Expert advice

Dr Gabrielle Morrissey: Sexologist

Dr Gabrielle Morrissey has been a sexologist — sexuality educator, sex therapist and sex researcher — since 1990. She is also the author a number of successful books.

Bisexual husband

Tuesday, October 16, 2007
Would you have preferred to have this knowledge before you got married so you knew the whole picture of who you married and what you signed on for?

I have been married a little over 10 years. My husband told me back in April he was bisexual but he has never done anything with anyone else. I was his first sexual partner and so far the only one. He wanted to come clean and he said he wanted to be in a monogamous relationship. Now his temptation seems to be getting worse. I have done things in the bedroom to try and help but that is not enough anymore. He wants to stay married but I can't have that intimacy after he has his experience. I had sexual partners in the past am I being selfish?

It's an interesting question that you ask — are you being selfish? Is it selfish to ask your spouse to keep their vow to you? That would be the fidelity vow of course — forsaking all others. Your vows presumably didn't state, forsaking all others, unless they are of the same sex and if it's okay with my partner since one of us has had more sexual partners than the other, or in case we have temptation and we want to experiment. Presumably your vows were pretty clear and didn't list a set of exceptions that you could negotiate 10 years into your marriage.

Having said that, relationships evolve, and individuals grow, and sometimes partners come out. Marriage needs to have a balance of boundaries and flexibility to last, with both partners happy and fulfilled.

Your husband has taken 10 years to let you know his truth, that he is bisexual. Would you have preferred to have this knowledge before you got married so you knew the whole picture of who you married and what you signed on for? Only you can answer that question, and only you can now know what you're going to do, given that the fact is your husband is indeed bisexual.

Does that mean he has to act on his attractions? Certainly not. Many heterosexual men are attracted to lots of women and never indulge in temptation.

But, because your husband has finally come out to you and the temptations are getting greater, he is likely to be awakening to a world that feels authentic to him, and what's probably stronger than the temptation to be physically sexual with someone else, is the temptation to simply be himself and express his inner orientation of being bisexual — which you both need to talk about in order to work out whether that necessarily involves him actually being sexual with another man, or whether just being truthful, with you, his spouse, is enough.

What I can offer you though, is that his bisexuality is not about you. His interest in other men has nothing to do with how you are with him in bed. Trying new techniques, and trying to be more seductive and sexy will not ''fix'' this issue or make it go away, or diffuse the temptations he feels because his bisexuality is about his sexual orientation, his inner attraction to both men and women, not how attracted he is to just you.

As a married couple, you need to discuss if it is acceptable for one (or both) of you to seek sexual experiences outside the marriage. Does it matter if one of you has a history of more partners than the other? No, it shouldn't. Does it matter if one of you says they will never be happy unless they can be truthful to their sexual orientation? It might and you have to discuss this — if needed, with a counsellor. Can you be sure that if you together decide that your husband can have one sexual experience with one man that it will stop there? That answer should be no and therefore you should proceed with caution, or your marriage may hang in the balance. So is that selfish? No, it's smart to be cautious and smart to be honest — for the sake of your future and if you want it to be together.

For more information please see Dr Gabrielle's website or visit her consultancy website Bananas and Melons.

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