than her having sex with a woman, if so, why? Don't you think a women could awake the same things/feelings you are scared your wife might feel/discover when with another man and cause the exact same result? If not, why?"

    I do not feel the same thing with a man that I feel with a woman. So, if my wife was bisexual and she feels the same sort of difference with a woman that I feel with a man I would, quite honestly, be thrilled for her. If she was able to feel for me what I feel for her and also have this other ability to feel something totally different and totally enthralling, with a woman, I would never want to get in the way of that because of some sort of pride issue.

    If she wanted a man to get this, I would be upset that she didn't come to me and had us work on what is missing in our relationship. If I became impotent, and she really needed a man to provide her what I no longer could, it would hurt my feelings but I would learn to accept it. Although, I would never seek a woman if my wife couldn't have sex due to health issues. I could never hurt her like that. Would I feel threatened if my wife was with another man. I suppose I would because, for me at least, I would only seek another woman because something was wrong in my relationship with my wife. I would seek a man (or her a woman) because it is different.

    The most important part of our marriage is to be sure the other is happy. Having an intimate male friend makes me happy. So, my wife is fine with this.
     
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  11. Linning

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    But see, I find it interesting (and telling) that you say the only reason you would stray is to be with someone who provides a different experience than the one your wife can offer you, yet you seem to have a harder time admitting that another man could also provide her with a different experience than the one you offer her, in the same way a woman would as everyone of us happen to be individuals with unique sets of characteristics, without it being a threat and without it meaning your marriage is rocky or you needing to be impotent.

    So it goes back to my question, "don't you think a woman could awake the same things/feelings you are scared your wife might feel/discover when with another man and cause the exact same result? If not, why?", why would you feel more hurt and threathened if she was to have sex with Joseph than with Josephine, why would you find it more of a betrayal if she was to go to Joseph for sex if you were impotent than to Josephine, wouldn't she be as likely to leave you for Josephine if she can actually please her sexually, than she would for Joseph, if you don't fulfill her needs? Or do you subconsciously believe that she would be more likely to work on your marriage and stay with you/stick through it when with Josephine than she would with Joseph as her friend with benefit and that's actually why you would feel more threatened?

    I am asking out of curiosity right now, not necessarily to make a point, those are questions that are popping through my head while reading your answer and because I am interesting in human's psychology and in finding out why people feel the way they do, I am asking them away, you obviously do not have to answer them though if you feel uncomfortable doing so, I am just genuinely curious about your thoughts process on these types of scenarios and the feelings behind them as a bisexual man who happens to be in a (semi?) open-relationship.

    So much for not having asked you for clarifications on the other thread hey! :wink: haha
     
  12. Nickw

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    I guess I don't feel a different man would do for my wife what a man would do for me because of this distinct difference I feel and I assumed, apparently falsely, that other bisexuals feel. If my wife wanted a different man, she could leave me and find it. If I want a man, and my wife doesn't approve of that, I can leave her for a man and then wish I had a woman. To be crude....my wife doesn't have a penis and I don't want her to have one because then she wouldn't have a vagina...and vice versa for her.

    This is not really how I feel because it sexualizes it and that is only part of the equation. The feelings for either sex go way deeper than that. In fact, I'm not all that hot on m2m sex. I do love the bonding with men that is involved and the sharing of the experience because I know what the man is feeling and that is very compelling to me and one of the differences in how I relate to men and to women.

    Are my wife and I the best lovers ever for each other? Of course not. But, I don't seek an m2m relationship for only sex. I seek it for this other intimacy that is based on strength and is earthy and primal and urgent. With women the intimacy is deep and comfortable and I feel protective and sheltering. I'm distinctly straight and distinctly gay. There is very little cross over.

    So. Here's the problem with my situation. What if I fall in love with a man and he needs me to be his one and only? This is where all of this goes to hell. This may be the problem for the OP in the other thread. You play with fire, especially, when you are trying to explore your sexuality. So, I only have intimacy with other married men who are out to their wives, with young guys where the relationship is unsustainable except as friends, or with partnered gay men where I am friends with each of them. Or better yet, a couple of bisexuals I know that visit a couple times a year. So, the relationships never can develop to the level that my wife and I have even though I am capable of it. So, in this sense, I am minimizing MY same sex relationships but I don't feel that in general I am minimizing other same sex couple's relationships.
     
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  13. merry

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    @Nickw you raised some very good points here, really appreciate you starting a new thread to discuss this further. i am in a mixed orientation marriage and only fully realized my sexuality after committing and starting a family with my husband. we haven’t opened our marriage, but so many of the things you mentioned have been discussed in one way or another... and i don’t feel at all that these topics are what perpetuates bi erasure or biphobia any more than the rumors or stereotypes from a few individual experiences...

    funny how individuals, who are in categories that are discriminated against, are also upheld to live their lives proving otherwise.

    interestingly, i heard an interview on a podcast recently where the host ( a lesbian) asked the guest why she felt her bisexuality was being discriminated in both the herero and gay communities and neither of them could come up with real life scenarios, the guest had mainly felt that way from media and articles online!

    podcast was queery and the quest was kathy tu (spelling?) from the podcast nancy. both great listens.
     
    #13 merry, Aug 9, 2018
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  14. Nickw

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    Merry

    I am curious. As a bisexual, who remains married, do you sense that you could have different sorts of relationships with men and with women?

    As a side note. I have had a couple of instances where my sexuality was diminished. One was at a Pride event that I attended with my wife. The woman at the registration commented that it was great that members of the "hetero" community are there for support. So, I corrected her and told her I was bisexual and there with my wife. The woman was speechless and the whole scene was very embarrassing. I know that this doesn't seem like much. But, on top of the dance that night where I was dissed for liking vagina still I was feeling pretty alone and unrepresented. I won't go to Pride again.

