Good Night Gracie

Subject: Straight woman

and gay man

I’m a woman and I have had a beautiful relationship with this wonderful gay man for eight years. Well, I feel the passion I have for him has grown from our trust, intimacy, knowledge of one another, etc. and I cannot stop my feelings that accompany this experience.

I know sometimes he becomes aroused but then goes off to deal with it by himself in the bathroom. He does not seem to want to share any physical/sexual intimacy with me at all. Once I asked him if I could use my mouth to give him sexual pleasure. If I loved a woman in the way that my friend and I love one another, I do not think I would be totally freaked out if she wanted to touch me sexually. Therefore, I do not understand why he feels no desire to touch me or have me touch him.

I wonder why he can’t just close his eyes while I pleasure him to orgasm, thinking about a penis or a male if he wants to, while I love him. I am extremely attracted to my friend in every way as a person, and there is so much sexual tension and I feel no release. On the other hand, maybe he is open to expressing something to me and I cannot tell.

Any ideas about how to hold onto this great, great friend without ruining our relationship with sexual desire? Isn’t it difficult for him to feel so close to me, but not to be able to say anything to me with physical affection? Why does this happen, and how should I deal with it?

Re: Straight woman and gay man

I guess we can call this the “Will and Grace” Syndrome––except I do want you to remember that Grace went off and got married last season! (Hold that thought, we’ll come back to it).

It may sound simplistic but what I can tell off the bat is that: 1) he really does value this friendship, but 2) he doesn’t want it to become sexual. And I have a feeling that, no matter how much you claim you are in love with him and are sexually attracted to him, you’re actually afraid of a truly intimate relationship as well.

“How can that be?” I’m sure you’re asking. “I’ve just told you I want to go down on him, for Christ’s sake!” But I’ll come back to that in a minute.

Let’s first forget for a moment that you are a woman. Let’s say that you were another gay man. Do you honestly think it would be in the bag, that you’d be humping every night? I ask that because I’ve answered plenty of letters in this column from gay men in the same situation with their gay male best friend.

A lot of gay men, like a lot of men in general––because of how we’re raised––are totally freaked out about intimacy, often to the point where it’s too out of control for a lot of us to have intimacy and sex in the same place. We compartmentalize, having fuck buddies on the one hand, and intimate friendships on the other. We often don’t want to ruin the intimate friendship by making it sexual, all of which would just be too overwhelming. So, just because he might be aroused, doesn’t mean he’d ever act on it, no matter your gender.

But then, of course, there are the very big facts that you are a woman and he is gay. Just because he can get aroused and even have sex with you, it doesn’t change those facts––unless of course he’s actually identifying as bisexual and gets off pretty equally and steamily with both genders, which doesn’t seem to be the case as you present it.

Many of us who are gay or lesbian have been involved with people of the opposite gender—many have even been married, and many still are—but it just doesn’t drive us wild the way that homo sex does. So yeah, even though he might have gotten an erection, he’s perhaps looking at the reality. And the reality appears to be that men light his fire big time, end of story, and that maybe he doesn’t want to complicate things by having sex with you that might be sort of okay for him but which he realizes would be a major hot thing for you.

And that brings us to you: Why would you want to pleasure someone, particularly someone you know and care about a lot, who is not thinking about you during the act? That gets to the core of your own self-esteem. And it is also what makes me think that you too might be fearful of intimacy––the healthy version of which, to me, is about an equal, 50-50 give and take, and not one person totally subjugating to the other.

I also do question someone who is focusing all of her attention on a man who is gay, knowing she can’t have him. It’s easier to obsess about someone we can’t have than to actually be intimate with someone we can have and to deal with all the fears that come with that. The reminds me of the overweight person who is told by everyone that he or she would be beautiful if thin but who never loses weight: It’s safer, emotionally, to believe you’d be hot one day than to risk actually losing weight and being attractive.

This is going to be tough, but I think you have to cut loose from this relationship entirely, at least for a time, until you meet someone––a guy who is straight. First off, I think you have a lot to give, are very caring and sexual, and do see yourself with someone, even if you might be fearful of it. That’s why I think you have to put yourself in a situation where you can bite the bullet and work on truly being intimate with a man who can be intimate in return.

Secondly, I don’t know how much your friend is stringing you along, but it sounds like there’s some of that, and that’s not healthy. Was he truly aroused, or just trying to keep you on the hook? Is he sending mixed signals? Does he want to keep you in this perpetual, virtual relationship, where he gets all his sex on the side while having intimacy with you—while you remain unfulfilled? You deserve a lot more than that. You can always be friends down the road, but first you have to go away and look at some realities about yourself.

Michelangelo Signorile hosts a daily radio show on Sirius Satellite Radio, stream 149.

E-mail Mike your questions at mike@signorile.com.

We also publish: