Salon on Mixed Orientation Marriages in the Middle of Same-Sex Marriage Case

digitalcoupleimageYesterday, Salon’s Tracy Clark-Flory examined mixed orientation marriages as a possible new political statement against same-sex marriage. The article was triggered by the amicus brief filed by a Utah attorney on behalf of some people in mixed orientation marriages. She also interviewed me for the article and I am quoted extensively.
While my survey results are still unpublished (I keep getting distracted), the study has helped inform my views on the subject. Some essentially same-sex attracted men and women fall in love with a member of the other sex. While most of these marriages deal with issues other couples don’t have to address, there are many who are quite satisfied with the arrangement. They are not of necessity loveless, passionless marriages. However, the vast majority of these people don’t develop attraction to the other sex in any general sense. The baseline attractions remain about the same. On average, the people I surveyed demonstrated more same-sex attraction, not less.
In my opinion, there is no political benefit for any side in these results and I hope “mixed orientation marriage” doesn’t become the new “ex-gay.” Ex-gay became a political weapon and the political demands turned ex-gay into a caricature. In my view, the experiences of these couples have no relevance to the Supreme Court’s deliberations.

Ted Haggard says sexuality labels "just don't work"

Ted Haggard could have been in my study last summer. Over 190 same-sex attracted men who are heterosexually married took my survey to describe their sexuality. Many of them said the same thing – that labels didn’t fully capture their experience.
Haggard told the Denver Post that labels don’t work. Read the rest at the link.
Haggard’s description is consistent with the results I found. I am still collecting data involving same-sex attracted women in straight marriages. Just a few points on the men:
-191 men completed the survey; referrals came from ex-gay ministries, bisexual groups, mixed orientation couple support groups and via this website.
-Regarding the labels issue, 33% of all respondents qualified their sexual orientation self-description because they felt the labels were not adequately descriptive.
-We found 6 groups of such men with different attaction patterns. Haggard may fit into the “spousosexual” group if his general attractions are for men, but he experiences attraction for his wife. We found 20% of the total group in that category.
-The smallest group was the “ex-gay” group. Just over 6% said they once were attracted to the same-sex primarily and are now primarily attracted to the opposite sex.
-The largest group (40%) were bisexual in their attraction patterns and about one-quarter of the men were primarily attracted to the same sex in the present.
There are many more interesting findings that I am saving for the paper on this research. It should be ready by the end of February for submission. Stay tuned…

2005 article by Daryl Bem

Found this article recently by Daryl Bem. Not sure I agree with every point (I am not finished thinking about it) but this article may give some insight into the experience of some ex-gay men who report the experience of being attracted to their wives with some remaining same sex attraction. I think it addresses some of the discussion on this blog.

(2017 update) – For some reason, this 2005 post did not have a link to the Bem article. It was one of the very early posts on the blog and may not have transferred from Blogger to WordPress to Patheos. Because of fresh interest in the concepts involved, I added the link.