QuestionMark? #86

Dear Mark,

I’m writing you this letter because I’ve become unnerved at the way gay life if represented in the media. Well not how actually but “who”. I was okay when Eric McCormac, a straight man played gay in the tv show Will and Grace. I was even okay the other guy, Sean Hayes, who plays his gay sidekick Jack, told the press he didn’t want to discuss his private life. I mean, I think we all know the guy is gay. I just respect his right not to want to talk about it. But then it started happening all over.

 

There’s the embarrassing spectacle of Bravo Channel’s Boy Meets Boy show where some of the gay participants are secretly straight and trying to pass as gay. Half the guys on Queer as Folk are straight. Every actor who has played gay has made a point to mention his heterosexuality in interviews while flaunting his pretty blonde wife or girlfriend.

 

Even the porn industry has gotten in on it. Half of those guys we’re paying to watch have sex with other men are actually straight. They downplay it for our benefit but if you do a little investigating you find out the true story. I’m sorry but if I’m going to watch two men have sex on screen, I want to know that both of them are actually into each other. It totally turns me off to think that one of the guys might only be in it for the money.

 

Signed, a very gay Robert, West Palm Beach

 

Dear Robert,

I understand your concern. I feel your pain. But let’s get a few things, ahem, straight here. First, gay guys have been playing straight since the beginning of time much less in the movies. Of course the first is about fear and oppression and the latter is about opportunism. But even if you take that into concern we have taken big steps in the representation of gay men and women in the media. Although there are straight men and women playing gay, there are also a good number of gay men and women playing gay. I personally don’t think it should matter one way or the other. Good theatre is good theatre regardless of the orientation of the actor. But I understand your point and sometimes it does make a difference.

 

When Brian and Justin kiss on Queer as Folk, we all know that one is heterosexual in real life and one is homosexual. You could say it takes away from the authenticity of the kiss. I for one don’t think so.   Some guys have even gone so far as to say the knowledge that the actor who plays Brian is straight makes the sex scenes between he and Justin even hotter. The same goes for your argument about porn. Some guys really like it that one of the models happens to be straight. Is it internalized homophobia as some would suggest? I’m not so sure about that.   I think it’s a mixed bag.

 

That being said, the honest representation of gay people in the media continues to grow. The success of this year’s Queer Eye for the Straight Guy proves this point. These guys are gay and proud of it AND people still want to watch. The sheer idea that Bravo would want to air an all gay oriented show like Boy Meets Boy speaks volumes to our growth as a culture. Rosie O’Donnell’s revelation about her sexuality woke much of middle America up. Everyone really liked her and these people were forced to think about their own ideas about sexuality because now they had a very familiar, likeable face to attach it to. I understand your frustrations but try to keep focused on the progress we have made.

 

Dear Mark,

I just am able to write about my experience at the White Party in South Beach this year. I went with a group of friends and was expecting a great weekend full of parties and handsome men. There was plenty of both to be had. I ended up meeting this very handsome, very sexy man from Miami on the dance floor the first night. We hit it off and danced all evening. I had taken an ecstacy and I knew he was partying with something but we didn’t talk about it.

 

At the end of the party he asks me home to his place. We get there and start kissing and getting into each other. All of a sudden he pulls out this pipe. It was clear and looked caked with white stuff. He offers me a hit but I say no because I’m not even sure of what it is. He tells me it’s Tina(Crystal Meth) and takes a hit from the pipe. Before I could object, he leans in and kisses me and blows the smoke into my mouth. It startled me and I breathed it all in. Well, let me tell you. It instantly felt great. We had sex for hours. I insisted on safe sex at first. But then, after a few more hits, both of us had trouble staying hard so I fucked him without a condom.

 

Then about 5 a.m., we decide to get on the computer and invite some other guys over. Three guys showed up. They had all been partying as well. And the five of us proceeded to have very hot sex. Honestly some of the best sex of my life. None of it was safe. Now it’s a week later and I’m feeling much regret. I can’t believe I let myself do it. I had never done anything before except maybe and hit of X once or twice a year. I thought crystal meth was just for junkies but I’m finding out a lot of my friends have tried it before too. I’m mad I let myself get in that kind of situation where I wasn’t safe. But a part of me really enjoyed the experience. Help.

 

Signed, Mike Wilton Manors

 

Dear Mike,

 

I have heard this story so many times I could almost recite it myself with my eyes closed. Crytal Meth, or Tina, as it’s sometimes called is all over the place in South Florida. It is a highly addictive drug that can have devastating consequences on the user. I’m not one of those therapists that say all drugs are bad or all people that use drugs are bad. Drugs have been around since the beginning of time and will probably always be here in some shape or form. The problem begins when someone uses a drug, gets high and does things he shouldn’t do like have unsafe sex. There is part shame from the experience and part pleasure from the memory of the effects of the drug. If a person is vulnerable, he will use again and quite possibly form a habit. Along with the actual drug habit, which can be overwhelming, comes the increased shame about the behavior and the feelings of self worth that go along with it. Not to mention the other effects like weight loss, decreased job productivity, and, of course, possible HIV/STD infections.

 

Don’t go crazy worrying about it. My advice would be to try to stay away from using a drug like crystal meth. But, if you do use again, do your best to have the safest sex possible. BUT if you slip up and don’t wear a condom, again, don’t beat yourself up too bad about it. It’s the negative feelings about what people have done that really keeps the destructive cycle in motion. It’s when you start to lose your sense of self worth that all bets are off and you start making risky choices. Respect yourself and cut yourself some slack. If it happens again I would suggest talking to a therapist a couple of times so you can better understand your feelings about such experiences.

