Though 2016 has basically sucked for the most part, people are becoming much more accepting of all sorts of sexualities and genders, which is pretty damn awesome.
However, there's one kind of sexual identity that might have been overlooked: straight men in rural areas who have sex with other men, but don't identify as gay.
I'm not one to make snap judgments, but if you, as a man, are involved in a sexual relationship with another man... you're not straight.
If you, as a man, are involved in a sexual relationship with another man... you're not straight.
Sure, there are different umbrellas to fall under, whether bisexual or fluid, but unfortunately, your arrow is without a doubt a little crooked.
Last year, University of California, Riverside, gender and sexuality professor Jane Ward published a book called "Not Gay: Sex Between Straight White Men." In it, Ward discussed what she called "straight homosexual sex" in communities like biker gangs and conservative suburban neighborhoods.
But University of Oregon sociology doctoral student Tony Silva wanted to dive deeper into communities that often go overlooked when sociologists look into the whole "straight homosexual sex" thing.
After discussing sexual behaviors and interests with 19 straight men who search online via Craigslist for other straight men to have sex with in rural, conservative areas, such as Missouri, Illinois, Oregon, Washington and Idaho, Silva coined the term "bud-sex," according to New York magazine.
Turns out, the participants all perceived their sexual relations to be more of a courtesy to other guys, essentially relieving their urges and just aiding a friend in a way to get off without developing any deep feelings or emotional connections. Because of this, these men were able to find "normalcy" in their sexual interactions with men and not deem them homosexual at all.
The participants perceived their sexual relations to be more of a courtesy to other guys.
(This really reminds me of those days in middle school where people would be like "It's not gay if...")
'Bud-sex' captures these interpretations, as well as how the participants had sex and with whom they partnered. The specific type of sex the participants had with other men — bud-sex — cemented their rural masculinity and heterosexuality, and distinguishes them from other MSM.
The participants only wanted to have sex with other guys who were like them, matching in age, race, with an overtly manly demeanor.
For many of them, being too feminine and sassy is basically an absolute deal breaker. That's because feminine men give off that stereotypical "YAS KWEEN" gay vibe, and these MSM felt that if they slept with feminine men, it would ultimately confirm the idea that they, too, were gay (which is an identity that's minimally represented and not well-respected in rural areas).
By only hooking up with macho guys like themselves, the act was deemed OK and much more understood.
Matt (60) explained, 'If they're too flamboyant they just turn me off,' and Jack noted, 'Femininity in a man is a turn off.' Ryan (60) explained, 'I'm not comfortable around femme' and 'masculinity is what attracts me,' while David shared that 'Femme guys don't do anything for me at all, in fact actually I don't care for 'em.' Jon shared, 'I don't really like flamin' queers.' Mike (50) similarly said, 'I don't want the effeminate ones, I want the manly guys … If I wanted someone that acts girlish, I got a wife at home.' Jeff (38) prefers masculinity because 'I guess I perceive men who are feminine want to hang out … have companionship, and make it last two or three hours.'
Basically, these guys are interested in hooking up with guys who are just as masculine as they are. To them, that eliminated the idea that they were, in fact, actually gay.
These MSM chats and websites are also outlets that provide men with the experience of interaction with another man, at times, outside of just sex. Some of these guys even have "regulars" and can be found canoodling up with another guy while their wives are away for spa weekends.
That sounds more like a side piece than someone you grab a beer at the bar with.
But despite doing things with other guys that may be mistaken as a date, the MSM say there is no emotional connection during their time together. It's more of a friendly hangout with the added benefit of sex.
'We talk for an hour or so, over coffee … then we'll go get a blowjob and then, part our ways,' said test subject Pat. Similarly. Richard noted, 'Sex is a very small part of our relationship. It's more friends, we discuss politics … all sorts of shit.' Likewise, with several of his regulars Billy noted, 'I go on road trips, drink beer, go down to the city [to] look at chicks, go out and eat, shoot pool, I got one friend I hike with. It normally leads to sex, but we go out and do activities other than we meet and suck.'
These men continuously say they identify as straight, but how much more "Brokeback Mountain" can you get?
How much more 'Brokeback Mountain' can you get?
It's hard to conclude if these men, who claim to be straight or partially bisexual, are being completely honest when discussing their sexualities.
Coming from areas where the gay population is marginalized, they may not be so inclined to come out. What's more, they don't live in progressive enough areas that would help them realize they're gay.
Their surroundings and upbringing clearly play a part in their behavior and idea of the gay community, but in my opinion, all of this research from sociologists is just unnecessary.
These guys like to hook up with guys, but they also like the lives they've built through their straight identities.
They would probably behave very differently if they lived in places where this heterosexual "bud-sex" was a term that didn't need to be used at all.
Pick 'em up and plop 'em down at the Stonewall Inn, and I bet they'll fit in just fine.