Experiences of the Marital Relationship among Orthodox Jewish Gay Men in Mixed-Orientation Marriages

Karni Kissil, Haya Itzhaky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


This qualitative study describes the marital relationship experiences of Orthodox Jewish gay men in mixed-orientation marriages. In-depth interviews were conducted with 21 men from the northeastern part of North America about their experiences of being gay in their Orthodox religious communities. Spontaneous accounts of their experiences within the marital relationship were reported by all participants. A content analysis revealed four primary themes: reasons for getting married, the role of the Orthodox community in sustaining the marriage, quality of the marital relationship, and the impact of homosexuality on the marital relationship. Findings suggest that religion and the Orthodox community play a major role in gay Orthodox Jewish men's decision to marry and in sustaining the marriage. In addition, findings suggest that the marital relationship is experienced as a task-centered teamwork and not as a source of support and intimacy. Finally, although rarely discussed in the relationship, their sexual orientation greatly influences these men's attitudes, behaviors, and feelings toward their wives.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)151-172
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of GLBT Family Studies
Issue number2
StatePublished - 15 Mar 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.


  • Orthodox Jews
  • marital relationship
  • mixed-orientation marriages
  • religion


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