Loren A. Olson, MD

AUTHOR

Ask the Doc

Dr. Olson welcomes your questions and comments about your sexual identity, coming out, sexual functioning, relationships, and how to face aging with optimism. Feel free to write him about any of these or related topics at askthedoc@lorenaolson.com.

Dr. Olson will always respect your privacy. Although he may use the content of your message in a blog post, he will never disclose your identity, age, or specific location in his responses. Any information that might reveal your identity will be altered in such a way that it protects your identity. All questions have been edited and abbreviated  for publication.

His responses are not to be considered medical advice.

My Husband Is Gay for Pay

I recently discovered that my husband is having sex with men for money so he can buy marijuana. I don’t allow him to use our money to buy it. He likes anal sex, but I never had it with him because it’s against my beliefs. He does not know that I know that he is having sex with men. My friends know him and the men he is having sex with and their children. Is he homosexual? Should I ask for a divorce? What should I do? I am confused, very disappointed, and upset.

Your brief message contains a lot of different questions to address, so I’ll tackle the questions that may be the most difficult for you but are the easiest ones for me to respond to. First, just a word about terminology. Gay is the preferred word to use for people who have an enduring physical, romantic, and emotional attraction to people of the same gender. The word homosexual is considered an outdated term, and many gay people find it offensive.

Continue reading

Men’s Sexual Attraction to Trans Women

The following two comments came from two very different men, but they have one thing in common: They are both attracted to preoperative, transgender women (a person born a male who has partially transitioned to being a female but still has a penis).

  1. I am laser focused on my attraction to trans women; I feel no sexual attraction in the absence of a penis. I am also attracted to feminine men. I came out to my wife but can’t explain to her why she cannot meet my needs as a gay man.
  2. I’m in my sixties and in a sexless marriage. After discovering “she-males” and “fem boy” gay porn, I decided to give it a try. It turned out to be great sex, both as the penetrative and the penetrated partner. I’d rather be with a woman, but it’s a lot easier hooking up with men than it is with women, and like me, most of them just want sex.

These two men are sexually attracted to the female body but only if that body has a penis. The technical term for this is a mouthful: “gynandromorphophila,” sometimes shortened to GAMP. The technical term is more understandable when broken down into its Greek roots: gyn = female, andro = male, morph = form, philia = love,or in other words, a love for the body of someone who has both male and female characteristics. Continue reading

Grieving the Loss of an Older Partner

The following was written by someone who’d read an essay I wrote about younger gay men who are attracted to older men. I frequently hear from younger men who are questioning why they are exclusively attracted to significantly older men, but this subject isn’t frequently addressed. This type of relationship is also often misunderstood even by those of us in the LGBTQ community. I wrote about it in Finally Out: Letting Go of Living Straight in a section called “Men with Rounded Corners.” Here are “Jim’s” comments (edited to protect his identity and used with his permission).

I just read your essay “The Curse of an Attraction to Older Gay Men” in Psychology Today, and it was strange to read something so personal, insightful and very close to my own thoughts. I have read it a few times and have shared it with friends. I will order your book when I get back to Ireland.  Continue reading

From the Straight Spouse’s Perspective

My husband is having an affair with a man. We have four young children. He moved out quickly after I discovered the relationship. I am worried about him and I don’t know how to make this better for him and for us. His kids miss him. I honestly thought we had a happy and loving marriage. Do you have any advice for me? Or for him?

Thank you for sending your question, and I’ve written a lot about how the gay spouse proceeds through this process. I only occasionally hear from women or men who have been left behind. So in this response, I’m going to focus on you and them. Continue reading

Spontaneous Erections

I am a naturist, and some women in our community claim that a “real” naturist man would not get an erection without being sexually aroused. I believe spontaneous erections happen without sexual arousal. I remember multiple daily erections during my elementary and middle school years. What in the world causes an erection in math class? Aren’t spontaneous erections the sign of a happy, healthy male of any age rather than a sign of sexual arousal?

An erection is a  complex physiological process involving the brain, nervous system, hormones, and muscles. It makes sense why women who are naturists might associate erections with a desire for sex; many of them may have only had experience with an erect penis in a sexual context. Continue reading

Children of Gay and Bi Fathers

Dear Dr. Olson,
I was married to a “bi” man for over twenty years. We never told our son until we separated and were divorcing. He wanted to know why we were divorcing, so his dad told him. Our son was a teenager when my ex-husband disclosed this. How does keeping the sexual orientation of a parent secret from a child affect a child/teen/man psychologically? My ex had sex with only men besides me before and during our marriage and identified as openly gay after our divorce. 

You have asked a good question that does not have an easy answer. First of all, it depends upon the child’s level of maturity and experience in the world.  Continue reading

I Love my Wife but I Think I’m Gay

I frequently hear from gay men, “I love my wife but I just can’t shut off the attraction I have for men. What should I do?” As I was working on an essay for Psychology Today, I got an email from my ex-wife, whom I divorced 32 years ago, asking me to have lunch.  “Nothing serious.  Just haven’t caught up in a while.” I quickly accepted the invitation. My experience is unimaginable to some straight spouses, and for us, it didn’t come easily or quickly.
Sometimes we’re left with the choice between a bad decision and a worse decision, but things may not be as bad as they seem.  Click here to read

Are All Gay Men Narcissists?

Since my essay, “My Husband Is Having an Affair…With a Man,” was published, I have received many, many comments. Although some of the comments were supportive, many of them were challenging, such as this one: Sadly, most married, closeted gay men are manipulative, narcissistic con artists who only think about themselves with only occasional feelings of guilt and remorse. Their decision to leave or stay in their marriages is never out of consideration for the wife.
To read Digging Deeper with Straight Spouses – Part I, click here.

Literary and Other Resources

There appear to be plenty of novels regarding the coming out process for gays in one’s teens, but are there any that focus on the coming out trials of the much older man? I have yet to find any such invention. Do you know of any? If there are none, wouldn’t a skilled novelist articulate our difficulties and form a powerful commonality among those I imagine you encounter? Now in my sixth decade, I find myself most times in lonely despair.

Thank you for your nice comments about Finally Out. Many people share our story or something very similar to it.

I am concerned about your lonely despair. Even at your age, you can still successfully get through this process of coming out. In my research, the oldest man I came across was in his nineties when he came out, and he was living with his gay lover when I met him. The most important thing for you to do today, however, isn’t to seek out a lover but find friends, gay or straight, who accept you as you now have revealed yourself to your wife and, more importantly, to you. Continue reading

The Shame and Guilt of Same-Sex Attraction

Hi, Dr. Olson,

I am a middle-aged divorced man, and since my divorce I have been struggling with my sexual identity. Perhaps I have always been in denial or confusion with my sexuality. Growing up I had female friends but felt intimidated by them sexually. My first sexual experience was with a childhood friend, but I felt sick, ashamed, and guilty. This increased my need to always have a girlfriend to suppress this shame. Following my divorce, I felt incredibly lonely and started flirting with guys online. For the first time, I felt attractive. Who am I?

Your story is very familiar to me and not much different from my own. Some find it hard to believe that a man could reach middle age before questioning his sexual identity, but in my research, I have even interviewed a man in his nineties who, having lost his wife of over fifty years, began to explore his same-sex attractions. Seeking an answer to the question of who I am led me to write Finally Out: Letting Go of Living Straight.  Continue reading

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