QuestionMark? #87

Dear Mark,

What are your thoughts on New Year’s resolutions? I have never been a big fan but I have had one hell of a year and I don’t like how my life is going. I think it’s time to make some big changes. My boyfriend cheated on me so I cheated on him back and we subsequently broke up. After that I got involved in a nasty little crystal meth addiction that was out of control. I’ve tamed it down some but it’s still there. I’ve been having problems with my job and think I’m about to get canned which is okay since I hate it anyway. And I smoke….yuch! My question is should I start all of the changes right at the first of the year or space them out over time?

Signed, Corey in Boca

 

Dear Corey, It does seem like you have quite a few things going on in your life at the moment. And it doesn’t seem you are too happy about many of them. New year’s resolutions are great for what they are. I look at them like an impetus for change. The problem with resolutions is that they can set you up for a fall. People sometimes make them at the end of a bad year and try to do make all these changes before they have adequately prepared for such changes.

Smoking is a good example. People want to stop and so on January 1st they quit cold turkey. Sometimes this works. My mom successfully did it many years ago. Many times it doesn’t. Often times because the person is not ready to quit. You have to really want these changes in your life, Corey, or you won’t be able to make them. I say go with your gut on this one and space them out over time. I would really suggest going to a therapist and sort some of the problems out. I would suggest a cognitive behavioral approach in treatment that focuses on the action itself and how to eliminate it from your life.

 

Hi Mark,

I recently found out about the show, Issues over the rainbow on 93.1 and saw your name on the website. I was hoping you could give me some advice as to what to do or at least point me in the right direction. My name is Mike and I’m 28 years old fairly new to the gay world as I have only recently come out and only to some friends and family. I’m currently in a relationship with a guy and we’ve been together for 5 months. We discussed many issues of our past and he confided in me that he “used” to have an addiction problem. He said he had gotten past that awful time in his life. However, it doesn’t seem like the case. He has disappeared over the course of our relationship 3 times for a day or two at a time in which when he does he goes off and does Crystal Meth and E. Needless to say, I’m not attracted to that lifestyle and don’t want anyone around me who is. Also, it definitely puts doubts in my mind as to what he does when he’s on those drugs since I know they lower inhibitions. I often times don’t sleep or eat during those days thinking he’s either cheating having unprotected sex. However, I really love this guy and can’t help but want to help him and try to save our relationship. The last time he did this about 2 weeks ago, I told him we were over. He said he couldn’t live without me and promised to seek help. He still says he’s trying to find the appropriate channels through his insurance to get the help he needs but I’m starting to think he just said that to keep me around. I don’t know what to do anymore. If you could please offer some help, I would very much appreciate it. I really don’t think I have anyone else I can ask these types of questions to.

Thank you in advance for your time and patience in reading about my problems,

Michael

 

 

Hey Michael,  My apologies for such a late response.  I have heard stories like yours before.  It really is a tough situation that you find yourself in.  It seems as if you care for this guy but your faith in him is being tested by his behaviors.  His Crystal addiction is a big thing and can be a deal breaker for a relationship.

Your first concern is to take care of yourself.  If you are still having sex with him, make sure you protect yourself.  Some guys fall into the habit of  letting the condoms fall by the wayside after they have gotten to know each other.  Make sure you insist on condoms and be clear with him as the reason.  His addiction and subsequent behavior when he is high is putting you at risk.

 

The other word I have for you is….boundaries.  Make sure you establish some firm and unwavering boundaries with him.  This is easier said than done.  If you two are not living together it makes things a bit easier.  You can’t say something like “Don’t use drugs again or I won’t speak to you”.  However you can insist that he jump through a few hoops for you.  Things like “You must find a Therapist and be able to prove to me that you are going to therapy” or “You have to join AA, NA (or in your case CMA-crystal meth anonymous) or we can’t even think about dating”.

 

Of course, all of this is just surface mending.  The real work is his and it has to be done internally.  Your big decision is do you want to stick around for him to finish his work and “get better”.  This depends on you.  My suggestion is you think long and hard about what you want from this guy and what you expect from a relationship in general.  Just as a skilled Therapist will be able to help him sort out his addiction, a Therapist will help you sort out your feelings about his behavior.  I suggest you seek one out and have a few sessions.  You can contact me if you need some referrals.

 

Love is a strong emotion and can overcome many addictions.  But it is not the only factor to consider.  Take a step back from him and your relationship so you can more clearly evaluate what your next move will be.  I wish you the best.  Take Care, Mark

 

QuestionMark? #88

Hi Mark,

I recently found out about the show, Issues over the rainbow on 93.1 and saw your name on the website. I was hoping you could give me some advice as to what to do or atleast point me in the right direction. My name is Mike and I’m 28 years old fairly new to the gay world as I have only recently come out and only to some friends and family. I’m currently in a relationship with a guy and we’ve been together for 5 months. We discussed many issues of our past and he confided in me that he “used” to have an addiction problem. He said he had gotten past that awful time in his life. However, it doesn’t seem like the case. He has disappeared over the course of our relationship 3 times for a day or two at a time in which when he does he goes off and does Crystal Meth and E. Needless to say, I’m not attracted to that lifestyle and don’t want anyone around me who is. Also, it definitely puts doubts in my mind as to what he does when he’s on those drugs since I know they lower inhibitions. I often times don’t sleep or eat during those days thinking he’s either cheating having unprotected sex. However, I really love this guy and can’t help but want to help him and try to save our relationship. The last time he did this about 2 weeks ago, I told him we were over. He said he couldn’t live without me and promised to seek help. He still says he’s trying to find the appropriate channels through his insurance to get the help he needs but I’m starting to think he just said that to keep me around. I don’t know what to do anymore. If you could please offer some help, I would very much appreciate it. I really don’t think I have anyone else I can ask these types of questions to.

