A married man curious about sex with another man cheats on his wife and daughter …and who pays when his long-term sexual affair moves from the shadows into the light?
By Christopher Turner
A man’s libido – his sex drive – is sometimes tamed by age when his sexual experiences become numerous enough that he can look back and ask if he left anyone injured or damaged in his quest for sexual fulfillment.
Another observation – just as relevant – is how his sexual conduct reflects on his ideal of being a man.
What are the costs, and who pays, when a man who conducted himself as heterosexual into adulthood caves to his curiosity about sex with another man? Are both men complicit in a deception when the curious one is married and has an infant daughter? And who is to “blame” for the fallout when the deception comes out of the shadows into the light?
It had been an especially rough work week for one of the men he pulled into a city park on an early Saturday morning more than 22 years ago. The park was popular and frequented for its extensive and scenic wooded area and forestry – and also had a notorious reputation as a hot spot for gay cruising and anonymous sex carried out under the cover of thick foliage. But the man that morning had no plan for sex and instead needed some time for solitude before the cruisers arrived for their search for sex.
The man barely noticed and gave no mind to another man sitting alone in his half pick-up truck, the only vehicle parked in the early morning hours. The man who just arrived parked his car, got out and walked into the forested area to begin his walk to solitude. He was about a half-mile into his walk and sitting on the trunk of a huge fallen tree when he heard the snap of a stick breaking beneath someone’s foot. Turning, he saw the man in the pick-up truck following some 50 yards behind.
“Good morning,” he said to his follower. The man moved closer and returned the greeting as he crouched into a stooped position near the man he’d followed into the woods. The men exchanged surface talk and pleasantries briefly – beautiful morning, early enough in the day to have some quiet time before the weekend park crowd descended. The talk took on significant meaning when the man who was followed into the woods asked the other, “So what brings you out so early?” ‘How about a blow job?’ the other man answered with a nervous edge to his voice.
Assured that the man who solicited him wasn’t an undercover cop, the man being asked had the other man lean against a tree and watched as he lowered his pants and underwear. It was very evident the man seeking relief needed it. He left the park sexually satisfied and complimented his server: “You do that very nicely – better than a woman.” When it was done, the men did not exchange contact info, and the man who relieved the other left with the assumption that this was just another episode of random sex and that he would never see the other man again.
But he did, just a week later at a service station. As he had a week earlier, the man who solicited the other man whispered discreetly in the cashier line, “How about again?” That time, the two went to the apartment of one of the men. The one who the week before sought oral gratification was named Ron and it was his first same-sex encounter, he said, after “years” of “wondering” what sex with another man is like. There would be uncountable ones to come between the two men over the next 12 years as they entered into a long-term relationship that, initially, was agreed to be only for the purpose of “s**king and f**king.”
Six years into the arrangement, Ron announced after sex with the other man that he’d gotten married a year earlier. After some discussion, both men agreed to continue their sexual relationship with precautions: Ron, when he needed sex with a man, would be the only one to initiate contact. Two years later, when both were to have sex for the first time in the new house Ron and his wife had built, Ron hesitantly said he had a 2-year-old daughter in the house and that they “had to be quiet” if the other man didn’t have a problem having sex with a married man. The daughter was upstairs asleep. Again the men talked about the risk to Ron of being “caught,” what and how much he had to lose and the urgency of absolute caution and discretion. And again both men agreed to continue their sexual liaisons.
The measures of safety and precautions worked effectively the following six years – until Ron entrapped himself. Drunk one night, he dialed his wife’s cellphone instead of calling the other man and blurted out an invitation for “some s**king and f**king.” A day later, Ron, panicked, called the other man with a plea not to talk to his wife if she called him.
The call, more than 10 years ago, was the last contact between the two men. Just as Ron had arrived in the other man’s life so unexpectedly, he was just as unexpectedly gone.
In the ensuring years, the man Ron initially approached was naturally anxious – with some degree of fear and shame – about what happened to Ron, if his marriage survived or if he lost both his wife and daughter.
Little more than a year ago, to try to find some reconciliation and peace, perhaps closure, the man launched a public records search of Ron. He found some hope – some redemption – by verifying and then confirming that Ron’s marriage apparently survived what had to be a crisis of love and commitment. Ron, his wife and their daughter are now believed to live in a small rural community in another state, away from the pace – the temptation? – of the large cities that Ron always detested.
For Ron’s former sexual partner, his role in deceiving a wife and child with a 12-year relationship has been defined by indefensible conduct. Ron clearly was duplicitous in not disclosing his roles as husband and father to his male partner. But the latter was equally liable in the deception by continuing the affair even after Ron came clean. On a deeper level, Ron’s old “f**k buddy” has speculated that his part in the affair was a shameful disservice to the ideal of what a man should be.
But, as there predictably was to Ron’s wife and perhaps entire family, an injury is indelible to the man who gave sex and accepted it from Ron. From the start of their relationship, both men understood without saying that the only reason for their affair was sex. There would never be declarations of love or dreams about a life together.
But for the man Ron first approached more than 22 years ago, the sweet of the memories is bitter with the reality – perhaps selfish – that he came to love Ron somewhere along the way and that he misses the man who made him feel wanted and needed. No one has replaced Ron since.
Author’s note: This non-fiction essay is based on the personal experience of the writer.