In America, there are reportedly more than three million men who identify as straight – but secretly have sex with other men.
A recent piece on Salon.com explored this trend, pointing out that 10 per cent of ‘male seeking male’ ads, were asking for men who did not identify as gay or bi. On top of this, 24 per cent of ‘male seeking male’ ads were actually posted by men who were not gay or bi.
So why do straight men sometimes seek out gay sex?
Therapist Joe Kort, speaking to Salon, said that it wasn’t necessarily because these men are closeted or actually bisexual. Instead, he theorised that men merely enjoy how easy it was to get this type of sex.
Many people become confused about this because they think these men are gay or at least bi because they are hooking up with other men… But these men are not attracted to the men, they are attracted to the quick and easy sex that doesn’t involved social skills or getting to know one another.
Another reason straight men might seek out gay sex, is because they feel more freedom to engage in more unusual sexual practices. Kort continued:
For many of these guys, they say it is opportunity for sexual release and they can engage in more kinky and fetish-type sexual acts that they cannot readily find amongst women.
Kort added that for those coupled-up, straight dudes out there seeking gay sex, they were more comfortable with the concept, as they didn’t see it as cheating. If “it is with another man and not a woman”, many men think it doesn’t count.
On the other hand, why are gay men seeking out straight males for sex? In this instance, Kort theorises that it has to do with power relations, saying that “internalised homophobia” might have something to do with it.
“They seek out the privileged male, which is usually the straight man, and gives them the illusion that they are accepted by the type of male who usually rejects us,” Kort says.
Joe Kort has previously written for The Huffington Post about why he doesn’t necessarily categorise men who have sex with other men as gay – even though that is a controversial position to take. However, Kort feels that he is respecting how how patients self-identify – if they don’t feel the need to classify themselves as gay or bi, why should he?
Kort explains that, “The truth is that many men who have sex with men aren’t gay or even bisexual. Although their mental and emotional state resembles that of the initial stages of coming out, gay and bisexual men go on to develop a gay or a bisexual identity, whereas these men don’t.”
Tristan Taormino at Village Voice conducted a series of interviews with straight men who have sex with other men, and asked them about their motivations.
Mike – a 44-year-old married man – said that he liked the male bonding aspect of having sex with other men, and that “It’s just less complicated than with women. We’re both there for sex, and that’s it.”
Thirty-five-year-old John was dating several women at the time of the interview, echoed this sentiment, saying, “There are less emotional complications for me. Many men will do things some women will not, and many men give better oral sex. I think men will exercise their hunger for sex and not deny that they are horny more so than women. They feel comfortable sexually bonding.”
Regardless of whether you think that straight men can have sex with other men, without being secretly bisexual or gay – straight is how these men self-identify.
Which raises complex questions when it comes to communicating sexual health messages to them about safe sex. How do you talk to men about gay sex when they don’t identify with being gay?
What do you think: Can people have sex with a member of their own gender, without being gay or bisexual?