 

Thank you in advance for your time and patience in reading about my problems,

 

Michael

 

 

Hey Michael,  My apologies for such a late response.  I have heard stories like yours before.  It really is a tough situation that you find yourself in.  It seems as if you care for this guy but your faith in him is being tested by his behaviors.  His Crystal addiction is a big thing and can be a deal breaker for a relationship.

 

Your first concern is to take care of yourself.  If you are still having sex with him, make sure you protect yourself.  Some guys fall into the habit of  letting the condoms fall by the wayside after they have gotten to know each other.  Make sure you insist on condoms and be clear with him as the the reason.  His addiction and subsequent behavior when he is high is putting you at risk.

 

The other word I have for you is….boundaries.  Make sure you establish some firm and unwavering boudaries with him.  This is easier said than done.  If you two are not living together it makes things a bit easier.  You can’t say something like “Dont use drugs again or I won’t speak to you”.  However you can insist that he jump through a few hoops for you.  Things like “You must find a Therapist and be able to prove to me that you are going to therapy” or “You have to join AA, NA (or in your case CMA-crystal meth anonymous) or we can’t even think about dating”.

 

Of course, all of this is just surface mending.  The real work is his and it has to be done internally.  Your big decision is do you want to stick around for him to finish his work and “get better”.  This depends on you.  My suggestion is you think long and hard about what you want from this guy and what you expect from a relationship in general.  Just as a skilled Therapist will be able to help him sort out his addiction, a Therapist will help you sort out your feelings about his behavior.  I suggest you seek one out and have a few sessions.  You can contact me if you need some referrals.

 

Love is a strong emotion and can overcome many addictions.  But it is not the only factor to consider.  Take a step back from him and your relationship so you can more clearly evaluate what your next move will be.  I wish you the best.  Take Care, Mark

 

QuestionMark? #89

I have this friend who I think is becoming addicted to those online hook-up sites. We ran into each other recently and I asked him what he’d been up to the weekend prior as I hadn’t seen him or heard from him. He said he’d stayed in all weekend chatting on his computer with guys from all over. He told me one of the sites he was on, so I checked it out. I then did a bit of searching on some other sites and found his profile on four different hookup/meet-for-sex sites. It’s been two weeks and so far as I know, he’s online every night and all weekend long, chatting with these guys either via IMs or on the phone. The thing is, he used to go out with us all the time. Do I say something to him or let this current obsession run its course and hope that eventually he’ll realize life is passing him by right outside his window?

 

Signed, Cyber Cautious

 

Dear Cyber Cautious,

Say something to him. Take him out to lunch, if you can pry him away from the computer, and let him know what you are thinking. Tell him what you just wrote to me. Say that you miss him as a friend and you think he’s missing out on life. He might be a little miffed or even upset with you but it’s a chance you should think about taking. He most likely will not take your advice to heart right away.   He may even try to back away from you as a friend. But, if you can, try not to let him. The temptation is there to just leave him alone and let him figure this out for himself. And, most likely if you did back away, he would do just that. Most men that have come into my practice with this concern eventually understand the toll it is taking on their lives. They intellectually understand the basic shallowness of online, anonymous sex and make a conscious effort to change their behavior. Because most men eventually realize they want something more out of the connection, like a relationship. I say most men because some men have a very hard time letting this addiction go. Some men never come back from it at all.

 

Sex can become addictive in nature if it is used as an escape like a drug. As is the case with other drugs like alcohol or crystal meth, men can become addicted to it. Some men can have all the sex in the world and not be addicted just like some men can drink a lot of alcohol and not have it be a problem for them. If sex is being used as a drug, there is a good chance the person using sex will have some issue around addiction.

 

All this being said, there is nothing wrong with on line sex sites. They provide a relevant place for men to meet each other. Men use them all the time and love them. They are a great alternative to the bar scene. If sex is what you are looking for it definitely cuts out the middle man. Gay men, in particular, feel freer to express themselves sexually and to experience a wide variety of sexual situations. Like Martha says “It’s a good thing”.   Just be wary of the potential for problems and know when to say “enough is enough”. I have seen some great relationships that started out of an online hookup. So keep telling your friend this and hopefully, eventually, his eyes will open and he will expand his search to include something more.

 

Dear Sexpert,

Whenever my boyfriend and our close group of friends get together there has to be a porno video on all the TV’s in the house. Don’t get me wrong, I like to watch porn too, but all they do is sit there and make comments about this guy’s ass, or this one’s dick. Since we are all good friends, none of us has any intention of having sex together, so why watch all this porn with your friends without getting aroused? Is this common for gay men?  How can I stop them from watching porn morning, noon and night?

 

Signed, Porn Overload

 

Dear Porn Overload,

“Why?” would be one of the questions I would be asking as well. Porn has always had a place within the gay male community. Guys love it and rightfully so. Watching a video of two (or three or four or five) men having sex has a voyeuristic quality of being the proverbial fly on the wall while all the action is going on.   However, it is customarily used as a prelude to sex. It can be utilized as a mood enhancer or something to get you into the mood. Or if you’re alone (sometimes the best sex there is), it can be a great companion while you’re masturbating, or as a good friend of mine says “having a pull”.

