My name is Alexander. My nickname is Beastly. I write about sex.
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My husband admitted to me at the beginning of this year that he’s bisexual. I’d had my suspicions for a while but I’d never asked. I figured I don’t care what guy he’s doing as long as A) he comes home to me every night, B) he stays safe and doesn’t get something we can’t deal with, and C) he maybe lets me join sometimes.
But even after admitting he’s bisexual and has been on Grindr he swears he’s never cheated. And I believe him wholeheartedly. What gets me is every time I bring up having another guy in the bedroom he refuses. He won’t even talk about it. And some days I wonder if it’s because of the time he’s spent in prison but I think it’s more than that.
I think he believes that he’s not a man if he admits to me that he wants to fool around with other men. And I’ve tried so hard to explain to him how much I love him and how hot it is that he likes other men. I’ve tried explaining that it doesn’t make him less of a man and I don’t think less of him for it. But I’m afraid I’m not great at expressing those things and so I was hoping you could help me. Thanks.
It’s great that you support your husband, but it also sounds like you are fetishizing his sexuality a little bit. He’s going through a new and confusing experience. As someone who has my own attraction to men, I can tell you it’s a very internal, private journey. At least in the beginning, it’s not easy to talk about.
I’m not certain what your definition of “cheating” is but I assume it’s having sex with someone else without telling you first. You’re obviously okay with him sleeping with other men without you present — you just need to know about it, right?
Here’s a fact we have to accept in relationships: you can’t make someone talk. You can’t make him tell you everything. There are parts of his life you will never see. There are parts of his sexual journey you won’t know about and you can’t speed it along. But since he was comfortable enough to tell you about his attraction to men — something difficult to share — then you have a firm basis to believe he’ll be equally forthcoming when he’s ready to take the next step.
That next step may not be a threesome, and that may not be because he feels like “less of a man” when he’s intimate with men. He may simply not like threesomes — and that’s understandable because threesomes suck.
They’re not impossible to pull off, but they’re certainly not easy. When sex researcher Justin Lehmiller polled people for his book, he found that threesomes are one of the most popular fantasies humans have. But in my humble experience, threesomes never measure up to their idealized fantasy. It’s hard to divide attention evenly between two people, and if emotions are raw and confidence is shaky, it’s easy to feel left out. I’ve enjoyed so many sex groups that I would be at a loss to count or even remember them all, but a threesome would still intimidate me. Because they’re difficult.
Assuming he reaches a point at which the idea of a threesome sounds fun, you should plan ahead how you will do it. The best threesomes are structured with two people showering attention on a third, or with one person who mostly enjoys watching or directly getting off from seeing the other two play. The magical scenario of three people evenly falling into sync and automatically knowing what to do only happens in porn. Real threesomes tend to be uneven and awkward.
Don’t get me wrong: there’s nothing wrong with wanting a threesome. But in order to avoid the pain and arguments that threesomes can cause, he has to also want to try it — and it sounds like he does not.
It makes sense that he isn’t leaping at the thought of you witnessing his first forays into sex with men in real-time. The idea of having any kind of sexual encounter with a man may be very frightening and overwhelming to him right now — so think about how much more overwhelming it could be with you watching. Doing so would require him to navigate not only his own complicated feelings but worry about yours as well. You’re someone he cares about. A million thoughts might race into his head — “Is she judging me?” “Does she still love me?” “Is this okay?” — that would reasonably keep him from enjoying what will inevitably be an intense first-time experience. That sounds very stressful.
He needs to explore on his own, at least in the beginning, because his sexuality belongs to him, not you. He may struggle to talk about it, so be patient. It doesn’t matter if you’re comfortable with him having sex with men — what matters is if he is. He might not be right now. All you can do is extend a hand, an open invite to talk and share when he’s ready.
For what it’s worth, you sound like a great partner, and he’s lucky to have you.
