Secret Lives of Married Men

Secret Lives of Married Men

by David Leddick
     
 

Why would a man, aware of his attraction to other men, choose to marry a woman and live as a heterosexual? We can understand men from the pre-Stonewall generation deciding to live in accordance with mores of an earlier time, though in today's world, where many gay men live openly and honestly, this choice seems needless. But as author David Leddick points out, our

Overview

Why would a man, aware of his attraction to other men, choose to marry a woman and live as a heterosexual? We can understand men from the pre-Stonewall generation deciding to live in accordance with mores of an earlier time, though in today's world, where many gay men live openly and honestly, this choice seems needless. But as author David Leddick points out, our understanding is clouded by our perception of gay men as being either in the closet or out of the closet. "Preconceived notions of why gay men marry must be thrown out the window when you read this book," Leddick reports after having interviewed forty men ranging in age from twenty-nine to eighty-eight. "Each story provides very different and individual insights into why gay men marry and whether they eventually extricate themselves from that arrangement or choose to remain married.

While it is clear that fear, cultural isolation, religion, or family expectations can play a large part in a man's decision to repress his sexuality, many of the men Leddick interviewed express a strong and sincere desire to cultivate and maintain relationships with women-and the reasons underlying their choices are far more heartfelt than society has ever appreciated. The Secret Lives of Married Men is an invaluable addition to the growing body of literature that explores the vast and varied landscape of today's family.

David Leddick is the author of three novels (Never Eat In, The Sex Squad, and My Worst Date) and many art photography books, including Naked Men, Naked Men Too, George Platt Lynes, Male Nude Now, and The Homoerotic Art of Pavel Tchelitchev. A native of Detroit,Leddick also served as the worldwide creative director for Revlon. He now lives in Miami.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publishers Weekly
Interviews with gay men presently or formerly married to women form the backbone of this lackluster compilation. Leddick's previous book on New York City Ballet co-founder Lincoln Kirstein and his circle (Intimate Companions, 2001) covered some of the same ground, but with more focus and point. Forty men speak out here, with the vapid frankness of pseudoanonymity, of their experience of wedlock in and out of the closet. (At least one man, the photographer David Armstrong, appears under his own name; he's the longtime lover of the horror novelist Clive Barker and, incidentally, the only black man Leddick uncovered.) These men's lives follow predictable patterns-a youth of secret attraction to other males, followed by social pressures that lead to the altar, followed by years of guilt, and, most often, divorce, though some of the subjects prefer to stay married for personal reasons. Proceeding by generation, Leddick surveys older men first; the bulk of the book is devoted to men over 40, for whom the above cycle has completed itself. His case-study approach to homosexuality was campily popular during the closeted 1960s, a scientific demeanor cloaking purportedly true tales of twilight lives. Veteran author Leddick updates the formula with references to AIDS and the Internet, but the effect is the same, and so are many of the soft-porn passages: "The guide reached out and touched the front of Katzen's brief trunks. Katzen says, 'It was like a current of electricity hit me. I woke up. Suddenly I knew what I really wanted.'" "Many of the men I interviewed," writes the author, "knew very little about other men who'd had experiences similar to theirs. Nor, surprisingly, did they seem very interested to find out more." Such a level of apathy raises the bar for readers, who will need a scorecard to remember the players in this disappointing and repetitive book. (Oct.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal - Library Journal
Why would a gay man marry a woman? Leddick (Intimate Companions; My Worst Date) has discovered as many reasons as the 40 men profiled here. Ranging in age from 29 to 88 and representing a broad spectrum of ethnicity and spirituality, these men are grouped by generation. Men born before World War II married almost by rote, succumbing to parental pressure, desires to procreate, or the mores of the time, which deemed wives necessary for socioeconomic mobility. Succeeding generations, influenced by the sexual revolution of the Sixties and gay liberation in the Seventies, have more easily accepted the fluid nature of their sexuality and adapted their lives accordingly. While most ultimately abandoned their marriages, many genuinely loved their wives and sought to establish a modus vivendi that allowed for both traditional family life and discreet same-sex relationships. Leddick trains a novelist's eye on his subjects, allowing each to emerge as a fully fleshed human being in a few pages. These engaging portraits are subtly voyeuristic, as the come-hither titles implies, without being prurient. By turns witty, frank, thoughtful, and compassionate, this book is recommended for all gay and lesbian studies collections.-Richard J. Violette, Special Libs. Cataloging, Victoria, B.C. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781555837747
Publisher:
Alyson Books
Publication date:
09/10/2003
Edition description:
First
Pages:
264
Product dimensions:
5.44(w) x 8.60(h) x 0.62(d)

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