 

I have never heard of it being used as a background to a social event unless it is a sex party. This use of it as sort of ‘gay elevator music’ is more confusing than it is troubling. I would ask your friends what their purpose for playing all this porn is. You said they have no intentions of having sex with you. Are you so sure? Maybe they secretly hope that all that man on man action will get one of you in the mood and your desire will take over.   I would get, ahem, straight to the point and ask them why they have to play all this porn. Let them know that, although you enjoy porn as much as the next guy, you would appreciate it if they didn’t play it all the time. If they are your friends, they will be willing to work on a compromise. If absolutely necessary, maybe they could play it in the bedroom for those interested and leave the living room for more appropriate things like last seasons DVD of Sex and the City.

 

 

QuestionMark? #90

Hello, im not sure if you can help me, but i hope you can. my name is eddie and i have been seeing a guy for 8 months now. im 24, hes 33. the age isnt the problem. before i got to the “point”, hes the sweetest most caring man i have ever met, 🙂 he has been there for me through good and bad times, which have been many. his parents who he has introduced me to are great, he likes mine too. theres just a certain little sex problem. he takes care of me wonderfully. when we met we were only into oral sex, which i love. I love getting sucked off i guess i can say and he loves to give. the problem isnt with me, but i have never labeled myself as a size queen, im sure u have heard the term. but i guess i am in a way. he has no dick. i mean, please dont laugh, but its VERY SMALL. when he is hard it cant be more than 3 inches, i kid you not. what do i do. it has come to the point were i want to suck his dick, but i am just so turned off by his smallness. it kind of disgusts me and i know thats horrible to say. and it takes him forever to cum. i mean i can cum 4 times by the time has cums once. im very well-endowed and i dont no what to do. im afraid he wont be enough for me in wanting to suck dick, and hes afraid he is gonna lose me to someone else. please help. any feedback will be greatly appreciated. thank-you, eddie

 

Hey Eddie,  A wise older gay male friend of mine once said “there are always options”.  There are many men out there who are, shall we say, “challenged” in that area.  I get mail from men all the time saying they have problems because they are too large.  I give them the same advice that I will give you with a few modifications, of course.  The size of a man’s penis, although important of some level, is not the true issue in an enduring relationship.  Nor should any body part be of significant importance.

 

Have you talked with him about why it is so hard for him to achieve orgasm with you?  I could be very likely he is intimidated by you and worried about his performance.  If this is the case you need to reassure him it doesn’t matter to you and that you care about him regardless of his size or expertise in bed.

 

All this is predicated on the idea that it really doesn’t matter to you.  I have a feeling that it does matter.  This is nothing to be ashamed of.  Many people are very tuned into the physical characteristics of their potential mates.  And some physical traits matter more than others.  The color of a persons skin matters greatly to some people.  Most people could care less about it.  How tall someone is seems to be of great interest to some people.  Or a persons weight.  A lot of guys might date a guy who’s 220 lbs.  How many men would date a guy who is 350 lbs?  Physicality matters in a relationship.  You just have to decide how much it matters to you.

 

My advice would be to come clean and talk to him about your concerns.  Your first reaction is that you don’t want to hurt his feelings.  I would try to work through this initial reaction and make the effort to have this hard conversation.  If you can verbalize your doubts about the relationship there is a chance the two of  you could work out some sort of an agreement.  Discuss the particulars of your sex together.  What you feel comfortable doing and what his expectations are.  Get it all out on the table so you both know what to expect.  This takes the guess work out of it and lets you both get a feel if this is going to work or not.  A couple of visits to a sex therapist may be in order.  Contact me if you need some referrals or have more questions.  I hope this helped you.  Take Care, Mark

 

QuestionMark? #91

I am writing to you because I heard your show recently. I am married to a wonderful woman and we’ve been together for 4 years. We have a beautiful 2 year old daughter and she is pregnant with our second child. My problem is that I am beginning to realize that I may be bisexual. I have never acted out on it but have always thought men to be attractive. I struggled with it for a while in high school and even went to a counselor who said it was just a phase. I wrote it off after I met my wife and fell in love. And I really am in love with her. I just can’t stop thinking about men. I don’t think I even want to be with a man as it would jeopardize our marriage and I want to be faithful. I’m afraid to bring this up to my wife because she may come unglued. I have gotten on the internet and done some research. I have found that people like me are not that uncommon. I have even been in a few chat rooms but have stopped it at that. Should I talk with my wife or just let it alone?

Signed, Art ftld

 

Dear Art,

This is a difficult situation. If you talk to your wife you run the risk of derailing your relationship with her. However, if you don’t discuss your feelings with her you begin to develop your ‘secret life’ away from her and it could cause you many problems. You have been able to rationalize to yourself that you are doing nothing wrong. On paper, you would be correct. But the fact that you have been in some bisexual chat rooms (and most likely talked with others who may or may not be interested in you) already falls outside the confines of an “honest relationship”. If your wife found out about your internet experiences she would be upset.

 

My advice is usually that honest communication with your intimate partner is always the best route. I believe that as well here. However, I think you need to explore your feelings a bit more beforehand. My suggestion would be to get to a therapist and talk through some of what is going on inside. There are many happily married bisexuals out there…some practicing and some not. Your journey is to find out what path is right for you and your wife. At some point, fill her in on your feelings and work out her reaction together. How this will unfold is anyone’s guess. Your best guarantee for a happy ending is to be true to yourself and your wife.

