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Monogamy in Gay Couples

Dr. Olson,

I don’t know how to ask this, not even sure if I should, but I will. Given that there is a difference in sex drives between younger and older men, and you are significantly older than your partner, did that ever create conflict for you and/or him, and if so, how did you resolve it?

You may ask me anything—my life’s pretty much an open book—but I also suspect that you are more interested in your own sex life than mine, and I’m guessing you are concerned about differences in sexual desires between you and either a much older or younger partner. Continue reading

Loving Women with Penises

Dr. Olson,

I feel a bit lost. I’m in my late twenties, and I have been trying to date women quite unsuccessfully for years. As a teenager I didn’t know if I liked women or men. I didn’t get aroused by looking at women in erotic materials most of the time, but I didn’t have much response looking at erotic materials of men either.

One day I found a website and thought this woman looks like the type of woman I would like to have sex with. Scrolling down, I realized she was a nonoperative, transgender woman—a woman with a penis—and I had a stronger reaction than I have ever had. I avoided it for years. Now I find that when I see a woman who was born a woman, I feel there’s something missing, and I have a recurrent fantasy of being with a woman with a penis. I have avoided it because I feel it’s something wrong, but now I think that maybe I would like to have a girlfriend who is transgender, and my arguments against it are becoming less and less good.

 Now the only things that are nearly stopping me are what my family, friends, coworkers, or neighbors would think; how it would impact my job; what risks I would experience in defending against others’ hate; what God would say; and whether there’s a “cure” for this.

You are not as alone as you feel. A book called Everybody Lies: Big Data, New Data, and What the Internet Can Tell Us about Who We Really Are gives us some insight. The author argues that the best way to learn what people are really thinking and doing isn’t to look at research based on surveys; what people are doing is best considered by looking at big data like Google and Pornhub searches. Continue reading

Are Women Terrified about Coming Out?

Loren,

I just read your comment that concealed sexual orientation is like an abscess begging to be ruptured. Can this be true about women also? I work with a lady who is late middle-age and I think she is struggling with this. Her looks are gay or androgynous. I cannot imagine being that terrified of my sexuality. I feel like I have fallen in love with her.

First let me say that most of my work has been with men, and I don’t want to attempt to mansplain women’s experiences. Women need to do that for themselves. I did ask some women to read my book, Finally Out: Letting Go of Living Straight, to see if they felt their experience paralleled my own. Continue reading

Religion and the Shackles of Lies and Hypocrisy

Dr. Olson,

Thank you so much for your essay on loneliness. It felt like the story of my life. I am currently seeking ways to free myself from the closet. I am older, not young. Maybe it’s beginning to happen now. I have read much about liberating myself from what I call “the shackles of lies and hypocrisy.” For me, religion has been a big difficulty. I’m trying my best to overcome my religion’s expectations and living a lie in the closet.

I was raised a Lutheran and at one time thought I’d always be a Lutheran, but when I came out to my mother, she went to her pastor, who told her, “Loren is going to hell unless he changes his ‘lifestyle.’” I left formal religion for the next twenty years but returned after I discovered an open and affirming church where I felt at home as an openly gay man. Lutheran churches are not all the same, and many have since moderated their stance on sexual orientation. But the point here isn’t about one religion or another. The point is that religious beliefs vary even within a church umbrella, and religious beliefs also evolve. It appears there is no “One Truth.” Continue reading

When Should I Say “I Love You”?

Sir,

I am a mid-20s, gay male from [East Asia]. I have not come out. I have found the love of my life and he is in his mid-60s. I am from a higher caste than he is, but neither of us see that as a problem. I think he considers me his son. I have met his family and they accept me. We speak to each other about very personal things, but we have never spoken about our love for each other or my being gay. I think he knows that I love him. I want to tell him that I love him, but I am afraid to for fear of losing this relationship. What do you think I should do?

