Navigation Links
Keeping Sexuality Secret Takes Mental Toll on Bisexual Men
Date:1/4/2013

By Carina Storrs
HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, Jan. 4 (HealthDay News) -- Bisexual men have higher rates of mental health problems than gay men do, and new research suggests that this burden might stem from their desire to keep their sexual relationships with men secret.

Researchers evaluated the mental health of more than 200 bisexual men in the New York City area who were on the down-low, meaning they were married to or in a relationship with a woman and had had sex with a man in the past year. None of the men had told their female partner about their same-sex relationship.

The study found that men who wanted to conceal their sex with other men and were afraid of people finding out were more likely to experience depression and anxiety and lack positive feelings.

Men who had disclosed their bisexual behavior to someone other than their partner, like a close friend, were not less likely to suffer one of these mental health problems.

The study was published Jan. 2 in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology.

"Trying to maintain a constant vigilance and thinking, 'Will someone find out?' and 'What would happen if somebody knew?' appears to be a stressor that adversely affects these men," said study author Eric Schrimshaw, an assistant professor of sociomedical sciences at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health.

But the good news is that there could be ways for these men to ease the toll of hiding their bisexual behavior.

The study suggests that concealment is linked to mental health problems only in men who have homophobic feelings and who lack good social support.

"Our primary goal should be working with these men to help them feel more comfortable with their identity so that they are less concerned about who might find out and dealing with concealment concerns," Schrimshaw said.

Previous research has found that about 37 percent of men in the United States who have sex with both men and women experience clinical depression at some point in their lives, compared with 23 percent of men who only have sex with men and 15 percent of men who only have sex with women.

The current study involved 203 men who were aged 18 and older. The men led primarily heterosexual lives, having had sex with a woman in the past year with whom they were or had been in a relationship that lasted for at least three months.

The men also had sex with a man within the past year and did not consider themselves to be gay.

Schrimshaw and his colleagues found that 38 percent of the men had not told anyone about their sex with men, and the remainder had told at least one person, in most cases a parent or close friend.

The participants who reported concealing their gay relationship, fearing others would find out and being embarrassed about it were more likely to be married or live with their female partner, less likely to have a regular male partner or frequent male sex, and more likely to have a household income of at least $30,000 and a full-time job.

These men could have a stronger desire to conceal because they have more to lose, Schrimshaw noted.

Although concealing exacted a mental toll on these men, the study did not find mental health benefits among the men who had told someone about their bisexual behavior.

Schrimshaw suspects this discrepancy is because the men in their study could still have been dealing with their sexuality and needed to come to terms on their own with what might happen if someone found out before they could get to the point of feeling comfortable disclosing.

Although bisexual men can become more accepting of their sexuality over time, and possibly experience fewer mental problems, it is not known if they typically progress from becoming aware of their sexuality to exploring and disclosing it, as is thought to be the case for gay men, Schrimshaw said.

Commenting on the study, Brian Mustanski, director of the IMPACT LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) Health and Development Program at Northwestern University, said, "Bisexual groups have not been studied as much, and that is a major strength of this paper."

However, disclosing could turn out to improve bisexual men's mental health if they received acceptance from the person they told, Mustanski said. The study did not compare the mental health of men who experienced positive and negative reactions to sharing their sexuality.

The finding that the relationship between concealing and poor mental health could be due to men lacking support and having negative attitudes about their sexuality could help psychologists and counselors, Mustanski said.

"Instead of discussing disclosure, you're perhaps better off discussing their sexuality as part of who they are and building networks of accepting people in their lives," Mustanski said.

Nonetheless, Schrimshaw and his colleagues wrote in their study, encouraging disclosing can be appropriate if men have accepted their sexuality, and in cases where their female partner could be at risk of HIV or another sexually transmitted disease.

Mustanski encourages men who are having sex with both men and women and who want help to go to an LGBT center where they can find a therapist and receive health care.

More information

For more information and a directory of health care providers, visit the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association.

SOURCES: Eric Schrimshaw, Ph.D., assistant professor, sociomedical sciences, social/health psychologist, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University, New York City; Brian Mustanski, Ph.D., director, IMPACT LGBT Health and Development Program, and associate professor, medical social sciences, psychology, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, Chicago; Jan. 2, 2013, Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology


'/>"/>
Copyright©2012 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. Care2Learn/Upstairs Solutions and Jarlette Health Services Sign Multi-Year Contract for Online Training and Record-Keeping
2. Tips on Keeping Food Safe When the Power Goes Out
3. Keeping Up a Healthy Lifestyle Pays Off in Added Years: Study
4. Keeping the faith through souvenirs
5. Lipid helps cells find their way by keeping their antennae up
6. Keeping Kids Safe on Roller Coasters and Other Thrill Rides
7. Keeping Your Family Safe From Dog Bites
8. Coordinating the circadian clock: Molecular pair controls time-keeping and fat metabolism
9. Magazines jeopardize and empower young womens sexuality
10. IU bisexuality studies focus on health, behavior and identity
11. Life Coach School Holistic Learning Center Unveils The Secret Regarding How Their Life Coaching Certification Students Can Charge Over One Hundred Dollars Per Coaching Session
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Keeping Sexuality Secret Takes Mental Toll on Bisexual Men
(Date:5/28/2016)... ... May 28, 2016 , ... SuperCloset is proud to officially ... the day to day issues, struggles and obstacles veterans’ need to overcome in order ... Project provides active or retired military veteran(s) with a donated SuperCloset product based on ...
(Date:5/28/2016)... ... ... year and a half of planning the Multiple Pathways of Recovery Conference , CCAR ... Conference was held May 2 -4, 2016 at the Mystic Marriott Hotel & Spa ... the many pathways individuals use to get into and sustain their recovery. Pathways of ...
(Date:5/27/2016)... ... May 27, 2016 , ... Southland Log Homes , designer ... timber frame barn kits, which can be found on its website at SouthlandLogHomes.com. , ... barn plans, and they highlight the craftsmanship of timber post and beam construction. ...
(Date:5/27/2016)... ... May 27, 2016 , ... An influential resource amongst nurses and professionals in ... lights on the variety of topics detailing why we appreciate nurses in so many ... career has gone from being in a major recession to one of the hottest ...
(Date:5/27/2016)... ... May 27, 2016 , ... An educational campaign aimed at ... stories, courtesy of awareness-driven celebrities and thought leaders. It also provides insight to ... industry leaders such as Bioness. , As patients feel increasingly concerned about ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:5/25/2016)... May 25, 2016 Inivata, ... precision of circulating tumour DNA (ctDNA) analysis to ... appointment of Professor Clive Morris as ... across the clinical development programme, scientific collaborations, and ... deliver significant improvements in clinical outcomes for patients. ...
(Date:5/24/2016)... -- Niederländische Chirurgen haben eine innovative ... erlaubt, ihre Expertise weltweit zu teilen und so ... mit einer Instant-Messaging-Funktion und der Möglichkeit, in einem ... Afrika, Asien und den USA ... Information und Weiterbildung   "MDLinking ...
(Date:5/24/2016)... LONDON , May 24, 2016 ... erfüllt beide primären Endpunkte ... und Überlegenheit in ‚ausgezeichneter plus guter ... aufsteigenden Colons    ,      (Logo: ... B.V. gab heute neue positive Daten von der ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: