Absurd parallel? Living a lie in homosexuality vs urge to cheat one's spouse

Bear with me here as I put on my asbestos suit.

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OK: Here’s the thing I’ve been wondering for a while. I am happily married, and yet once in a while I can’t help thinking to myself, “whoa, Nellie, look at that filly’s gams/knockers/what have you” and realize that I do indeed have a biological urge to cheerfully spread my seed as far and wide as possible. But the thing is, I don’t. And even if I didn’t love my wife as much as I do, I would still feel a sense of responsibility toward her family, my family and our child to keep my pants well zipped.

So, I have this biological urge that, if unchecked, would make me a serial cheater. And yet I keep this urge in check and conform to a (biologically) unnatural state of monogomy, to a large extent due to a feeling that I ought to conform to the social role of a Married Man and Father.

So . . . am I “living a lie” à la Alex Keaton’s mom, or what?

(Exposition of explicit parallels available upon request.)

So you didn’t cheat on your spouse. What do you want, a medal or something?

Nah, just your honest answer to a simple yes or no question. Am I “living a lie” for not going with my biological urges & instead conforming to a certain social role?

Sex isn’t love. Homosexuality is about romantic interest not just sexual. Heterosexual porn stars can perform sexual acts with people of the same sex and be sexually satisfied by it.

So no, resisting your sexual urges isn’t the same thing.

I’m not entirely sure what your getting at, but are you saying not cheating on your sexual partner in a heterosexual relationship is equal to not acting on any sexual urges whatsoever as a homo or bisexual? Shouldn’t the comparison be not cheating on who you’re with vs not cheating on who you’re with?

Now that’s interesting, because I’ve heard some folks on the boards here say that it’s quite possible to cheat on one’s spouse without sex – that is, if I’ve got a high degree of emotional intimacy with another woman without my wife’s knowledge, that can be just as hurtful as the actual sex thing. I think there’s some correlation between romance & emotional intimacy, isn’t there? And even when I’m checking out that filly down the hall, I’m not solely fixated on the old rumpy pumpy, I think (if I went down that route) romance would play a big part as well.

Well, it’s just that in the thread about Meredith Baxter I get the impression that it’s supposed to be “living a lie” if you realize you actually kind of have an attraction to members of the same sex while you’re married to someone of the opposite sex.

Saying one is living a lie sounds like some pretty heavy criticism and an indication that they should change their circumstances to be more honest, I suppose. Well, honestly & left to my own asocial devices “I’d be mounting every woman in Wabasha.”

So if a married Oscar Wilde was living a lie, how am I not living a lie?

Fine, you’re living a lie.

Presumably you knew the trade-offs of marriage and chose it freely because you felt like the advantages were worth it.

I mean, it’s not like you would really be banging every hot woman you see. You’d be dealing with dating, rejection, loneliness, crazy women, risks of STDs and unwanted kids, etc. For most of us, single life is not some awesome carefree sex fest (god I wish it were!) Marriage has offered you some great advantages- a steady source of sex and companionship, freedom from the ups and downs of dating, a good way to raise children, financial stability, etc.

I would hope that if you are not into monogamy, you would avoid marriage or seek out an open marriage. But if for some reason you did get married and being monogamous is genuinely making you extremely miserable, I’d say it’d be okay to get divorced. I don’t think we really expect anyone who is genuinely extremely unhappy with their partner- for whatever reason- to stay. We might raise our eyebrows if you run off with the secretary. But if you’ve been married for years, have been unhappy all that time, and are genuinely in love with the secretary, I think people would come to accept it.

In any case, closeted gay people in straight marriages usually did not freely choose the marriage and it’s trade-offs. Either society or their own fear forced them into it.

Let me also note that if you’re homosexual and married someone of the opposite sex due to societal pressures, that’s a far different thing from being married and desiring someone else. Trying to pretend that you love someone is a lie. Living with someone you do love isn’t.

No, you are simply using your self control to behave how you consider right. It’s no more “living a lie” than not murdering everyone you find irritating is “living a lie”. That’s not the same thing as lying to avoid the harassment and possible attacks of bigots, in a nation dominated by such bigots.

No, what you’re doing is like resisting the urge to live on chocolate cake, ice cream and pizza. You know a healthy diet is good for you, even though your urges tell you to just eat what tastes good. You aren’t “living a lie” by watching your diet, you’re just being adult.

Living a lie would be denying your heterosexuality. I’m guessing society encourages you to be heterosexual and you and your wife enjoy lots of heterosexuality with each other.

But cheating is cheating, either way.

No argument there. But aren’t there plenty of people like Ellen Degeneres, George Michael or Marilyn Baxter who were in heterosexual relationships previously, with their own free and adult decisions to enter those relationships? What I find mildly irksome is the belittlement of those relationships and by extension the belittlement of the protagonists themselves. It’s like, “Oh, poor little homo, either you were a victim or just lying to yourself about your homo nature.”