Everything you’ve written points to the fact that you love this man and that he loves you. Although the words haven’t been spoken, your behavior toward each other suggests this is true. It now appears that you are at a turning point where you wish to take your relationship with him to another level. Is it time to say “I love you”? Continue reading

My Partner Has Lost Interest in Sex

Dr. Olson,

I have been with my partner for 24 years and we still have a good relationship, but he has lost all interest in sex. He treats me well and really seems to care about me, but we haven’t had any sexual intimacy in almost three years. When I want to talk about it, he casually dismisses the subject. I miss having that physical intimacy and wonder if it’s okay to experience it outside my relationship with him.

For a variety of reasons, all couples, gay or straight, travel through sexual deserts, but a three-year trek through this desert is an unusually long period of time. First, let’s examine male sexual functioning in general terms. (You can get a copy of my handout on self-esteem on my website.) Continue reading

Is Being Gay Something I Can Change?

Hello, Dr. Olson.

I am a man in my early thirties, and I’ve only recently realized I’m gay after having unexpectedly fallen for a man who rocked me to my core. It was incredibly hot, sexy, and intense, but we connected in so many other ways too. I am not currently seeing him because I must work some things out. I’ve now come out to my wife whom I love. She believes that if I work hard enough on this, I can change, but deep down, I know I don’t want to change. How can I help her understand that being gay isn’t something I can change and because of it I can’t ever give her what she really needs?

Imagine being in a jail cell and standing at the door looking through the bars, wondering how you can escape. After struggling at the gate for a long time, you look to your left and then to your right. There are no walls there, only ones you imagined. You discover you can escape, but only by changing the directions through which you’re trying to escape. That is where you are now. Continue reading

Can God Help Me Stop Being Sexually Attracted to Other Men?

Hello, Dr. Olson,

I am a thirty-yearold man who only recently realized that I am gay. I come from a very, very conservative Christian background, so every sense of being attracted to other boys was shut down until recently when I met a guy who rocked me deeply to my core. I have come out to a few family members who’ve told me that Satan has found a breach in my soul and entered, and he is now trying to destroy me and my family. I am reading the Bible and praying that God can change me, but I know deep down that I don’t want it to work. Do you think that I can be changed?

First let me say that I cannot counsel you about your religion, but what I can tell you is that dealing with the conflict between religion and sexual orientation is often the most difficult issue we must confront. Fortunately, one of the advantages of growing older is that we can think for ourselves. Continue reading

Is Porn Ruining Your Sex Life?

Dr. Olson,

I’m sexually attracted to my wife, and she is a very sexual person, but sometimes we don’t have sex for a while because I have been watching porn, masturbated, and can’t be sexual with her. She thinks I’m addicted to porn and interprets my sexual contentment as not finding her attractive. I guess I’ve been neglecting her needs by giving myself an orgasm. There are so many different angles to sexuality, and it is challenging to match two people’s unique drives.

You are not alone in this. A recent report in the Washington Post suggests that adults in the United States are having less sex, and the number of people who reported having no sex at all in the past year reached an all-time high in 2018.

Full disclosure: While I’d like to say that my interest in porn has been purely scientific, the fact is sometimes I enjoy porn. Let’s set aside the issues of whether lust, masturbation, and porn are sinful and look only at the behavior.

Continue reading

Why Am I Attracted Only to Older Men?

Hello, Dr. Olson!

I am in my early thirties, and I came out about a year ago after years of casually dating women while having discreet sexual encounters with men much, much older than me. Since coming out, I have tried to date guys closer to my own age but have found that the sexual attraction just isn’t there for me.

I am grappling with the fact that my desires are what they are and trying to reconcile them with expectations for where I want to be in my own life, how I present myself to others, and my fear of judgment from friends and family.

Why don’t I feel the same attraction to guys closer to my own age than I do to guys 20–30+ years older than me? How could a 65-year-old man and I possibly live every day together? I feel that I should be seeking a more “practical” lifelong partner. We are so vastly different in terms of schedule and lifestyle. These are the questions I ask myself.

This is an important question and one I am asked about frequently. First, loving another person is never practical. Our attraction to another is not a rational process but happens due to forces outside of our consciousness and control.

Continue reading

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