LOUISVILLE, KY–Describing himself a "going through a little phase," 26-year-old heterosexual Michael Litwin has been experimenting with homosexuality for the past eight years.
"I'm a very open, curious person, and right now I'm in a bit of an exploratory phase, sexually," Litwin said. "The woman I marry will definitely have to be okay with my past."
Since first deciding to "open up and try new things" in 1992, the "99 percent straight" Litwin has had 23 male sexual partners and one female partner. And though he said that "having a wife and kids and the house out in the suburbs with the white picket fence" is his eventual goal, Litwin is currently dating "a real mix of people."
"Before I do settle down with one woman for the rest of my life, it's important for me to 'do a little exploring,' so to speak," Litwin said. "And part of that process, for me, involves trying out some new things. Again, though, I must stress that it's temporary: Dating people of my own gender is not something I see myself doing in the long run."
Though Litwin has many gay friends and possesses "a certain appreciation for gay culture," he can't see himself in a permanent same-sex relationship.
"I just can't get used to the idea of only having sex with men," Litwin said. "The truth is, I simply adore women." As evidence of his attraction to women, Litwin pointed to the copy of the Madonna book Sex on his coffee table and a framed poster of Audrey Hepburn on the wall.
"I have absolutely nothing against homosexuality," Litwin added. "Some of my best friends are gay."
Of these friends, Litwin has had at least limited sexual contact with nearly all. Among them is Peter Skye.
"I met Michael at an art opening a few years back and, boy, did we hit it off," said Skye, 27, a waiter and part-time actor. "It's too bad he's not gay, because he was incredible in bed."
After dating Skye for seven months, Litwin ended the brief flirtation with homosexuality in favor of a period of experimentation with restaurateur Tyler Randolph. According to Litwin, he "sort of saw" Randolph on a strict "no promises" basis for two years.
"I was living in Chicago when Michael and I met at a party," Randolph said. "Right from the start, there was amazing chemistry between us. We started seeing each other every weekend. But eventually, the strain of the long-distance thing got to be too much. That's why we broke up. That and Michael's inability to keep his cock out of my roommate Bruce's mouth."
According to Litwin, he has only had one serious relationship in his life: a three-year romance with high-school sweetheart Jenny Tankart that ended during the pair's sophomore year of college.
"I simply haven't had enough experience to really know what I want yet," Litwin said. "What I do know is that I don't need to be seriously involved with anyone right now. I've really enjoyed being single all these years. I like having my own place, with my own TV and my own leather five-piece sectional. Things were just way too claustrophobic with Jenny."
Now married with children, Tankart looks back fondly on her relationship with Litwin.
"Michael was a really nice guy–and a real gentleman, too," Tankart said. "He was always very supportive about my wanting to wait until marriage. So many of the guys I used to date just wanted one thing. Not Michael."
Litwin said he has been searching for the right woman for years, but every time he thinks he has found "the one," something goes wrong.
"My first few dates with Rachel went great, but then I found out she has a dog," Litwin said. "Then there was Annette a few years later, but there was just something about the way she dressed that turned me off. And Julie was terrific, but she lived all the way over in the next town. I wonder if I'll ever find true love."
While no woman has yet won Litwin's heart, women have taken an interest in him.
"When Michael started working here, I thought he was really cute," said Samantha Ringley, a coworker of Litwin's at Yellow Moon Graphic Design. "I didn't want to be wasting my time, so I asked him outright if he was gay. He started laughing and said, 'No, no, no!' After laughing for a long time, he said, 'I guess you could say I'm straight but not narrow.'"