I should begin by saying that I love my husband very much, and I believe that he loves me equally. Having said that, I’m a female Kinsey 0 married to a male Kinsey 4 or 5, I think, at least a 4 in any event. We are both nearly 60 years old, with no children, and a reasonably active sex life (a couple of times a week). We have been together more than 30 years.
The biggest crisis we have ever had in our relationship was a few years before we got married, when I discovered a stash of gay porn and men-seeking-men personal ads with names and phone numbers written in his own handwriting. I confronted him with this evidence and he confessed that he had been having sex with men since he was a teenager and had continued to have it throughout our relationship. These were semi-anonymous pickups, either from personal ads or from bars, basically mutual blowjobs. I knew he liked getting his cock sucked and I rather enjoyed doing that for him, but of course if he needed to suck a cock to be sexually fulfilled, I couldn’t give him that. I freaked out, more than a little. But I still loved him and he said he loved me, and I think he was telling the truth. I certainly wanted to think so.
We started going to a counselor who was very experienced in treating gay and bisexual people’s relationship issues. We saw her both separately and together, for almost three years. We also got him tested for HIV and various STDs and he was clean. During this time he told both the counselor and me that my reluctance to marry him made him doubt that I truly loved him, and the only thing he really wanted was to be with me forever. The counselor helped me understand that bisexual people can be monogamous if they choose to be.
I was not ready to use a trip to the altar as some kind of “miracle cure” for him but we stayed together and tried to communicate more openly and eventually we did get married. He is not out as a bisexual to anyone but me.To all appearances he is your basic straight middle-aged guy, round in the middle and balding on top, supportive of all equal rights, but wholly outside of gay culture as it is commonly understood.
Over the years I’ve seen signs that he was still attracted to men, and although I get little pangs about it I don’t say a word. He buys a LOT of underpants online and I’ve always assumed that he enjoyed checking out the male models and their packages and that if he was “shopping for underwear” it was OK.
I have walked into his study to ask him something only to have him slam his laptop closed. On those occasions I tell him that when he does that I have a little flashback to the bad times, and then it doesn’t happen again for awhile.
Last week I was packing for a trip and went into the basement to get a suitcase. A duffel bag of his was lying in front of the bag I wanted so I moved it and found that it was heavy—probably about 1/3 full. I had a feeling of instant dread. I got my suitcase out and tried to calm my pounding heart and talk myself out of opening his bag. I knew there was a chance it was my Christmas present or something, but I felt instinctively it was something else he was hiding. I opened the bag. It was gay porn, but it wasn’t just gay porn: the bag also contained more than a dozen pairs of men’s underpants, mostly cheap looking ones, not the brands that he buys and wears (and smaller sizes than his). I’ve heard of some men buying used underpants from women as fetish objects, but I had no idea that this was a thing men did with other men. Do you know about this? (Silly question—you know everything.) I spent just enough time looking through the contents to satisfy myself that it did not contain evidence of actual infidelity. It did not. So I locked it back up and put it back where it had been.
I repeat: I love this guy. If I didn’t love him with all my heart I would never have married him. I still love
him with all my heart. I believe he loves me.
Here’s my position: if he likes to look at gay porn to get off when I’m not in the room, I can live with that. But I worry about bringing other people’s used underwear into our house. I worry about lice and bedbugs. And more than anything, I worry that he is having personal contact with the former owners of these underpants. Because we took vows when we got married, and I have been 100% faithful to him, and I need and expect the same.
So … when guys acquire other guys’ underpants, do they do that in person? Are there special websites where guys pose and other guys bid on their underpants? Or what?
And do you think my position is reasonable? I don’t want to have to worry about disease or parasite infestation when I make love to my husband in our bed (or anywhere else, for that matter). I don’t want to share him. I want him to know that I’m aware of this side of his sexuality, and while I don’t claim to understand it, it doesn’t stop me from loving him or wanting to be with him forever. And I'm terrified that this signals that he doesn't want to be with me anymore.
I’d appreciate any insight you can provide into (1) am I being unreasonable? (2) was it unforgivable for
me to look into his duffel bag? (3) is it likely he is having personal contact with the former owners of those
underpants? And (4) how do I take this up with him? Or do you think I should just let it go?
Sorry for being so long-winded, Dan, and thanks for being there. You’re the only person in the world I can
think of who might be able to help me with this.
Married A Kinsey 4
First, MAK4, I gotta say this: I don't think a man could be married to a woman for 30 years and still be making love to her twice a week if he didn't love. Your husband loves you. It sounds like the man who loves you is bisexual, which you already knew, and has an underwear fetish, which you may have suspected—due to his fondness for underwear shopping—but now you're know of the extent of it, i.e. now you know htat he's got a thing for underwear that's been worn by guys he thinks are hot.
Take your questions one a time...
1. You're not being unreasonable. I don't think his collection—or his handling of it—should give you anything to be concerned about health-, disease-, or parasite-wise, but there's nothing unreasonable about your concerns.
2. No, it wasn't. I wouldn't go digging through my husband's email accounts or text messages without having the decency to feel bad about it—I mean, I have dug through 'em in the past, but I had the decency to feel bad about it—but a half-full duffel bag sitting out in the basement with other pieces of luggage? I'd have opened that too. Anyone would have.
3. It's extremely unlikely that your husband has had any physical contact with the men whose underwear you found. Selling "used" underwear online is a kind of low-stakes, low-investment sex work. It's a nice sideline for porn stars who want to supplement their incomes and/or crank up their fan base, and hot men and women who want to make some extra money but don't want to have physical contact with "clients" can put up a website and sell their underwear to strangers without having to interact with—or fuck anyone—in person.
4. As fetishes go, MAK4, your husband's is pretty darn harmless. And if this collection is his one-and-only outlet for his same-sex desires—if this is all the man-on-man action he's getting—I don't think you need to feel threatened or put a stop to it. He's not going to get a disease purchasing some man's underwear online; by the time a pair underwear arrives in the mail, MAK4, it's been an envelope for a few days—at least—so he's unlikely to catch anything handling used underwear. And it might make you feel better to know that a lot of the folks selling their underwear online are faking it: they don't actually wear the cheap underwear they sell, MAK4, they just sprinkle it a few drops of cologne and/or perfume and toss it in the mail.
That said, MAK4, you know what you know and it's impossible to pretend that you don't know it. So I think you should check in with your husband. Tell him you stumbled across his collection, tell him that it's fine, tell him you understand and have long understood that he's bi, and tell him that you realize his fetish is harmless. Then tell him that you would like some reassurance that nothing else is going on, i.e. that he's not having physical contact with any of the Toms, Dicks, or Harrys whose underwear he's buying up and that he's still being true to you... in his fashion.