 

Of course, you can continue to “explore” on your own without telling her. This will lead to emotional distancing between you two. There is a chance she will begin to suspect something and do some investigating on her own. You may even be tempted at some point to act out with someone you meet in one of the chat rooms. This is a recipe for disaster as it could deeply alter the level of trust between you and your wife. You still have her trust at the moment. I say do everything you can to hold on to it.

 

Dear Mark,

One of my best friends is gay. We’ve been friends forever and it’s been a great friendship. His sexuality has never been an issue between us. I believe that people are born the way they are and that’s that. You love the person not their orientation. I’ve always hung out with his other gay friends and he has hung around my straight buddies. There has never been any sort of problem. Except recently. We were out dancing one Saturday a few weeks ago. It was a mixed crowd and I was having a blast. My friend and I had come with three other gay guys. One of the guys in the group I could just tell had sort of a “thing” for me. This was not new territory as some of his buddies in the past had developed sort of a crush on me. I admit I took it a little far that night, I had been drinking, and I flirted back with the guy. It was fun and, I thought, harmless. Well the guy started getting his hopes up and has been talking to my friend about wanting to go on a date with me. What’s more is my friend is beginning to ask me questions like “are you sure you’re not gay?” I’m starting to get a little frustrated. How can I handle it?

 

Signed, Gary fort laud.

 

Dear Gary,

It sounds like you have a little misunderstanding going on. You have to admit how some people could interpret your actions. You’re in a gay/mixed bar with gay friends flirting with a gay guy. Walks like a duck, talks like a duck….usually is a duck. This is not to say I believe you are gay. I just want you to be clear about how others around you may interpret your behaviors. I’m also not saying change your behaviors. You sound like an evolved person who does not conform to ordinary standards. I commend and respect that in a person.

 

Just be clear to the people in your life about your feelings. And know that you may have to cut them some slack from time to time for not completely understanding your reactions. Example: why did your friend only ask you now if you were gay when you had been hit on before by other gay guys? Was this the first time you flirted back? If so, you must understand why he may be a bit confused. Take some time and explain it to him.

 

Sexuality is a fluid creature. I don’t particularly believe in labeling a person. Most people, however, feel more comfortable with some sort of label. When you step out of that label you run the risk of confusing some people.

QuestionMark? #92

Dear Mark

I’m in a love triangle and not sure what to do about it. I’ve been dating the same woman for over 9 months. We were both looking for a relationship when we met and sort of fell into one with each other. She had been in bad ones prior to me and mine had been unfulfilling as well. We were attracted to each other and seemed to want the same things, house/church/friends/kids. Things were good for while. That’s when I met, I’ll call her Sandra. It was actually at church and it caught me off guard. I was immediately attracted to her but we started a friendship that grew in intensity for many months. Sandra would do things with us and she would have us to her house as a couple. My partner liked her and I thought all was fine. Then one day we were alone together after going shopping. I’ll always remember this because were standing over her kitchen counter talking and she just leaned over and kissed me. Again, she caught me completely off guard. My gut reaction was to kiss her back. It just felt so right. We haven’t slept together but have met several times for intimate moments with each other. I thought the right thing to do was to tell my girlfriend so I did even though I was afraid of her reaction. To my surprise she suggested we all go out together and “see where things went”. I told Sandra about this and she seemed very agreeable to the idea. I don’t know what to think. Should I do this even though I have extreme reservations about it. I don’t have any clue as to how this may play out. I have never even met someone in a threesome relationship.

 

Ginny in Deerfield

 

Dear Ginny,

I have seen many threesome relationships. This is not the problem in my opinion. I’m not sure if that is what either of these women have in mind anyway. But you must ask them and find out for sure. What are their intentions? Is it to have a full scale relationship? Is it sex? Is it just for fun? What’s going on here? I would suggest having these conversations with each woman separately before trying any sort of joint venture. It would be like going into a crowded department store blindfolded. I would start with your partner and find out what she is feeling. She may only be agreeing with this because she thinks it is the only way to keep you. If this is the case, you will need to rethink the plan. She may be intrigued by the idea and only want to experiment sexually. If so, how does this fit into what your expectations are. How do you really feel about this other woman, Sandra? Would you leave your current partner for her? And, if so, is this current situation only a diluted version of what you really want? And why is Sandra so interested in trying something like this when in the past she has only been interested in you. Something about her behavior doesn’t sit well. Making a pass at a “friend” lacks good boundaries and just isn’t honest. Do you want to be in a relationship with someone like that. There are many questions you need to ask them and yourself.

 

Dear Mark,

I just broke up with a guy over the holidays and I think he is stalking me. I have never had a stalker but his behavior is very strange and my friends keep telling me he’s after me. I don’t know how or if I should approach him. Since the breakup three weeks ago I keep getting hangup calls at all hours of the day and night. I try star 69 but they can’t be tracked. My car was broken into at my job but nothing was stolen except my address book that was in my briefcase. He has left two semi-threatening messages on my cell phone about how he hates me and that I’m “scum just like all the rest of them and he hopes I die”. I’m not sure if I should call the police or not. My ex told me he had spent a few weeks in jail many years ago for stalking his first lover. He talked about it like he had learned his lesson and had moved on. Now that things aren’t working out for us I see some of the same behavior he talked about during his first relationship. I’m not sure if I’m being paranoid because I knew about his past or not. Should I call him up and talk with him about it?

 

Signed, Jason Wilton Manors

 

Dear Jason,

 

My advice would be have no contact with him. For no other reason than the messages left on your cell phone. That is reason enough to keep your distance. The rest cannot be proven but your best bet would be to be safe rather than sorry. He seems like a man who needs to work on some of his issues but that has to be his decision and his journey….not yours. Sometimes, if this truly is a stalking case, any contact even bad contact is enough to keep the person attached and interested. This is bad news for the person being stalked.

