UNCOMMON LIVES: Gay Men and Straight Women by Catherine Whitney

UNCOMMON LIVES: Gay Men and Straight Women

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Love, sex, fidelity, and AIDS are discussed in this New York journalist's provocative survey of one thousand homosexual/heterosexual partnerships across the country. If sexual passion isn't the motivating force behind marriages between gay men and straight women, then what is--and can these marriages survive without the promise of sexual fidelity? Whitney analyzes questionnaires, anecdotes, and interview excerpts to conclude that a common yearning for love, community, and emotional stability is what keeps these marriages, as well as more ""traditional"" ones, going. Most gay/straight couples interviewed entered marriage with their eyes open, lured by a desire for children, a house, and a future shared with a loving other, despite many women's fears of losing their husbands to a homosexual lover, of contracting AIDS, or of not being able to please their partners. In the minority of cases in which the husbands realized their homosexuality after marriage, wives weathered the shock and surprisingly often accepted the situation, describing the ordeal as no worse than many other marital crises. Older couples particularly were able to rely on love, honesty, experience, and, occasionally, a desire to help the homosexual partner realize his true self to keep the marriage intact. Citing cases that range from a Salt Lake City family who vacation in New York each August so the father can explore his homosexuality, to a remorseful preacher whose wife prays for the salvation of his soul, Whitney concludes that perhaps other, lonelier baby-boom Americans have held out too long for a romantic ideal--a dream these tradition-flaunting couples have sacrificed in favor of building satisfying, integrated lives. A nonjudgmental exploration of a rarely mentioned phenomenon, conveyed sensitively and without sensation.

Pub Date: March 28th, 1990
Publisher: New American Library