Is my husband really gay?

Dear Sex Educator,

I have been married for 18 years, and I recently found some pictures in my husband’s e-mail of “She-Males”. When I questioned him, I asked him if he was gay and he said NO. When I asked if he liked to wear women’s clothing, he said “maybe – I don’t know”. He is in the Navy, so this was discovered and talked about over the phone while we were seperated.

When he came home and we talked about it, he said it was an “oral-sexual thing” – that he liked oral sex and that is why he liked to look at that kind of pornography. He said he couldn’t explain it and didn’t know why he liked looking at that. He said it was unusual and he couldn’t explain it.

Now, I am pretty open and free about sex and talking about, it but he is from the old school and just won’t open up. I think there is more going on. He says it’s just sexual stimulation, but I think there is more to it. I tried to find articles on the Internet about men looking at she-males or transsexuals but couldn’t find any, so it must not be that common. What should I do? Is there more going on than just a sexual stimulation for him?

Actually, it really may be just a form of turn-on for him, and it may not represent any hidden desires or wishes at all. A lot of fantasies (even visual ones) serve just as mental arousal tools – the fantasy is not something that the person wants to explore or live out in real life. In fact, most fantasies are more powerful when they remain in the head and are not acted upon. So he may find it arousing and exciting to see these images of “she-males” and to see the act of oral sex being performed by or on them, but he may not picture himself either acting on the person or being acted upon by that person.

The best thing you can do is let him know that his fantasies are okay, and that you don’t care what they are. Then you can offer him the option of exploring any fantasy he wants, on his terms, if that’s something he wants to do. Leave it at that, unless he perks up and indicates that he does indeed want to try something new (maybe he’d find it a turn-on to see you with a realistic strap-on, who knows?). If he sounds interested, ask him what he’d like to try. You can also talk him through a fantasy without involving another person at all, by acting it out yourselves. Just have him lie back, close his eyes and pretend whatever turns him on is happening. That can be very hot and fulfill a lot of desires without opening your relationship up to other people.

It doesn’t really matter if he considers himself heterosexual, bisexual or whatever. Labels are not particularly useful when it comes to talking about what excites us. It’s best to just meet him where he is, ask if he wants to share some of his fantasies (and think about whether you want to share some of yours!), and go from there. It may be that he doesn’t want to share his fantasies or act on them in any way, other than looking at these pictures while masturbating – and that’s okay, too. What he looks at and fantasizes about has little do with what he’s interested in in real life.

The Sex Educator