I will start with who I am, a 20-year-old gay man who has had HIV for 2 years in January. I am also Afro-Latino making me from looking at statistics almost expected with both my lineages of having gay POC being more likely to get HIV. I just want to ask am I really alone in my situation of being young and HIV positive? Will there be people accepting of my situation both with sexual partners and romantic partners?
Hi my poz brother,
You are not alone. You’re a member of a family now, and you will find the best people going forward. You will find friends who become lovers, lovers who become partners, and partners who become friends. Every rejection from someone scared of HIV clears the path for you to move forward and meet better people.
It won’t always be easy. There will be days when you’re rushing to get your bottle of meds before the pharmacy closes, nights you’ll lie awake worrying about your health insurance, and painful rejections from people too stupid and scared to see past something in your blood. But you have a life — one paid for by the greatest activists of our time.
Your life was won by queer and trans POC who marched in the streets and threw the ashes of their loved ones on the lawn of the White House, who put on heels and glitter and gave their tips to organizations fighting for us, who kicked cops and disrupted traffic and brought the world’s attention to people dying of AIDS in New York and L.A. and San Francisco. They did all that so that you can do this.
Many of them were young — younger than you. Many of them caught it in their first romances. Queer people of color are still fighting racism and police and prison to effectively combat this disease and they are doing so more effectively and compassionately than any other group affected by it. You’re in good company, and you stand on the shoulders of giants.
I caught HIV when I was 21. Year One was hard. The sting of rejection never fully goes away, but it becomes your default way to weed out the people you don’t need in your life. Those who reject you are the ones you can’t help, can’t teach, can’t bother with. The ones who love and fuck you without fear are the ones you keep.
Great relationships and great community lie ahead. Please stick around to experience them.
You are both lovely and wise mister Cheves. I enjoy your column so much.
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Here’s a thought. I will be 69 this year. I have been HIV+ at least 25 of those. Beyond the trauma of the first year rejection has been the most difficult thing for me.
However, I have had sexual partners this last year with several guys, all in their 20s, believe it or not. All of them knew my HIV status. Those who reject me at this point do so because of my age or my status, or both.
It doesn’t matter at this point in my life. All I am saying is that it seems that the guys your age are becoming more educated and accepting, which is great. The older ones lived through the AIDS epidemic and are more often the ones who reject us.
As Beastly says, those are the ones you can’t reach or teach. They don’t trust or believe the science that proves HIV is not transmitted by someone who is on meds and is undetectable.
Take care of your self, body, mind and spirit.
Let your heart love without fear of rejection. Those who can’t accept and love you aren’t the best for you anyway.
Your response to the concerned 20 year old made me tear up, and I’m of the most generic gay stock being in my 30’s and white. I have no reason to align myself with any of the subclasses mentioned; I’m not black, I’m not Latino, I’m not trans … so why did it make me cry? Because I guess, when it comes down to it, I know that I’ve had struggles but I also know that fellow brethren suffer struggles within struggles, but that we are all one family. This whole family thing makes me tear up when I think of it, and I am romanticising here a bit. I know full well that gays can be hateful to eachother, just like anyone of any sexuality can be. But it’s the fact that we rally for each other when it’s needed, just like a real family does, that gives me this huge sense of pride in belonging to this worldwide family.
I’m sure my response here is all over the place, and I’m definitely having one of my emotional ‘male pms’ days …. so I’ll blame my lack of focused wiriting in that. But I just wanted to say excellent response to both questions and I love your blog.
And for the record, To the concerned 20 year old positive guy … I myself am likely to make my relationship with a pos guy official shortly, and I’m negative. A sure sign the times are changing. And while I never though I’d have any prejudice if this situation arose, I did find myself gettig worried. That’s when I took myself off to my doctors for a long chat, and he himself is gay, so it was very informative and comforting. Education can be key here, and anyone who may seem genuinely interested in you but scared off by your status and NOT willing to educate himself .. is not worth it. Best wishes to you all my fellow family members 😉 xo