In their seven years of marriage, their sex lives had deteriorated progressively until they could no longer get intimate. The problem was that Polycarp was sexually attracted to men.

| Fotosearch

When your husband comes out as gay...

I saw Polycarp in the Sexology Clinic two months ago. He had lost erections and could not have sex with his wife for over six months.

“I fear that I may never have sex with Janet again and I do not know if this relationship has a future,” he lamented.

Now in their mid-30s, the couple had been married for seven years and had three children. Polycarp was a teacher in a high school while Janet was an accountant. In their seven years of marriage, their sex lives had deteriorated progressively until they could no longer get intimate. The problem was that Polycarp was sexually attracted to men.

“I am determined not to have sex with any man, I do not want to but my body is weak, I keep getting erections whenever I am close to men that I am attracted to,” Polycarp explained. He was a worried man.

It is for this reason that Polycarp joined what he described as a powerful church which could cast the demons. He became active in the church for a while and was made one of the leaders. His hope was that the evil spirit would flee from him in due course and that he would stop having feelings for men because he considered such feelings evil.

“Three months ago I was at the altar of God serving with my pastor and I developed very strong feelings for him and developed an erection,” he said, “that was the last time I was in church.” His church mates tried asking him why he stopped going to church and he could not tell them.

“I need help, I do not want to have sex with a man, my family is almost breaking up and I cannot get an erection with my wife,” he said.

Unfortunately, I did not have medicine to treat the homosexual feelings. Current theories are that the desire to be intimate with someone of the same sex or opposite sex is embedded in the genes. Because of socialisation and the stigma around sexual orientation, however, most homosexuals hide their feelings. In fact, sexual identity is very different from sexual orientation. Many people who desire to have sex with people of the same sex pretend and identify as heterosexuals. Many are in heterosexual marriages today. Sexual attraction to people of the same sex however remains and sometimes can be overwhelming.

Take it this way, 2.7 percent of men and 1.2 percent of women self-identified as homosexual or bisexual are suspected to have homosexual feelings. In Kenya this translates to millions of individuals. Some of these people are pure homosexual while others may be bisexual. Some act on their feelings while others don’t.

You will never, however, hear anybody on the streets or in the village say that they are gay or lesbian. These feelings are kept secret and people conform to the social and religious demands. Only occasionally do you see the bold ones come out to proclaim their diverse sexual orientations.

At one-point medical people classified diverse sexual orientation as a psychiatric problem. Studies done over time have however disapproved this. Homosexuals are not sick; they just have sexual feelings for people of the same sex. As such they should not avoid health professionals for fear of being stigmatised.

Many faiths, on the other hand, do not tolerate the thought of their adherents being homosexual. It is prohibited. Just like Polycarp, many religious people seek God’s intervention when they have feelings for people of the same sex. Not many studies have been done on the effect of religious intervention on these feelings.

“So what should I do? What happens to my marriage? I am not sure you are helping me on this matter,” Polycarp said throwing his hands in the air, visibly getting frustrated.

The following day Polycarp and Janet were at the clinic. As a matter of procedure, I did sexual orientation tests on Polycarp. He was bisexual with more inclination to same sex orientation.

“Now that you have come this far and you managed to be in this marriage would you want to give it some consideration moving forward?” I asked.

“I want to yes but there is a possibility that these feelings will overwhelm me soon,” Polycarp replied, “a lover on the sidelines is highly possible.”

His wife fainted! I called the resuscitation team. We moved fast to ensure that her breathing was okay and her heart and blood system were working. She was taken to the ward for observation.

By the time we were done with resuscitation Polycarp was gone. Attempts to get him on phone were futile. Two days later Janet called to say that Polycarp had packed his clothes and left. Before leaving he told his children that he was sorry to leave; that he would not be coming back home; and that he wished them well in life. He had travelled to a country where same sex marriages are allowed in the law. He became a refugee on the basis of his sexual orientation.