Gay men from heterosexual marriages: attitudes, behaviors, childhood experiences, and reasons for marriage

J Homosex. 2002;42(4):15-34. doi: 10.1300/J082v42n04_02.


In the current study, the attitudes, behaviors and experiences of 26 gay or bisexual men who were married to a woman are examined. Data are provided on childhood family background and experiences, sexual practices with men, reasons for entering marriage, and the "coming out" process. The frequency of childhood sexual experiences was associated with unsafe sexual practices with other men in adulthood. Attitudes toward lesbians and gay men were more negative now than at the time of marriage. The two most frequent reasons for marriage were that it seemed natural, and a desire for children and family life. The results support the hypothesis that internalised homophobia is a factor that leads men into mixed-orientation marriages. Cognitive consistency theory is used to explain the eventual marriage breakdown.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attitude
  • Female
  • Homosexuality, Female
  • Homosexuality, Male / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Marriage* / psychology
  • Self Concept
  • Surveys and Questionnaires