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Dear Mark,

I’m writing at the advice of my new friend. He’s the one gay friend I have. He suggested I get some professional advice. You see, I’m basically a straight man who enjoys sex with men once in a while. My new friend says I’m in denial about myself, but I don’t think so. I’ve been married for 40 years and have been very happy with my wife. Basically, I’m faithful to her but there have been some sporadic anonymous encounters with men at the gym, but didn’t do much – just touching and mutual masturbation. My sexual relationship with my wife has waned over the years. Note…she and I have not had sex in years. We are both 67 years old.

 

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Dear Mark,

I’m writing at the advice of my new friend. He’s the one gay friend I have. He suggested I get some professional advice. You see, I’m basically a straight man who enjoys sex with men once in a while. My new friend says I’m in denial about myself, but I don’t think so. I’ve been married for 40 years and have been very happy with my wife. Basically, I’m faithful to her but there have been some sporadic anonymous encounters with men at the gym, but didn’t do much – just touching and mutual masturbation. My sexual relationship with my wife has waned over the years. Note…she and I have not had sex in years. We are both 67 years old.

I found a copy of Hotspots at a local diner and started going through it. I had never really seen a gay magazine and was fascinated by all the ads in the back for sensual massage. I gathered up my courage and went down for one while my wife was playing tennis. It was the most amazing experience of my life. I had never been touched that way. My massage therapist was handsome and friendly. He let me touch him and he touched me. I loved it and started going every two weeks. Then I made it once a week. I always paid full price and over time, I began to buy him things and ask him to lunch. He accepted and I felt like we had begun a real relationship. Looking back, I think I was falling in love with him. I know in my head that our relationship is based on money, but, in my heart, I can’t seem to give him up.

I made my feelings known to my friend. He was kind, but very clear in his boundaries. He only wants friendship. I’m torn. I don’t know if I should continue to see him for massages or should I try to move into being friends with him? Or does he even want that with me? Maybe he would prefer to keep our current arrangement? I just don’t know. I’m trying to keep everything together with my wife, but I’m extremely unhappy. Can you help? Please direct me.

Many Thanks,

Anonymous

Dear Anonymous,

First off…I’m really glad you wrote. I can sense how distraught you are. It’s hard to be half in one life and one half in the other. Many men of your generation have struggled with just this issue. There are a number of issues you touched on. I’ll answer what I can, but feel free to write back if you have more questions.

There isn’t a right answer in regards to your wife. I have seen the spectrum of decisions on whether to tell a spouse about ones sexuality. You have to dig in your heart and decide what’s right for you. My one thought is about safe sex. It sounds like you aren’t engaging in any high risk behavior but if you decide to have sex with your wife again, it’s an issue to consider. I can tell you love her very much and wouldn’t want to put her at risk for anything.

As for your new friend, he sounds like a very nice man. However, it seems to me he might be happy to keep it on a professional basis. I’m sure this is a dynamic he has experienced before. It is the nature of his work. His job is to give you pleasure and kindness. His livelihood depends on it. If you really are intent on moving into a friendship, you need to talk with him about this possibility and the potential ramifications to your current friendship.

Finally, my suggestion would be to find a therapist and begin to talk about the myriad of emotions you are experiencing. Depending on your location, I can provide you with a good referral. Hang in there. It does get easier. You may not have all the answers now. But if you allow this to unfold, perhaps you will one day.

All My Best,

Mark Rutherford LCSW

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