Alberto Bogo

Am I Gay? Straight Men Sleeping Together Say They Aren't

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Sexuality is fluid, but for some men, they feel it is possible to identify as heterosexual and still engage in same sex intercourse.

Research on this topic comes out of the journal Sexualities, where study authors Héctor Carrillo and Amanda Hoffman conducted 100 interviews on men who largely identify as straight, but have casual sex with other men.

What they uncovered was an overwhelming pattern that while men may recognize that they identify as bi or participate in bi-sexual activity, they feel that it's in their best personal interest to outwardly show a heterosexual lifestyle.

Furthermore, there is much distinction between being emotionally and romantically invested in a person, vs. strictly physically interested.

According to study authors Carrillo and Hoffman,

They define sexual attraction as a combination of physical and emotional attraction, and they assess that their interest in women includes both, while their interest in men is purely or mainly sexual, not romantic or emotional... ...some observe that the only physical part of a man that interests them is his penis. Men in the latter group do not find men handsome or attractive, but they do find penises attractive, and they thus see penises as 'living dildos' or, in other words, disembodied objects of desire that provide a source of sexual pleasure.

In other words, men view other men as a vessel for sexual pleasure and women more like life partners or companions.

While men may understand and even agree that they identify as bi or participate in bi-sexual activity, they feel it is in their best personal interest to outwardly show a heterosexual life style.

This study also noted that based on the variety of terms the interviewees used, heterosexuality is considered much more flexible than the traditional understanding, and that having same-sex desire or behavior "does not automatically push an individual out of the heterosexual category," according to Carrillo and Hoffman.

Some of the quotes from the men interviewed are extremely telling in their belief and attitudes towards bi-sexuality.

I am not openly bisexual to society except in sexual situations … I don't have relationships with men; I am in a relationship with my wife and only love her. [I'm bisexual] only with men behind closed doors. [Dustin, 28] I think everybody is a little bi. Isn't that what this research is about? There's the Kinsey scale … It's not like Bush saying you're either with us or with the terrorists. I think I'm probably bi but what I present to the world is a heterosexual man. Internally I'm bi, but that's not something most people know. I'm not ashamed, but the majority of people are ignorant and close-minded. [Simon, 27]
Katie Byram Photography

For others, they are adamant that 99 percent of their eyes are on women, and that 1 percent has nothing to do with being gay.

Women are hot… I can see a beautiful woman walk down the street and I instantly can become hard and get horny. I don't think I've ever seen a guy walking by and got a boner. Also, I would not want to kiss or make out with them or love them. They would be more like a sexual experience. [Charlie, 32] I know what I like. I like pussy. I like women … the more the merrier … I would kiss a woman. ANYWHERE. I can barely hug a man … I do have a healthy sexual imagination and wonder about other things in the sexual realm I've never done … Sometimes I get naughty and explore … That's how I see it. [Reggie, 28]

And while those of us who do not identify like these men might be tempted to think, "Well... sounds like you're afraid to admit you're into men or bi-sexual," the fact remains that sexuality is a spectrum and not a rule.

Sexuality is a spectrum, and not a rule.

It is the individuals' understanding and acceptance of their own desires that defines them and not a label that society is accustomed to categorize humans by.

The large take-away? By saying they're heterosexual and participating in same-sex activity, men are able to maintain a certain identity they value while exploring a different kind of pleasure and excitement.

 

Citations: How Straight Men Who Have Sex With Men Explain Their Encounters (NYMag)