by Chris Bodenner

A reader writes:

The male reader who wrote this angers me for some reason.  First of all, if he has been sleeping with his male friend for years, then he is not "straight" - he is obviously bi-sexual. 

This guy gets to have his cake and eat it, too. To the outside world he is a married heterosexual, but he is secretly engaged in an intimate relationship with his male friend, thereby never suffering the stigma of being gay/bi or whatever he calls himself.   He is basically a coward.  If he's gay/bi, he should be proud of it - don't hide behind a 'wife' who is little more than a roommate.  And the fact that his wife would condone this relationship is amazing.  I can't, for the life of me, imagine my fiance/husband telling me he sleeps with his best friend (of either sex) and my being cool and intrigued about it.  His stuff would be outside on the sidewalk so fast his head would spin.  For reasons that are her own, his wife has endured a farce of a marriage while her husband has had the best of both worlds.  "Bless her heart", indeed.

Another writes:

I have read with some interest the many letters concerning the monogamy and bisexual debate, and I am still convinced that those who claim the bisexual label do so to avoid the stigma of gay. I make this claim based on my many years behind the bar of a gay bar and talking to dozens of men - after a few Jack and cokes - about their sexual orientation.

Anyone who regularly goes to gay bars knows that many closeted married guys go there (although less and less thanks to the Internet). In the course of conversation, they inevitably reveal their marital status.  With few exceptions, most will claim to me “I’m not gay,” and offer some variation on the “I just like to hang out with men” reasoning for picking this specific bar over the 100 straight ones in the city.

Bartenders aren’t psychologists, of course, but you get a sense of people’s psyche after a while, especially when they are under the influence. Never once - nada, zip, zero - did any of these men convince me they were “bisexual.” Yes, they all loved their wives, which I believed, but that is not the same as having the physical and emotional connection that comes with having sex with a person whom you share the same orientation. The letters you printed in recent days seemed to convince me further of that.

As a person who tried the path of women, I know it from that perspective, too. I also went through the “gay” labeling fear, and would adamantly defend my heterosexuality – even though I secretly went to pickup spots to find my own place “to hang out with men.”

Yes, I know. “Bisexual” readers will write and tell me I am full of shit, and claim I can’t know how every person deals with their sexuality. Fair enough. I would be more than willing to say, however, that such playing both sides of the fence is a rare exception, and one that is often done more to convince the person making the claim than the people they are making it to.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to letters@theatlantic.com.