    Anyway. I hope my experiences are not typical for bisexuals when they try to engage the community. I will have to listen to that pod cast...Thanks.
     
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  15. merry

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    Nick,
    yes. i do feel that could be a possibility, for me, however, at this time it doesn’t feel right. it is funny because in our marriage we have not made so many decisions based off of it feeling like “the right time” as much as just diving in and seeing how things work out.. and i am talking some pretty big decisions. maybe, though, that is why? because we are still working those things out?

    i have a chronic illness and so my time and energy is quite limited... our kids are young and it takes much of my focus and energy to keep up with them. i feel a bit like spreading my affection any thinner would be directly taking from their experiences.. though i do often wonder if it could, in fact, add to our experiences. to have the softer type of love i give returned into our, or my, love bank... my illness has also very much changed the dynamic of our marriage.

    i had a similar experience with our local Pride.. not the party part, but the registration thing. i was told preference was given to people “in the community” when i signed up to be a paying vendor. note, i had written my mixed orientation marriage situation on the application and we had openly donated to the organization previously. (as in through direct communication with the head of the organization)... it has made me avoid events. however i am considering going back, because i think showing up and maybe showing the scene to my kids (and others who look up to us and need some bi visibility) that we belong... maybe.

    i am so sorry to hear about your pride experience, i would like to think it just happened to be the specific people you saw that day...
    but...
    queer phobia is very prevalent in the queer community and maybe it is a big part of bi erasure and biphobia. i believe that experimenting is great! lying not so much.. i don’t think lying (cheating) is limited to bisexuals or more common amongst us.. and is very much present in the heterosexual and/or gay relationship world, just as much, if not more so than amongst bisexuals and the problem is in fact dishonesty itself, not bisexuality.

    perhaps people want to make assumptions because of media, personal experience.. etc. in my personal experience i have never cheated on a partner, but have been lied to and cheated on by heterosexual male partners..
     
    #15 merry, Aug 10, 2018
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  16. merry

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    @Nickw oh, and the queery podcast is a really good one! cameron esposito is a fantastic host and has many interesting guests. i would recommend it to anyone.

    nancy is another great podcast.
     
  17. dirtyshirt84

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    Just wanted to say this is very relevant to me as I’m also Bi and in a mixed orientation marriage and have had serious relationships with both men and women.

    Sometimes I feel my sexuality is invisible or being erased more than anything else and I have faced some discrimination from the community but to be honest a lot of support too. Perhaps more than anything Bi visibility is a problem. We are definitely not as well represented as either L or G!

    Everyone makes a lot of good points. I don’t have time to write more just now but will definitely come back to this later!
     
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  18. dirtyshirt84

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    I think I understand what you mean Nick in that - am I right in saying - you get different needs met by men and women? I feel a little bit of that too although I have had periods of being very happily monogamous in relationships with both a man and previously with a woman. If feel either a man or woman could meet all of my needs but of course sometimes it doesn't work out like that. After 10 years with my husband I definitely miss aspects of being with a woman.

    I'm also quite attracted to gender stereotypes - feminine women and masculine men - so the attraction is different. Again this is just my experience and I know it wont be the same for all bisexuals.

    I have had quite a lot of support from people in the community that I have told and that has meant a lot to me. I feel like people who make you feel as though you as not 'gay enough' or don't belong are just assholes. Especially now as a lot of younger people identify as queer or pansexual and don't feel a need to define their sexuality to the same extent.

    I think sometimes being bisexual is hard because its not quite one thing and not quite the other. Its like sitting on the fence and people want you to pick a side. I suppose we benefit from straight privilege if you like but the flip-side of that is bi invisibility or erasure.

    Maybe people assume that bisexuals would be more likely to cheat as there is a wider pool of people we might be attracted to but that is just ridiculous really...
     
    Nickw, regkmc and merry like this.
  19. SevnButton

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    Hey @Nickw - I have never perceived any of your posts to be anything other than respectful, supportive and inquisitive. Post on!

    In my admittedly limited experience, I was struck with how the sexual energy I experienced within myself was the same, whether I was having sex with a man or a woman.

    As far as my wife's sensibilities go, I don't think she'd be any more comfortable with me having sex with a man than with a woman. Either way, she'd feel left out and as though someone else was doing something that was her responsibility. It wouldn't matter that a guy could provide something that she can't, in fact that would make her feel more inadequate. She believes she IS responsible for fulfilling all of my sexual desires, to the point that she's offended if I self-satisfy.
     
  20. Nickw

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    Svenbutton

    Thanks. What I have found so interesting as I have learned about my sexuality and having dozens of conversations with other men and women is how different we all feel and how different our sexual needs and desires are.

    So, i often wonder how it all works. How does a couple stay together for 50 years and have total sexual satisfaction with one person? How can one person satisfy their partner and why do they feel responsible for it?

    In my case, my wife claims she gets everything she needs from me. She has grown to understand, but not resent, that it isn't that way for me. I don't believe in cheating...that's not fair...but, I also wondered, before I came out, how fair it was to me to spend my life only partially sexually satisfied.

    I hope your wife learns what mine did...if that's what you want and need. But, it is so individualized.

    I have a gay friend who has a partner who is a different "position". They've asked me to provide what is missing for this guy. I haven't talked to my wife about this and I am a bit uncomfortable about going there. But, I can't help but think this would be a healthy thing yet breaks all the rules.