 

You did not share with me the particulars of the break up but if he has a legit reason to be upset and you feel you want to talk with him, a letter may be the best recourse. If his behavior does not fit the situation, my advice would be to leave it alone. There are always two sides to every story but you only need to worry about your side at this time. I don’t think it’s time to contact police but I would save the cell phone messages and give this information to a few of your close friends so people are aware of what’s going on. Nothing may come of it and he may drop it. But if he doesn’t you at least have somewhere to start.

QuestionMark? #93

Well mark heres my groups delema

We are in western high school and we cant get the
news about our gsa’s about its called (UNITY) Well we
are in a very homophobic school. things arent like
terribly bad but they could use a make over (like a
shannel make over) do you have any idea how to get
through to these kids, even the closet cases.
help us!!!

Love always
Unity

 

Hey Unity,  A very nice mission statement indeed.  Where is your high school?  What county is it in?  Have you tried talking to the principle?  If you have not succeeded on that level, I would suggest talking to a person at the county school board.  If there is a Gay and Lesbian center in your county, go to them first.  They will be able to help you.  They may even be able to step in and help you do the work.  There is a great organization that does this type of work specifically.  The organization is called GLSEN, (pronounced Glisten).  It stands for gay, lesbian, straight educational network.   If all else fails, try contacting them on the web. They may be able to guide you through this process of integrating into your system.

 

It sounds like you are doing a great thing.  Don’t get discouraged by all the opposition.  That only says that what you are doing is badly needed.  Opposition is only a sign that you need to try harder.  Best of luck to you and keep in touch.  Mark

 

Dear Mark, I have a question. Is it possible to know your therapist too well? I feel like sometimes I am too exposed in therapy and my therapist might know too much about me. It makes me very uncomfortable that he may have this information about my personal life and thoughts.   I’m not really sure as to why I feel like he knows me too much, but he does know more than anyone else in the world, because I have no really close friends to talk with at a deeper level, thus I’ve not ever dated, had a boyfriend or partner, but very much wish I did.  I am afraid of closeness and don’t like people touching me, and we’re working on that.  Perhaps I’m afraid my therapist is going to look down on me or judge/hurt me.  We are working on self-confidence and self-esteem, which is slow going, but at least happening

/pwc

 

 

Hi Paul,  Without knowing more specifics on your situation, it is hard to give a definitive answer.  Here’s what I can tell you.  Sometimes a therapist can know you too much.  This could be because of many things.  It could be that the therapist has poor boundaries.  This includes going out with a client for dinner/drinks, sleeping with a client(happens often unfortunately), being too casual with a client.

 

If this happens, the therapist takes on the characteristics of a friend rather than the “blank slate”, unconnected third party observer he/she should be.  Does this make sense?  If you know your therapist too well you start treating them like a friend.  The point of therapy is to NOT know your therapist outside the confines relevant to your treatment.  You want them to be this “blank slate”, someone you can tell anything to and not have any consequences in your “real” life. And, in telling them, you are assured of privacy and safety and confidentiality.  This is the cornerstone of good mental health treatment.  If you don’t feel this with your therapist, my suggestion would be to get another one.

 

If, however, one of your issues is intimacy itself.  I would ask you to re-examine this relationship.  Are you pulling back BECAUSE you are beginning to feel close to this person.  Many times this happens.  Clients begin to tell their therapist all of these internal feelings but then they feel exposed afterwards.  Almost as if the therapist knows “too much” about them.  They fear that what has happened in the past in the outside world will happen again in therapy….that their thoughts/feelings will know be respected or valued.  This feeling is called “transference” in mental health language.  If this is what you are feeling, talk with your therapist about it specifically.  It will be crucial to your growth in treatment.

 

I hope this helps.  If you have more questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me.  Good luck.  Mark

 

 

QuestionMark? #96

My job does not allow me to be out, by that I mean I work for a very major company, and the guys I work seem to really dislike gays.  They have no clue about me but it really hurts when I dont have the guts to say FU dude I am one of these guys you’re talkin about…

 

What are you really asking here? Are you just angry that you are not “out” at work and want to let off some steam? If so, this is as good of a place to do it as anywhere. Being able to feel comfortable as an out and proud gay person takes some guts, although times have changed in the past decade or so in corporate America. The Advocate, with Melissa Etheridge on the cover, just did a piece about being out in the big business corporate world. There were some great stories related in the piece. Both men and women executives from such diverse places at IBM, Perry Ellis, and VISA talked about their experiences. The common thread in each of their stories was the concern over coming out and the impact it would have on their career. Every one of them was glad they made the tough decision to come out.

Of course, this is not always the case. There are very real problems that gays and lesbians encounter everyday in the workplace. We are discriminated, on varying levels, in many aspects of our lives. Which is why you may have a decision to make. How long do you want to go on hiding at your place of employment? How safe is it for you to come out? Is it that it is unsafe or that you are just afraid? That being said, it’s okay to be afraid. That’s a perfectly legitimate response. We all are afraid before we do something that will have the power to change our lives.

The question for you remains will you ever face your fear and allow yourself to step out of the shadows and into the light. Then maybe one day you will be able to say “FU dude I’m on of those guys you’re talking about”. To top that off, if you say it with some tact and kindness (something severely lacking in our world) they may actually respond in a positive way. You may have the power within you to change their minds. Show them that “gay” is more than a concept or a political issue. It has a human face. That face is you. If they like you, they are forced to look at their preconceptions about gay people. And there is the possibility that they may begin to believe/act/respond/vote different. Imagine…..that’s a pretty awesome power in my opinion.

