by Eve for Life firstname.lastname@example.org
He is a 42-year-old bisexual man. He lives at home with his wife, the mother of his two children. She does not know he is also having sex with men.
During his 14-year-old relationship with his wife, he has had two different ‘steady’ relationships with males that lasted three and five years respectively. In the latter case, he went to his partner’s house. In the other they would have to find other places … car, brothel, and gay friends’ houses.
He has never used condoms with his wife — that is the way they have negotiated their relationship over the years.
“I would feel a bit cute to introduce condoms at this stage in our relationship,” he said.
In the early days with men he said he periodically used condoms, but with the advent of HIV, he has started to use condoms with his male partners.
“It is not always easy. Sometimes I do not have condoms because I cannot carry condoms home in my pocket or wallet or bag. My children always search my bag for sweets and money.
“I recall one time my male partner and I started to have sex without a condom but stopped. After that, I went to do a test. I tested negative and have not gone to another man without a condom,” he said.
He said he has no fear about his wife having sex with another man and giving HIV to him. Fatalistic as it is, if he is to get HIV, he would prefer to get it from her than from a man.
He said he wished he could tell his wife about the other side of his life but is fearful that she will be devastated. He loves her. He does not want others to know. He loves his children and does not want to lose them. All his male partners know about his wife and have had to respect that. He would also like to live with a man but cannot decide how he could live with both a man and woman.
“Sometimes my mind is overloaded and weighed down hard, but I take it one day at a time. I never made myself this way. If I did, I would change it. It’s not easy,” he said.
John Ward, a successful business owner, said he knew he was attracted to men from his early preteens, but got married for legal sex as he grew up in the Pentecostal church.
“As a teenager, I tried to conform, but it was very confusing and painful, not only for me but for the girls I dated. I wasn’t seen as macho enough — it was fine being friends with them but not anything else,” he explained.
Ward, who is now divorced, explained that he was attracted to and still finds his ex-wife very attractive, but the marriage didn’t work as he found he still wanted to have sex with men. Their sexual relationship was very good and she knew before they got married that he had interest in men.
“When I discussed it with her, she said I should choose. I found that I was even attracted to men who were her friends and spoke to her about it, but she kept saying I needed to choose,” he said.
“I remember at one point she told me to make sure I used condoms when I am with my male partners. I think at that point she had started to accept. We still maintain a relationship. We are still friends,” he explained.
Ward noted that the challenge was that his ex-wife couldn’t understand why she was not enough and “that was unhelpful”.
As it relates to condoms, he explained that he never planned to be unfaithful to his wife and so was not prepared for the times he did.
“I did use condoms a few times, but never really found them enjoyable with my wife and definitely with the outside partners I never planned these encounters. I just yielded to temptation and then swore it would never happen again,” Ward said.
Currently, Ward is not in a steady relationship and so far he continues to test negative for HIV.