Love and Relationships

[Two Pronged] My husband and I barely have sex. I think he might be gay.

Margarita Holmes, Jeremy Baer

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[Two Pronged] My husband and I barely have sex. I think he might be gay.
'We made love only seven times'

Rappler’s Life and Style section runs an advice column by couple Jeremy Baer and clinical psychologist Dr. Margarita Holmes.

Jeremy has a master’s degree in law from Oxford University. A banker of 37 years who worked in three continents, he has been training with Dr. Holmes for the last 10 years as co-lecturer and, occasionally, as co-therapist, especially with clients whose financial concerns intrude into their daily lives.

Together, they have written two books: Love Triangles: Understanding the Macho-Mistress Mentality and Imported Love: Filipino-Foreign Liaisons.

Dear Dr. Holmes and Mr. Baer:

It has been five years since my husband and I, as a married couple, have had sex. We have not made love in five years.  I do not miss it. Sex with him was not the reason we got married. A few lovers have come and gone in my life (all before I got married), all better looking and better lovers than him.

But I married him because both sets of parents supported the marriage. Also, I was already 32 (old in traditional Chinese families). He was 38.

On our honeymoon, he fell asleep. Two nights later we would not have made love had I not asked him. We have two children; 1 and 2 years of age, and we made love only seven times since we had our first sex. After that, no more.

I wear sexy night gowns (but now no more) and even embarrass myself by suggesting sex, but nothing. He has no girlfriend. I had him followed. I think he’s gay. What do you think?

Curious and Hurt

Dear Curious and Hurt (CH),

Thank you for your message. 

I am no expert when it comes to Chinese marital customs and unfortunately my Fukkien father-in-law has gone to his celestial reward so cannot be consulted. Your expectations on entering into this arranged union must however have been different to those of a bride following her own heart. 

I imagine you had no reason to believe that sex would play so small a part in your married life. How you now react to a sexless marriage will presumably be governed by whatever principles (filial piety?) led you to be guided by your parents’ wishes in the first place, though having married and produced grandchildren you have probably fulfilled their desires and are maybe now entitled to pursue your own.

Your message however questions your husband’s orientation, so let’s consider the theoretical possibilities. You think that his lack of interest in sex with a woman suggests he may be gay. The question then is whether the instructions you gave your sleuth were to unearth illicit relationships only with women or also with men. We can, I believe, presume that no gay relationship was actually discovered because otherwise you would know, not just think, that he is gay.

The other main possibility is that he is asexual. Asexuals typically have no or very little interest in sex (for more information, see this

This seems to fit the picture of your husband that you have painted i.e. a man who has despite his orientation has carried out his parents wishes, married, sired children, and now can retire once more from the sexual fray.

Of course, whether he is gay, asexual, or something else, your fate is sealed: you are still left contemplating decades of sexless marriage to this man and what to do about it. Please write again if you have further questions.

All the best,

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[Two Pronged] I haven’t had sex in 6 years – I’m scared the next time will hurt

[Two Pronged] I haven’t had sex in 6 years – I’m scared the next time will hurt

Dear Curious and Hurt (CH),

Thank you very much for your letter. Mr. Baer’s alternative hypothesis, that your husband may be asexual, blew my mind until I realized, “Of course, he could be 100% right!” for the very reasons he mentioned, which very few people consider when they wonder why other people (but never themselves) do not fit the sexual norm.

Mr. Baer also said that: “whether he is gay, asexual or something else, your fate is sealed.” I agree with Mr. Baer because whether he is gay, asexual, or anything else, you cannot change him…unless he wants to. And even then it might be difficult.

One thing you could do, however, is leave him, so you can start living your own life rather than wondering “will he or won’t he?” when you decide to wear your sexy negligee once more.

I do not encourage separation at the drop of a hat, but it would be a good idea to weigh the pros and cons very carefully.  Please do not stay merely for the sake of keeping your marriage intact…because in truth, your marriage really isn’t, is it?

It is fraying bit by bit, and will inevitably weaken and maybe even fall apart unless you do something about it now (or fairly soon).

I feel you are not really worried whether he is gay or not. What seems to concern you more is that he does not find you sexually attractive. I would understand your concern if you found him sexy, but you have taken pains to show you do not. 

I feel – but could well be wrong – that a major reason you want to know whether he is gay or not is to exonerate yourself. “No wonder we don’t have sex. It isn’t me, it’s him. He doesn’t find women attractive.“

But you do not have to exonerate yourself, CH. Nor prove yourself to anyone.

What might be good, however, is to try to have open yet gentle conversations with him. My feeling is, if he feels you’re sincere, he will try to respond in kind. I can’t help feeling he is lonely too.

If he is, indeed, as lonely as you, wouldn’t it be a good idea to try and see how you can be friends instead of “mere ships that pass in the night,” albeit docking in the same harbor that is your physical home? If you both feel your marriage can be a true meeting of minds and hearts – not necessarily always in agreement, but surely with a desire to remain friends over the long haul?

Do you think that’s still possible, CH? Will you try, not just for a week, a month, or even a year but long enough so you can tell yourself you really tried?

If, despite all your time and effort, things still don’t work out between you, you can still live together should you both want to or go your separate ways. At least, whatever you decide, you know you didn’t give in, or give up but, instead, gave it all you had! 

All the best,
MG Holmes


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