MARRIED AND GAY by Brenda Maddox


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Bad news (if it's to be believed) for both gay liberation activists and those elements of ""straight"" society which still believe homosexuality can be ""cured"": after 47 interviews with homosexuals and their spouses (in New York, Boston, London, and Manchester, Eng.), plus readings in the standard literature, Maddox concludes that many homosexual men will opt for the coziness of conventional heterosexual marriage no matter how liberated our notions of homosexual unions become. (These are the ambivalent males in the middle of the Kinsey scale, rather than the exclusive homosaxuals.) And, for the most part, such men find singularly accommodating wives: wedding-night virgins whose interest in sex is minimal; women whose idea of marriage embraces companionship and children, just as their husband's does. Most of this is about male gays and their mates; female gays are relegated to two chapters in which it's explained that they differ from their male counterparts chiefly in their ignorance of their own sexual preferences before marriage. And though the ""understanding wife"" plays a large part in Maddox's schema, she does briefly explore such phenomena as ""fag hags""--hangers-on to gay male friends, women who hope to ""change"" a man's sexual orientation--and homosexuality in public life. A great deal of the book is a succession of sob stories told at great length (most of those compatible marriages, paradoxically, eventually dissolve); and the major points are few and far between. No major study, then; but it does raise points that gay-lifestyle watchers may want to consider.

Pub Date: Feb. 10th, 1981
Publisher: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich