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:6/26/2016)... Michigan (PRWEB) , ... June 26, 2016 , ... ... to fertility once they have been diagnosed with endometriosis. These women need a ... they also require a comprehensive approach that can help for preservation of fertility ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... Aliso Viejo, California (PRWEB) , ... June 25, 2016 , ... ... preset to fit their specific project," said Christina Austin - CEO of Pixel Film ... all fully customizable and all within Final Cut Pro X . Simply select ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... ... Friday, June 10, Van Mitchell, Secretary of the Maryland Department of Health and Mental ... exemplary accomplishments in worksite health promotion. , The Wellness at Work Awards took place ... BWI Marriott in Linthicum Heights. iHire was one of 42 businesses to receive an ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... ... June 19, 2016 is World Sickle Cell Observance Day. In an effort to ... treatments, Serenity Recovery Center of Marne, Michigan, has issued a pain management ... (SCD) is a disorder of the red blood cells, which can cause episodes of ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... Dr. Amanda ... orthodontic treatment. Dr. Cheng has extensive experience with all areas of orthodontics, including ... accelerated osteogenic orthodontics. , Micro-osteoperforation is a revolutionary adjunct to orthodontic treatment. ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/26/2016)... -- Jazz Pharmaceuticals plc (Nasdaq: JAZZ ) ... Improvements Act of 1976, as amended ("HSR"), with respect ... Nasdaq: CPXX ) expired effective June 24, ... As previously announced on May 31, 2016, Jazz Pharmaceuticals ... which Jazz Pharmaceuticals has commenced a tender offer for ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... , June 24, 2016  Consumers have ... and regulators/payers have placed more emphasis on patient ... patient support programs in the pharmaceutical industry have ... medications. Consequently, pharmaceutical companies are focusing on becoming ... are providing products and services that improve health. ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... 2016   Bay Area Lyme Foundation , ... Center for Tick Borne Illness , Harvard Medical ... Hacking Medicine, University of California, Berkeley, and the ... five finalists of Lyme Innovation , the ... 100 scientists, clinicians, researchers, entrepreneurs, and investors from ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: