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Is Your Boyfriend Gay?

Learn the tell-tale signs that your man secretly pitches for the other team.

When Andrea, 27, first met her college boyfriend, Mike, he seemed like the ultimate catch. “He was great-looking and in the most astig fraternity,” she says. While other girls flirted with him with no success, Andrea felt an immediate connection with him, and the two began dating.

Though things weren’t perfect, she shrugged off the snags and focused on the good parts. “I blamed the so-so sex on the fact that we went drinking a lot,” she says. “I always felt like he appreciated me more than he lusted after me. His compliments were like ‘You’re so easy to be around.’”

But, as their emotional bond deepened, Mike began pulling away and disappearing for weekends at a time. Andrea worried that he was seeing someone else. The truth was possibly even more shocking: Mike finally confessed that he had a gay double life and was frequenting gay bars during his unexplained absences.

“It all makes sense in retrospect, but at the time, I blamed myself for not being hot or understanding enough to keep him into me,” she says. “You never would have guessed by how he looked or acted. He has friends who still don’t believe he’s really gay.”

Men Who Fake It

Yes, plenty of gay guys seek out chicks. “Some of these men make the best boyfriends because they devote extra energy to being the perfect man to a woman in their efforts to live a straight life,” says psychotherapist Dorothy McCoy, author of The Manipulative Man. Younger guys especially are so hormonally charged, they can often perform in bed, and many hope that dating girls will help them lose their guy-guy urges.

But if he’s gay, he’s gay, and eventually, he’ll follow his heart. So to safeguard yourself, you have to recognize the clues he’s in hiding. “A lot of women get really worried about, say, a guy who’s into anal sex, which isn’t a huge deal, but they ignore the more important signs,” says Drew Pinsky, MD, host of the radio show Loveline and assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at the Keck School of Medicine of University of Southern California. So, forget about stupid stereotypes like whether your guy wears pink, dances well, or likes musicals. Experts gave us the real indicators.

The Biggest Tip-Offs

One irrefutable sign that a guy is gay—-besides catching him in the act—is if he gets off on male-on-male porn. Yes, guys send one another crass pictures, and pop-ups do happen, so one shocking image isn’t proof of anything. But if you find a stash, face facts.

“When a woman confronts her partner, he almost always denies knowing how it got there,” says Bonnie Kaye, author of Is He Straight? and a relationship counselor who specializes in women who unknowingly marry gay men. “If that’s the case, it means that a gay man is breaking into your house and keeping his porn there. It’s ridiculous, but some women would rather believe that than the reality.”

Another red flag is a man who confesses that he hooked up with a dude when he was younger. “Guys are much more rigid in their sexuality than women are, and they don’t experiment with the same sex the way women often do,” says Dr. Pinsky. “If he wasn’t high at the time, he was probably inclined that way.”

The Other Factors

There are more subtle hints that your man may swing the opposite way—little things you may notice before you ever discover one of the telltale clues. Alone, none of them are surefire giveaways, but when several add up, it suggests that he’s hiding something.

Most couples experience a slight drop in sexual fever, but when a guy isn’t straight, his lust will often flatline for good, says Kaye. The sex he does have may be mechanical, and he’ll frequently avoid foreplay that involves touching his partner’s vagina. “Some men will tell a woman it’s because she’s unattractive or call her a nympho if she initiates sex,” she adds.

Also watch how he deals with guys who are out of the closet. “If a guy grew up with a friend who later came out, that’s one thing, but most straight guys don’t surround themselves primarily with gay men,” says Kaye. Nor do they hang out in gay bars (not even for the drink specials), go on about other guys’ physical appearances (like the abs of some dude at the gym), or brag about getting hit on by another male—right or wrong, most straight men get too freaked out to dwell on that.

And, if you have gay friends who think your man might be gay—for real reasons, not just wishful thinking—consider their input. “Gay men do have gaydar,” says McCoy. Also talk to his pals, family, and even exes. “If the picture they paint of him sounds very different from the guy you know, look into why that is,” she says.

If The Signs Are There

First, keep in mind that your issues could be linked to problems with your bond, not his latent desires. “A flagging sex drive could be caused by plenty of things besides sexual orientation,” says Dr. Pinsky. Emotional distance may not be a result of his taste in partners. But, if the signs clearly point to your guy being gay, you should definitely end the relationship.

That doesn’t mean to boot him out of the closet. Experts say that telling a guy you think he’s gay is a bad idea. “If he’s not, you’ve just shot down any chance of staying friends,” says McCoy. “That’s one of those blows that’s too big for a guy to forgive.” You can say that you think you’re looking for different things and stay friendly—from the same distance you would with any ex—so you can support him when (and if) he does come out.

Your next move: Get tested for STDs, even if you don’t think he’s acted on his urges. You simply never know, and any guy who cheats puts you at risk for sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV.

The one big no-no if you find out that your man is gay is sticking around and thinking that he’ll eventually morph out of this experimental phase and into the ideal boyfriend.

“This is a clear-cut case of a relationship problem that has nothing to do with you,” says McCoy. “Gay men who date women instinctively seek ones who are understanding, because they know they’ll be accepted. Those are great traits to offer, but to the right guy, one who is truly attracted to you.”

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