This is strictly devil’s advocate territory here, but couldn’t the exact same argument be made to someone who is (mostly) homosexual, to urge them to settle down and try to be happy in a heterosexual marriage? Again, not that I advocate that, but I’m wondering just how great the difference is.

But in that case your argument is with what the individual or society considers “healthy” in a relationship. Again, strictly devil’s advocate: but in societies where homosexuality is considered a youthful indiscretion rather than a matter of one’s personal identity, maybe the analogy would be someone who doesn’t have the self-discipline not to raid the refrigerator at night. Tsk, tsk!

Helpin’ heapin’s of heterosexuality, you got me pegged there.

The difference is that it’s impossible for a homosexual to do that. Rather the opposite; such a relationship is only going to make them more unhappy. How do I know that? Easy; as a straight male, all I have to do is imagine how I’d feel if I was married to and having sex with a man out of fear.

Society’s opinion is irrelevant. Over eating is objectively unhealthy, and homosexuality isn’t a “youthful indiscretion” any more than heterosexuality is. Reality is what it is.

As a devoted Dan Savage listener and based on the experiences of RL friends and acquaintances: Sometimes the person tries so hard to be straight that they get into hetero relationships with people they like, mistaking it for love, until they finally admit that they’re fooling themselves. And sometimes people’s sexual attraction changes; this seems to be far more the case for women (Savage describes their sexual orientation as “more fluid” than men). I know a woman who was straight, then was in a lesbian relationship for several years before deciding that she wasn’t really gay and eventually marrying a guy. It happens.

As for “living a lie”, this would be the case if you were merely pretending to be happily married and in fact had no emotional or physical attraction to your wife but kept up the charade for the sake of appearances/the kids/etc, regardless of whether you are attracted to someone else or not. If you’re happy with your current situation and just want more women - that’s called “being a guy”.

First of all, I don’t think monogamy is “unnatural” for a male human. It’s not mandated, but it occurs frequently even in societies where multiple wives/partners are fully accepted, or men have mistresses/concubines are accepted. Throughout human history men who stuck by a singular partner and help raise the kids were more likely to have their kids reach adulthood, and successful reproduction is an important thing in biology. It’s one reproductive strategy among several open to human beings.

Second, I suspect at least some of these “homosexuals living a lie in a heterosexual marriage” are actually BIsexual, attracted to both sexes. In which case they aren’t “living a lie” so much practicing serial monogamy (I seem to recall Ann Heche living with a man, then a woman, then another man - she would be a possible example). Some people are appear to be more uncomfortable with bisexuality than homosexuality for some reason, as if they’re upset these people can’t “decide” to be one thing or another. Well, a bisexual is a bisexual, attracted to both sexes, and indecision has nothing to do with it, it’s just what they are.

Not really. It’s comparing some trade-offs you make being in a marriage that you are happy in versus being in a marriage that you are deeply unhappy being in but you’re doing it to try to be happy - or more honestly you’re trying to make society and your family and friends happy.

You’re comparing being unhappy with minor down sides of monogamy with being unhappy denying your actual sexual orientation and frankly they are minor downsides; you’re not going to be jumping into bed with everyone who tickles your fancy should you decide to cheat. Everyone can be unhappy with monogamy, it doesn’t require being heterosexual. It isn’t even really unhappiness with being monogamous that you’re talking about; it’s the basic decency to keep it in your pants when your partner thinks you are in a committed relationship. If you’re *really * so deeply unhappy being in a monogamous relationship that you want to be in an open marriage, a swinging relationship or whatever it might be a closer comparison. Again though, this doesn’t require heterosexuality; you could be bi or homosexual and feel the same way about monogamy.

I have ‘biological urges’ of attraction towards people on a semi-regular basis, but I have zero interest in actually pursuing sex with them. I don’t think I am going against my nature by staying in my monogamous LTR. It’s just that my eyes are primed to notice attractive people, and my body to respond to that. But if there’s no sex (or even flirting) happening I don’t see what it matters. Obviously I have strong reasons to preferring my current monogamous LTR, and they far outweigh the desire to get some new ass or romantically pursue someone who seems a better catch for whatever reason.

Based on anthropology I think serial monogamy (with some cheating on the side and a chance of polygamy for men with resources), is the norm for the human species, and that’s what seems to occur the most in cultures without strong rules about sexual relationships. Like in our own right now among unmarried people - I know a very few who pursue no-strings-attached sex, but most move from one exclusive relationship to another (sometimes very quickly), and there is lots of sexual cheating that they attempt to keep discreet.

Am I “living a lie” for not going with my biological urges & instead waiting until I get to the bathroom to relieve my bladder? :slight_smile:

What you’re doing isn’t “living a lie”; it’s forgoing immediate gratification in favor of long-term goods (for yourself and others); or it’s choosing one urge over another competing urge.

A homosexual person in a monogamous, opposite-sex marriage isn’t parallel to your situation, but a bisexual person might be. It seems to me that being bisexual no more entitles one to have sexual partners of both sexes than being heterosexual entitles one to have multiple sexual partners of the opposite sex.