Making the Decision to Come Out
I’m a fifty-year-old man with two sons, ages 23 and 25. I have struggled with my sexual desires for men for as long as I can remember, and as I get older, it seems harder and harder to resist this, but I have had only very limited experience with men. How did you decide you are gay and what made you decide to leave your family and come out?
Leaving my wife and two young daughters was one of the most difficult things I have ever done. I struggled with the decision for many years. The question of leaving my family and coming out or staying married and trying to repress my desires seemed to have no good answer.
Throughout my marriage, until near the end, I was faithful to my wife. I had a few opportunities to have sex with men, but I resisted them until one brief encounter when I was traveling. But the experience was not sexually satisfying because it was without any chemistry between me and the other man, and the guilt about it reinforced my belief that I was not gay.
Several years later I met man at the gym. He was married, and I was still married. What could possibly go wrong, right? I thought it would be a quick, one off experience to satisfy my curiosity about man on man sex. I wasn’t sure what to expect, although I thought what would probably happen was I would be on the receiving end of oral sex. Over and done. Curiosity satisfied. Back to my old life as husband and father. Nothing much changed.
What happened was that beyond the sex, I found him very attractive in many ways, and I began to fall in love with him. As I wrote in Finally Out, what really shifted things inside my head was when he kissed me. I had never thought of kissing another man; I was so naïve about it that I didn’t even know men kissed when they had sex. (In conversations with other men since then, I have found that many men who have sex with men won’t kiss as if it is just a step too far. In many ways kissing is more intimate than genital sex.)
But that kiss was powerful, not just a perfunctory kiss on the way to getting down to business. It stirred up in me feelings I had never felt before. It was a kiss that had no respect for my rational thought! Although I had always been curious about how men decide who does what to whom, the kiss removed all of the rules of love-making that had cluttered my mind. Things just flowed from that moment with no exchange of words. Sensuality, passion, touch and emotional intimacy all came together that for me in a way they never had before.
At that moment I knew that I am gay. I could think of no other explanation for the reason I felt like I did. Although I briefly thought that I might be bisexual, as the relationship with this other man evolved, I knew that I either wanted to be with this man, or if it ended because of the complexities of our involvement, I wanted to share those feelings with another man.