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Dear Mark,
I saw your article and wanted to write in. I’m 50 years old. I have lived a life of celibacy because I was molested by my gym teacher when I was 13 years old. I had an ongoing relationship with him for 3 years. After that he passed me off to his buddy, my social studies teacher. Another 2 year relationship ensued. I don’t even know if you could call it a relationship. It basically consisted of me sucking him off after school. We never saw each other outside of school.

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Dear Mark,

I saw your article and wanted to write in. I’m 50 years old. I have lived a life of celibacy because I was molested by my gym teacher when I was 13 years old. I had an ongoing relationship with him for 3 years. After that he passed me off to his buddy, my social studies teacher. Another 2 year relationship ensued. I don’t even know if you could call it a relationship. It basically consisted of me sucking him off after school. We never saw each other outside of school.

I entered the Navy at 19 and was raped by a group of so-called “straight guys.” Now I am old as hell and have never had any experience with intimate, loving relationships. All sex has been violent towards me. Now I find that I am really only attracted to men because that has been my only sexual experience. Am I f—ed up or what?! Why can’t men leave children alone! Can you answer me that? Just rambling here. I don’t expect serious answers. Only taking things one day at a time.

Mike
Pompano

Hey Mike,

I just received your note in my email. To start with, I’m sorry for the experiences you have had. No one should ever have to endure such abuse, both sexual and emotional. It is not uncommon for adults who have been abused as children to have problems forging intimate relationships. I don’t think you’re “f—ed up,” just in pain.

Actually your reaction to such a situation seems quite normal. Human behavior is based on the sum our experiences. Your experience with relationships has been limited and dismal. This does not mean, however, that you can’t still find a happy, fulfilling relationship. 50 years old is not over the hill by any means.

Now that you have come to terms with your sexuality, it’s time to explore what the world has to offer you. Please try not to project your experience onto every man you meet. Abuse is an all too common phenomenon. However, statistics show that most sexual abuse occurs at the hands of heterosexual men towards young girls.

Give yourself a chance to find someone. Give yourself a chance at some semblance of a normal life. It is most definitely within your reach. I suggest you begin seeing a therapist who is well versed in the area of sexual abuse as well as gay and lesbian issues. Call your local gay and lesbian service center for referrals to therapists or drop me a note online and I’ll help you connect with someone. With some help, there is no reason why you can’t begin to put some of that pain and anger behind you and begin to shape a meaningful life for yourself. Take care and good luck.

Sincerely,
Mark Rutherford LCSW

Dear Mark,

My lover Rick and I have been together for almost ten years and have an open relationship. This arrangement has been mutually satisfying to both of us and we have never had any problems. However, a few weeks ago we went to a party in the area where we met a guy I’ll call Carlos. He was funny, charming and hot as hell.

We all hit it off and were having a great time. When Carlos went to the bathroom, Rick and I had a quick discussion and decided to invite him home with us for the night. He accepted our offer and we had a great time. Since then he’s called our house a number of times and talked to Rick. At first I thought nothing of it. One afternoon Rick mentioned he had “run into” Carlos at the mall. Later that night he said he wanted to have sex with Carlos without me. This was not part of our agreement and now I’m scared they might be having an affair.

Signed,

Three’s a Crowd
Wilton Manors

Dear Crowded,

Open relationships are a tricky phenomenon. Most of the male couples I see privately list this as their number one problem. Usually the primary concern is trust.

Honest discussion between two people in a relationship is rarer than you might think. Sometimes one person wants to open the relationship to outside sex and the other one doesn’t.

Even when both guys are okay with the idea, it’s usually a matter of time before one of them does something that “wasn’t part of the deal.” This isn’t a criticism of open relationships. Many male couples enjoy it as a healthy part of their lives together. It also happens more than many men care to discuss. In some circles it’s viewed as one of those “dirty little secrets.” In one of the largest studies of gay male couples, McWhirter and Mattison, authors of “The Male Couple,” found that over 95% of gay male long-term relationships were open in some form. The authors coined the term “fidelity without exclusivity.” The key, I believe, is to talk about it.

Don’t brush it under the carpet because you’re embarrassed. The beauty of gay relationships is that you don’t have to follow anyone’s rules. You and your partner can make them up as you go along.

Find out what he really wants and be open with your feelings. Come to an arrangement that feels good to both of you. If your boyfriend really did hook up without you, then he should know how much this hurt you. If two partners don’t have trust between them, they don’t have anything. Let Rick know your concerns and re-emphasize how much you value the relationship. If he wants to change the rules, you must go back to stage one and re-evaluate…together.
Good luck, Mark

Best,

Mark Rutherford LCSW

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