 

My GF and I are so different and we like different things but yet we really love each other.  Sometime I wonder what we love in each other as we have so little in common…

 

Have you ever heard of the saying “opposites attract”? Technically, there is some truth to this. In his landmark book, “Getting the Love You Want” Harville Hendrix began a dialogue that continues today, over 3 decades after the book was first published. He calls his theory Imago which is the Latin word for “image”. The theory has its roots in Freudian theory and Attachment theory and almost any book written about relationships in the past thirty years uses Hendrix’s theory as part of it’s foundation. That his theory says is that we are attracted to people who fit a certain subconscious image that we have had in place since our childhood. The people we are attracted to have both the negative and positive character traits of our early childhood caretakers. This plays out in a number of different ways. Certain couple’s tend to develop. There is the “fuser/isolator” couple where one person wants to always be together and the other always seems to “need space”. There is the “avoider/confronter” dynamic in which one is always nagging the other who is always going out for a walk or taking nap.   There are a few different couple types. The common theme is that they always seem to be the polar opposite from their mate on a number of different levels. If one is outgoing, the other tends to be shy and introverted. If one is a thinker often times they mate with more of a feeler personality. A histrionic person is almost always balanced out by a calmer, level headed other half. The list goes one.

The fact that you and your girlfriend don’t have anything in common on the surface doesn’t mean a whole bunch. It’s almost set up that way. There are couple’s who are very different but yet have some same common interests. These people are just lucky. The rest of us have to work at maintaining a connection with the one we love. Find things that interest you both. Each of you look at your mates interests and take one of them up as a hobby so you have something to connect on. I tell this story often in therapy with clients asking the same question.   When I initially met my partner of 13 years, we had very little in common other than we were both male, both gay, and both attracted to each other physically. Over the years I have learned to love his business of Real Estate. We have invested and renovated numerous projects over the years. Would I have been involved in this if I were not in a relationship with him. A resounding “no” would be the answer. And yet I take great pleasure and pride in the projects we do together. Conversely, he has grown to love all kinds of music. We take numerous trips to New York to see all the Broadway shows. Music theatre has always been a passion of mine. Would he have been in the audience of the Broadway show “Wicked” three weeks ago if he had not met me. Probably not. But it turns out he loved the show almost more than me. He was even able to spot one of the actresses from her Broadway debut in RENT. This is not the work of an amateur anymore. I use the expression “we have grown into each other”. Because that is what we have done and that is the task before you and your girlfriend now. I wish you the best of luck.

 

I have been with my (?) for 3 years.  The sex is OK, not great anymore and the fire seems to be gone.  We don’t do IT that often and I am wondering if it means that we don’t love each other like we use to…

 

“How do you keep the music playing?”….question from that great 80’s song. One thing we have to get straight right off the bat is one simple fact. Sex is not necessarily love and love is not always necessarily sex. Remember this adage and you will always find yourself more comforted. Sometimes you can have great sex outside of the confines of a relationship or love for that matter. The two are not always interconnected. Of course, we would always like the two to go hand in hand in a relationship. Try to remember what you found so “hot” about each other. Talk about some of your hidden fantasies. Find new and interesting places to be romantic or have sex. The “mile high” club is not just reserved for strangers passing in the night. It can also be a long term couple out to spice up their love life. Is he into role playing?

All of this is just part of the picture. In an effort to rekindle what you feel like you have lost from your boyfriend, you must talk with him about your feelings. You must also give him a chance to express to you what is going on for him. Apart from all the new ideas and kinky twists, you must feel like you are able to connect at an emotional level as well as a sexual level. When you can feel trusted, understood, AND hot and attractive…well, then you’ve achieved something.

 

I’m in a love triangle and not sure what to do about it. I’ve been with the same man for over 10 years. We’ve had a great relationship. Both of us are financially secure so we can travel and afford the finer things in life. Last New Year’s Eve we went out to a large circuit party with a bunch of friends. There must have been about 5,000 men there. It was amazing. We were partying pretty hard with our buddies and having a blast.

All of a sudden there was the hottest man in the middle of our circle. He was a good 10 years younger than us and just gorgeous. I’ll call him Dorey. He was smiling and looking at both my lover and I. Needless to say he stayed with our group the rest of the evening. After the party we took him back to our hotel and had the most amazing three way sex I have ever had. We exchanged numbers and he called the next day. We went out to eat and things just fell into place from there.

Since then, we have seen each other at least 3 times a week. We spend a couple of nights a week together and he has come on two of our vacations with us. I like him a lot but I also love the life I had with my lover before he came along. I’m also sensing a stronger connection between my lover and Dorey. They both deny it but my instincts have always been correct and now I’m questioning them. Our friends have signed on the idea of a threesome very well. They even call us by a new name. Have you ever heard of the term “trouple”? It means a threesome couple. But I’m having doubts and not sure what to do.

Signed, Rich

 

Dear Rich,

I have seen and counseled many threesome relationships in my practice. It seems as if you are re-experiencing some of the same insecurities as you may have experienced at the beginning of your first relationship. Only now it is compounded by the fact that there are three people to worry about. This seems very logical to me. At the beginning of any relationship there are sure to be doubts, questions, and concerns. Why should this one be any different? Just because you have been in a relationship for 10 years does not exclude you from these feelings. Dorey is the new X factor and he must be considered when examining your feelings.

