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

tates 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.

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