This page has information for married men and men who are in relationships with women. If you can’t find the information you need, please call MESMAC and we will do our best to help. MESMAC also offer 1-2-1 sessions, if you would like to talk to a MESMAC worker please call us in confidence on: 0191 233 1333 and we can arrange an appointment.
People’s sexuality is a complex business, and a lot of men find themselves attracted to other men at some point in their lives. Some men push that part of their sexuality to the back of their minds, and get married or form relationships with women to try and ‘deny’ that part of their sexuality. That can cause problems when their feelings towards men become stronger, and they feel they have to do something about it.
Not all men know about their same-sex attraction before they get married; some only come to that conclusion later on in life. Coming to terms with gay or bisexual feelings can be really difficult and distressing – particularly when that man is married, has kids and is used to living a ‘straight’ life.
Some men choose to regard themselves as gay and others as bisexual. Being gay usually means a man being only attracted to other men. Bisexual or ‘bi’ men are generally attracted to both men and women. Other men don’t identify as either gay or bisexual – they view themselves as straight men who occasionally get off with other men. It’s up to you how you define yourself – or if you choose not to do so at all.
Dealing with it
A lot of men who are married are able to keep their attraction to other men under some sort of control. However, during times of stress it is often harder for them to do that. Some men reach a point in their lives when they can’t deny their feelings any more, and make a decision to do something about it.
Some men have sex with other men in secret. That’s their choice, but it sometimes causes feelings of guilt which can be really difficult to deal with.
Other men reach a point where they want to change their whole life, and explore their sexuality openly, perhaps going on the gay scene or starting a long-term relationship with a male partner. Again these choices are very difficult ones, and cause major changes in men’s lives and the lives of their families.
Telling wives and family members
Some married men feel a need to tell those close to them that they’re attracted to men. Other men decide to keep these feelings separate from their wives or family. It should be YOUR choice how to handle YOUR situation. You’re the best person to predict how people would react if you told them, and only you can know how you would be affected by keeping quiet. Many men have difficulty deciding which approach is best. The bottom line is, if you’re not 100% sure, don’t do it. Wait until you’re certain it’s the right thing for you – because once you’ve told someone close to you, things are unlikely to be quite the same ever again.
It’s obviously important to consider the impact on wives, children and other family members. But it’s equally important to consider your own needs and feelings. Sometimes, men work out compromises with their wives which suit both people. Other men (or their heterosexual partners) prefer to make a clean break.
Meeting Men & Risk Factors
Some cities have specific gay bars or gay saunas where men can meet other men. These places can be hard to find, but MESMAC will be able to advise you. Obviously, there is always the chance that you might be spotted by someone, so you need to weigh up the risk for yourself.
The Internet is a useful way of getting more information about services for married men, and sometimes enables you to talk to other men online. But DON’T FORGET that all personal computers keep a log of which sites are accessed, so NEVER use a machine that someone else can monitor, for example at work.
Telephone chat services are another way of making contact with other men. However, these services can be very costly, and premium rate numbers do appear on telephone bills. The gay press, and some regular papers have details of chat-lines in their personals section.
Personal ads in publications such as ‘Gay Times’, ‘SuperAds’ & ‘Quids-In’ are another popular way of meeting up with other men. This isn’t always suitable for men who can’t receive mail at home, but some of the telephone services have a ‘voice-mail’ system which can get round this problem.
Certain lay-bys, parks and toilets throughout the country are places where men go to pick up other men. This may be quick and anonymous, but it is potentially very risky. The Police visit these areas to deter site users, or to arrest them, since sex in public places is almost always illegal. There is also the risk of physical assault or robbery as these spots are often very secluded.
HIV & sexual health
HIV (the virus which can lead to AIDS) is present in blood, vaginal fluids, pre-cum and semen (cum). Unprotected sex is an easy way for HIV to pass from one person to another.
That’s why it’s so important to use condoms every time you have anal or vaginal sex. Here are some points to bear in mind:
For anal sex with men OR women, it’s always best to use condoms, like Durex or the Boy’s Own brand.
Use water-based lubricant, like KY, when you have anal sex. This helps stop the condom breaking, and also helps prevent any physical pain or injury to the person who’s taking it.
It’s important to bear in mind that anal sex isn’t the only way you can catch an infection. Some diseases, such as gonorrhoea, hepatitis B and herpes, can be passed on through oral sex. You can significantly cut down the chances of catching anything through oral sex by using a condom for sucking or being sucked- you can get flavoured condoms for just this purpose.
Almost any form of sex carries some risk of sexually transmitted infections (STIs). If you’re having sex with your wife or girlfriend and also other men, be aware that you might pass something on to her.
Many married men don’t use condoms for sex with their wives, relying on other forms of birth control instead. It can be really difficult to introduce condoms into a relationship after years of not using them, so the best strategy is to make sure that the sex you have with men is as safe as possible.
It’s important to look after your own sexual health – and if you’re having sex which your main sex partner doesn’t know about, then it’s important to protect them as well. Most STIs are treatable, so if you’re worried that you might have picked something up, you can get a confidential check up at a Sexual Health clinic. For details of your local clinic, call MESMAC or NHS Direct on 0845 4647. Sexual Health clinics can also provide HIV testing and vaccinations for Hepatitis B. MESMAC can offer 1 Hour HIV Testing.
Services provided by MESMAC North-East
MESMAC recognises that married gay or bisexual men have to make difficult choices and are often very isolated and have few people they can confide in. We provide confidential support and advice about:
- Sexual health
- Making contact with other men
- Coming out to wives, children and other family members
- Problems with the Police
You can access MESMAC’s services over the telephone or in person, on a 1-2-1 basis, or you can e-mail us:
THE LGBT FOUNDATION MARRIED MEN’S GROUP– MANCHESTER
The LGBT Foundation married men’s group is a closed group. This means that members who would like to attend the group will be asked to complete an application form and go in for a chat with the Wellbeing Officer. This enables them to best support you!
The group will be 8 meetings long, and will include practical guidance such as legal advice, relevant discussions across a number of relevant subjects, and information about other support services. The group will be open to men who are in, or have recently been in, a heterosexual relationship, and who have feelings towards other men. The group will be a safe and confidential space to share and discuss, as well as meet others and gain peer support and build friendships beyond the 8 sessions!
If you have any questions or would like an application form, please phone the LGBT Foundation on:
Call: 0345 3 30 30 30
The National website for gay fathers at: www.gaydads.co.uk
BISEXUAL MARRIED MEN
A new website aiming to offer information, advice and strengthen networks for bisexual married men.
STRAIGHT SPOUSE SUPPORT
An organisation to help the the straight spouse cope with a gay husband.
Parents Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays
The parents, families and friends of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons, celebrate diversity and envision a society that embraces everyone, including those of diverse sexual orientations and gender identities. Only with respect, dignity and equality for all will they reach their full potential as human beings, individually and collectively. PFLAG welcomes the participation and support of all who share in, and hope to realize this vision.
GAY FAMILY SUPPORT
Parents of gay children you’re not alone. If you are a parent that has just found out your son or daughter is gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender and are now feeling shocked, unsure, isolated or many of the other emotions that parents feel when they first discover thei childs sexual orientation or gender identity, (that is different to their own) then this site will be invaluable to you.
An organisation offering free, confidential and non-judgemental advice, information and support to all family members, spouses, partners and friends of transsexual people in the UK.
Discovered you have a gay husband? English Wifes are a small caring support group for British WIVES of gay or bisexual men. Members only online group.