homoerotic fantasies

Reader G. J. asks:

I’ve been maried for five years, and my sex life is pretty good.  But I can’t stop fantasizing about having sex with another man.  I don’t think I’m gay, since I love my wife and am very turned on by her.  But I’m not sure if I should tell her about my fantasies about men.  What do you think?

Dear G.J.:

I have to preface this by saying I’m not a psychologist or a sex therapist. But I have read a lot.

Many religious institutions posit that thinking something sexual is tantamount to doing said sexual thing, i.e. if you’re fantasizing about committing adultery against your wife, then you’re basically doing it. If you or your wife subscribe to this religious point of view, you’ve got a world of counseling ahead of you that I can’t help you with.

Outside of the religious sphere, most sex therapists and psychologists agree that sexual fantasies are a natural, healthy part of life. Part of what makes human beings so interesting is that we can have an entire world going on in our brains that never has to come out in the “real world”. In fact, many people enjoy sexual fantasies in their minds that they would never participate in, even given the opportunity to do so.

Sleeping woman

Who knows what she's dreaming of? Image: Danilo Rizzuti / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

You’re not weird for having homoerotic fantasies while still maintaining an attraction to your wife. If these fantasies were stopping you from enjoying sex with your wife, then I’d say there’s something else going on. There are studies out there that would tell you that men are only turned on by the kind of sex they enjoy — either homosexual or heterosexual — leaving no room for bisexual men. But I think that there’s a lot more going on in the individual psyche than these studies allow. I don’t think you’re gay, either. You may be bisexual, or you may just have homoerotic fantasies. Sexuality is a spectrum, especially when you get down to each individual and his or her own preferences. I firmly believe no two people are alike, and categorizing people, while it may make it easier for us to find partners (you’re straight, I’m straight; you’re gay, I’m gay), doesn’t necessarily help us in our sex lives.

In terms of telling your wife about these fantasies, I endorse it wholeheartedly. An intimate sexual partnership only gets stronger when you divulge your inner life to your partner. Sharing fantasies is one reason people have intimate sex in the first place. Maybe your wife has always had a fantasy about a threesome with another man. Who knows what her fantasies are?

Of course, as I’ve said in other posts, most people don’t get married so they can have sex with other people. (Some make arrangements to that effect, though.) She may, however, be willing to indulge your fantasy in other ways. Perhaps she’d be up for getting a strap on? Or maybe she’d be up for watching gay porn with you? (Those same studies that say there are no bisexual men have shown that women are turned on by any kind of sex. Like, watching animals have sex turns women on. The only problem is, most of the time the women are just not aware that they’re turned on. Go figure.) It depends on how open your wife is to experimentation, and how comfortable you are including her in it.

Furthermore, if these fantasies are bothering you, talking about them with her can only help you. Getting them out in the open is the best way to decide what to feel about them. There may be something else going on in your head you’re unaware of. While homoerotic fantasies are not unusual or unhealthy in a straight man, they may not be based on something as simple as attraction to other men. Is there a specific man you’re fantasizing about? Are they fantasies about dominance or being submissive? These are all things you may want to discuss with a real therapist.

In terms of how to tell your wife about this, it all depends on your relationship. You have made it clear that you’re not dissatisfied with her, and I would make sure that she knows that when you divulge this information to her. Some women are very touchy about this sort of thing — if you’re having fantasies about someone else, how can you possibly be satisfied with her? Let her know that these are fantasies, and have nothing to do with reality. Let her know you haven’t acted on them, and that you’re not planning to, but that you wanted her to be part of your interior life. Sharing your fantasies should be an intimate, warm time, not a fight. She should be aware that this sharing makes you completely vulnerable. In fact, I would set it up so she has to share an equally intimate secret with you in return.

I wouldn’t be surprised if your fantasies regarding men change after you tell your wife. They may grow stronger or they may dissipate completely. That’s another interesting thing about the human interior life — it is constantly morphing, often without our notice or permission. It’s actually rather wonderful.

Good luck!


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