Ask Angelo - Angelo Pezzote
Plus Surrendering Adolescence
By Angelo Pezzote, MA, LMFT, NCC
I am in a relationship of 18 years. We have sex once every other month on a waterbed. How often should we be having sex?
Signed, The Dead Sea
Dear The Dead Sea,
I was not able to find any specific studies about how often gay men or gay couples have sex. I did find that Kinsey found that both men and women have sex an average of 2.8 times week in their twenties, 2.2 times a week in their thirties and 1 time a week in their fifties. The numbers for gay men could be higher. According to the 1992 Sex in America survey of unmarried co-habitating couples, 36% of married men and women have sex a few times per month, 40% a few times a week, and 15% 4 or more times a week. The numbers for gay couples may be different. Age and length of time together play key roles. But I want to caution you about measuring yourself against this data. Everyone has different sexual needs and desires. So every couple must too.
There is a wide range of sexual activity among couples. How many times you have sex with your partner has little to do with the joy and fulfillment of your sex life as a couple. And the amount of times you're having sex with your partner is right for the two of you - no matter what everyone else is doing. Is a healthy gay couple one that has sex daily? Twice a week? Once a month? Can a celibate gay couple be healthy too? Is monogamy the way to go for gay couples? Open relationships? Is just staying single better? It does take different strokes for different folks.
Having said all that, it is true that decreasing sex could also point to deeper relational problems between the couple. Often unresolved anger at your partner can be the cause. But whatever the case may be, talk with your partner about your feelings. Move toward one another. Embrace what is difficult. Lean in on one another through hard times. Move closer and negotiate around sex. If this does not work seek the aid of a couple's therapist. Counseling is a great catalyst for relationships.
I like a guy I see out. Three years have gone by and we're still playing games. I want to have someone but I cant seem to do it. I become bored, scared and too picky. If I choose one, I think I'm missing out on fun or finding someone better. I'm 38 and wondering how to get myself out of this adolescent phase.
Signed, Teeny Bopper
Dear Teeny Bopper,
During their developmental life stage, bravado male teenagers normally focus on: their appearance, competition, cruising, scoring, substance use, peers, clicks, being masculine, carefree, idealistic and can be mean-spirited to one another. This may sound like some gay men you know.
Adolescence is often closeted for the gay man. So we often miss out on dating, sowing-our-oats and the other fun irresponsible stuff at the appropriate time. Gay men go through their period of rebelliousness after coming out. So "gay adolescence" can be relived in the adult years. We also live in a death fearing culture that values youth over old age. Gay culture intensifies this and can discourage growing older in many ways. The message portrayed in gay media is often "stay young, hot, party and have sex."
Essential developmental goals of adolescence are separating from parents, creating identity and developing intimacy. Growing up, accepting responsibility, achieving a solid sense of self and the capacity for real intimacy are very hard. Often the journey is hazardous involving struggle and strife. Older mentors often guide youth through a right of passage to adulthood like Gandalf did for Frodo. But unfortunately, there is not a lot of mentoring between older and younger gays.
If our "parents" are our homophobic culture, gay men rebel yet simultaneously long for acceptance. We can get stuck in that space without mentors, wives or children to guide us and encourage us to grow up and be responsible. We may yearn to be rescued, cared for and to keep the carefree times. Unfortunately, we need to confront and work through our pain to break through. A professional counselor or spiritual teacher can help you on your path. When we embrace all of who we are we create more wholeness.
As you choose to love one person in the now, you will find far greater rewards than by playing the field awaiting something better. Eden Ahbez writes, "the greatest thing you'll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return."
Angelo Pezzote, MA, LMFT, NCC
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