Why gay man loves marriage with woman
A Mormon couple in the United States have opened up about their "mixed orientation" marriage in which gay man Skyler Sorensen is happily married to his wife Amanda.
The Utah couple went viral earlier this year when a tweet from Mr Sorensen describing their unusual situation was widely shared on Twitter.
"Being in a mixed orientation marriage is like going to Disneyland and having some people tell you you'd be better off at Six Flags," he wrote.
"Six Flags may have more roller-coasters, but it'll never beat the happiest place on earth."
Mr Sorensen's tweet drew surprised reactions from some people, but the couple insist their marriage is very normal.
"We have our struggles of course, like every marriage, but me being gay hasn't been … the biggest issue in our marriage," he told the New York Post. "It's been communication, normal marriage things."
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HOW THEY MET
The couple, both 25, met less than five years ago in a Mormon church congregation for young people.
They bonded and were friends for six months before deciding to pursue a romantic relationship.
But Amanda soon had her suspicions about her boyfriend's sexuality and confronted him about it.
The confrontation turned to marriage talks, with Mr Sorensen making it clear that despite his attraction to men he only wanted to marry a woman.
"He grew up always knowing that he was never going to be with a guy," she said. "That was always his conviction and his belief and his desire."
In the Mormon faith a "celestial marriage" between a man and a woman (with the belief that marriage can last into the afterlife) is the path to heaven and salvation.
While it no longer condemns LGBT people as "apostates", it does expect gay Mormons to abstain from sexual contact with someone of the same sex.
Determined to make their union work, the Sorensens sought the help of an expert in mixed orientation marriages for guidance.
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'WE'RE TWO CONSENTING ADULTS'
As well as his attraction to men, Mr Sorensen identifies as demisexual, which is when sexual attraction develops after an emotional connection forms.
He said that he and his wife have an enjoyable sex life, even if it did take a bit of work.
"That sexual attraction came from, I mean, trial and error and a lot of practice," he said.
The couple are keen to start a family but tragically lost their first son Milo when he was born prematurely at 25 weeks last year.
"I've always pictured this realisation of family in my life: Marrying a woman, having children, raising those children," Mr Sorensen said.
While he admits the Mormon church hasn't had a great record on their treatment of gay people, he has been disappointed at the response from the LGBT community to his situation.
"We just ask for the same grace and understanding that other people in the LGBT community are asking for, because we're two consenting adults," Mr Sorensen said. "We made this decision together."
Originally published as Why gay man loves marriage with woman