Why rural white men who identify as "straight" are having sex with other men.
Why Straight Rural Men Have Gay "Bud-Sex" With Each Other is the title of Jesse Singal’s article on sexuality in New York Magazine.
The subjects of his work were 19-year-old straight (or mostly straight) men who had advertised for male sexual encounters in rural areas.
Perhaps the simplest way of describing the findings is that the men interviewed tended to be masculine in their behavior and enjoyed sex with other masculine men, but noted that it didn't detract from their heterosexual identity.
In my years of sex therapy, I've come across men who rarely have sex with women yet identify as straight, as well as men who have sex almost entirely with women yet identify as gay, and of course, all points in between.
There was a clear rejection of men who identified as gay or displayed stereotypical feminine behavior.
These men were from rural areas, and perhaps both due to prejudice and lack of exposure, may not have been aware that gay people come in all shapes and sizes, as well as likes and dislikes.
For me, as a gay man, an important part of that is that I enjoy masculinity. In my early coming out experiences, I sometimes felt pressured by other gay men to "be myself" and stop "trying to act so butch."
But that's who I was: a masculine man. It didn’t make me "less gay" or inauthentic. Nobody was acting. It is, in some ways, the inverse of what many of these men must have experienced where cultural demands for masculinity are at odds with identifying as gay or bisexual.
Another interesting aspect of the report is that the men almost uniformly denied an emotional connection beyond friendship to each other. Yet they also reported enjoying activities together that go beyond a casual sexual hookup.
Here. we brush across a very interesting key point: our masculine society holds stereotypical female behavior in contempt.
In fact, at one point in the article, sex between men is referred to as "helping a buddy out." Helping a buddy out is what men do for each other, like changing a flat tire. Baking cookies for him, getting "all sweet for him" are things a woman would do and therefore spoken of pejoratively.
Not a terribly big deal where all the guys involved are straight. But to walk like a girl, or throw like a girl or fight like a girl that is what makes you the object of contempt. It is that which gets you labeled a sissy or a faggot, and makes you the object of public scorn.
This article was originally published at Dr. Eli Mayer. Reprinted with permission from the author.