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Header: Jess Anderson in Madison Wisconsin
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How Straight Straight Is
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It's somewhat ironic that most of the hysteria about gay men comes from straight men, yet heterosexuality is as hard to account for as homosexuality. Even more ironic, in my view, is the prevalence of the notion among gay men that any man who will have sex with another men is by definition gay. I don't think that's at all true.

I have had plenty of sex with straight and bisexual men. I've been deeply in love with straight men a couple times, and straight men have loved me deeply too. But I repeat: they were straight, as straight as any man who is sure that "having sex with another man means you're a fag." (It's surprising how many straight men actually think that, by the way.)

One of the relevant issues is that so many people have such an off-the-wall, oversimplified notion of what sexuality is. The straight people among them have only seldom really given the matter any thought; their world is majoritarian and they never question the biases that come with the majority viewpoint.

But many gay men too have not really questioned the majority definitions, which says a number of things about how they have incorporated straight values uncritically into their own perceptions.

I was shocked, a few years ago, when a straight guy I was running around with at the time expressed great surprise at the fact that I had had sex with women. It simply had not occurred to him that a gay man could have done that. He did not want to revise the over-simplified picture he had of me.

What he meant, I think, was that his own idea about what sexuality was was determined by the partner's gender: a man who has sex with women is straight and one who has sex with men is gay. Such a view ignores the realities, of course.

This simplified outlook helped him avoid any seriously probing self-analysis arising from the facts of our friendship, in which he had actively courted me and was often more attentive to me than any of my outright lovers had ever been.

Quite some time ago, there was a straight guy who liked me quite a bit and wanted to be my roommate. Unlike the above case, there was no issue of an affective relationship between us, but I was certainly surprised when he announced that before deciding for sure whether he wanted to move in (I had nothing against it), he wanted to have sex with me.

I had nothing against that, so in fact we did sleep together, once only. And he did move in. I'm not the type to have pressed him aggressively on the issue of why he wanted to do this, but my assumption was that he was curious about anal sex (which is what we did). He very much liked it.

It seems to me there's what amounts to a great curiosity about hinders on the part of men generally, including straight ones. For one thing, homophobes almost invariably talk about butt-fucking, not about blowjobs, when referring to gay sex. Maybe that's to be expected, since many, if not most, straight men have had oral sex with women.

But if they've had anal sex, it's not as a receiving partner -- fingers or sex toys notwithstanding. If they're aroused by anal stimulation at all, and many are, there's probably some element of wondering what "the real thing" might be like.

At any rate, all the straight and bisexual men I've had sex with wanted to do that, for what that's worth.

By no stretch of the imagination could I describe any of them as gay. Some may have been a bit ambiguous about being straight or bisexual, but most were quite clear about themselves, it seemed to me. The straight ones all had significant others who were women, and the bisexual ones in fact were currently having relationships with women primarily.

This all seems completely normal to me, and I'm often surprised that other gay men don't think so too. In fact, I think it's majoritarian conditioning on their part if they haven't really considered that most of the received wisdom on matters of sexuality, including their own, is over-simplified.

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