As far as advice goes, you must sit them both down and talk to them about your feelings together. Even if you are reconsidering your decision to be in a threesome relationship, or “trouple” (I like that term, thanks), you owe it to both of them to tell them together. If some part of the dynamic needs to change, all of you must be a part of the change together. Even if it is just you saying to both of them, “I thought I was okay with this arrangement but now I’m not anymore. I want to go back to being just a couple with my lover. But I also want to be respectful of you.” Or “I kind of like what’s going on here but I have a few concerns that I’d like to get out in the open with the three of us.” Make it something that breaks the ice, addresses the issues, but doesn’t shame them or put them on the defensive.

If you decide to stay in the relationship, I would suggest a few visits to a skilled couple’s therapist who is knowledgeable about the gay community and the concept of threesomes. Don’t lay this on your garden variety therapist. Chances are they will be unprepared to deal with the complexities of a “trouple”. Therapy affords you the luxury of laying out all your fears and concerns on the table. It will also give the two of them to communicate to you what they are thinking and feeling.

Great sex is a good thing. Great sex with more than two people can be an even greater thing. But don’t mistake wanting a fun sexual threesome from time to time with a much more complex three way relationship. They are very different things.

 

QuestionMark? #105

QuestionMark? #105

 

Dear Mark,  I am married to a wonderful woman and we’ve been together for four years.   We have a beautiful 2 year old daughter and she is pregnant with our second child.  My problem is that I’m beginning to realize I may be bisexual.  I have never acted out on it but have always thought men to be attractive.  I struggled with it for a while in hight school and even went to a counselor who said it was just a phase.  I wrote it off after I met my wife and fell in love.  And I really am in love with her.  I just can’t stop thinking about men.   I don’t think I even want to be with a man as it would  jeopardize our marriage and I want to be faithful.   I’m afraid to bring this up to my wife because she may come unglued.  I have gotten on the internet and even done some research.  That is how I came across your column.  I have found other people like me are not that uncommon.  I have even been in a few chat rooms but have stopped it at that.  Should I talk with my wife or just let it alone.

Signed, Art

Dear Art,

This is a difficult situation.  If you talk to your wife you run the risk of derailing your relationship with her.  However, if you don’t discuss your feelings with her you begin to develop your “secret life” away from her and it could cause many problems.  You have been able to rationalize to yourself that you are doing nothing wrong.  On paper, you would be correct.  But the fact that you have been in some bisexual chat rooms (and most likely talked with others who may or may not be interested in you sexually) already falls outside the confines of an “honest relationship”.  If your wife found out about your internet experiences she would be upset.

My advice is usually that honest communication with your intimate partner is always the best route.  I believe that as well here.   However, I think you need to explore your feelings a bit more beforehand.  My suggestion would be to get to a therapist and talk through some of what is going on inside.  There are many happily married bisexuals out there….some practicing and some not.  Your journey is to find out what path is right for you and your wife.  At some point, fill her in on your feelings and work out her reaction together.  How this will unfold is anyone’s guess.  Your best guarantee for a happy ending is to be true to yourself and your wife.

Of course, you can continue to “explore” on your own without telling her.  However, this will lead to emotional distancing between you.  There is a chance she will begin to suspect something and do some investigating on her own.  you may even be tempted at some point to act out with someone you meet in one of those chat rooms.  This is a recipe for disaster as it could deeply alter the level of trust between you and your wife.  You still have her trust at the moment.  I say do everything you can to hold on to it.

Dear Mark,

One of my best friends is gay.  We’ve been friends forever and it’s been a great friendship.  His sexuality has never been an issue between us.  I believe that people are born the way they are and that’s that.  You love the person and not their orientation.  I read a gay newspaper for craps sake.  I’ve always hung out with his other gay friends and he has hung around with my straight buddies.  There has never been any sort of problem.  Except recently.

We were dancing one Saturday a few weeks ago.  It was a mixed crowd and I was having a blast.  My friend and I had some with three other gay guys.  One of the guys in the group I could just tell had sort of a “thing” for me.  This was not new territory as some of his buddies in the past had developed sort of a crush on me.  I admit I took it a little far that night.  I had been drinking and I flirted back with the guy.  It as fun and, I thought, harmless.

Well, the guy started getting his hopes up and has been talking to my friend about wanting to go out on a date with me.  What’s more is my friend is beginning to ask me questions like “are you sure you’re not gay?”  I’m starting to get a little frustrated.  How can I handle it?

Signed, Gary

Dear Gary, I sounds like you have a little misunderstanding going on.  You have to admit how some people could interpret your actions.  You’re in a gay/ mixed bar with friends flirting with a gay man.   Walks like a duck, talks like a duck…..usually is a duck.  This is not to say I believe you are gay.  I just want you  to be clear about how others around you may interpret you behaviors.  I’m also not saying change your behaviors.  You sound like an evolved person who does not conform to ordinary standards.  I commend and respect that in a person.

Just be clear to the people in your life about your feelings.  And know that you may have to cut them some slack from time to time  for not completely understanding your reactions.  For example, why did your friend only ask you now if your were gay when you had been hit on before by other gay guys?  Was this the first time you flirted back?  If so, you must understand why he may be a bit confused.  Take some time and explain it to him.

Sexuality is a fluid creature.  I don’t particularly believe in labeling a person.  Gay/straight/bisexual or whatever.  Most people, however, feel more comfortable with some sort of label.  When you step out of that label you run the risk of confusing these various people in your life.