What I learned on my Book Tour
by Michael Dale Kimmel of Life Beyond Therapy
I've just finished six months as an openly gay author out there in the – overwhelmingly straight – publishing world talking about my book: "The Gay Man's Guide to Open and Monogamous Marriage".
As a first-time author, I really had no idea what I was in for. I'd like to share some of the most interesting moments with you, as well as some of the email questions I've received as the book has been reviewed/excerpted and I've been interviewed by a whole bunch of media, including: Gay San Diego (thank you Morgan and Ken), Psychology Today, Huffington Post, The Advocate, Erie Gay News, Brides magazine, Catalyst magazine, gayswithkids.com, littlegayblog.com and gaystarnews.com (UK).
Here are some of the most interesting questions I've been asked:
"What did you learn from doing a six-month book tour?"
As a very experienced, 64-year-old openly-queer psychotherapist, I thought I had seen a lot regarding how we human beings think, feel and act. This book tour taught me: "You think you're so old and wise; mister, you ain't seen nothin' yet!" I met people who were incredibly supportive of the book and told me how it was just what they were looking for. I also met people who told me that we deviants/fags/homos (and other ugly labels) are disgusting and that it is very sad that a publisher would want to put a book like this out into the world. I was asked questions that tested my ability to be gracious and respectful: I never lost my composure externally, but, internally, that's another story.
"Is gay marriage really different from straight marriage?"
In many ways, it's not. However, in describing a "double-testosterone marriage" – two men marrying – the frequency of open (non-monogamous) relationships cannot and should not be ignored. In my private practice, I've noticed that two men together typically want to have more sex and with more partners than lesbian or opposite-sex couples, and, to make it even more complicated, male couples often experience more competition and aggression, what I call "the testosterone grunt".
"Why does this book only focus on gay men?"
The book I originally wrote was for the LGBT community. When my agent submitted it to publishers, the publishers wanted it to be more specific in its focus. But, when you read the book, you'll see that the principles and ideas discussed are universal for not only the LGBT community, but for straight couples too.
"Do you have plans for another book?"
I do. I have started my next book: "The Gay Man's Guide to Aging Well".
"Is this book being used as a college textbook?"
Several colleges and universities are considering the book for use as a textbook, I haven't heard anything definite yet (please cross your fingers).
Most offensive question (a tie): "If you gay people want to have sex with everyone you can, why are you bothering to get married?" and "You LGBT people ruin everything (e.g., marriage), don't you?"
My answers: Is marriage really about monogamy? Is love – really deep love – only possible with monogamy? I think not. Many hetero couples are polyamorous; does this invalidate their love? And as far as us LGBTers ruining everything: I think it's just the opposite: by questioning the very structure of marriage and closely examining its underpinnings, we are giving everyone – queer and straight folks alike – the opportunity to reinvent marriage and make it more meaningful than ever.
"Do you want to be married yourself?"
When I was in a long-term relationship of many years, same-sex marriage wasn't possible. Now that it is, I haven't yet met anyone I'd like to settle down with or marry. I know that I could be happy in a relationship without getting married, but there are so many legal/financial benefits that come with marriage that are appealing. Also, it would be great to celebrate my loving someone wonderful with a beautiful wedding ceremony. I admit it: I have a wedding fantasy!