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Most of the men identified as straight because they felt that this identity best reflected their romantic relationships with women, their integration in communities composed mostly of straight people, or the way they understood their masculinity.
Mar 23, For more information, contact Wan Yee Lok. According to nationally-representative surveys in the United States, hundreds of thousands of straight-identified men have had sex with other men. Tony Silva argues that these men — many of whom enjoy hunting, fishing and shooting guns — are not closeted, bisexual or just experimenting. After interviewing 60 of these men over three years, Dr. Silva found that they enjoy a range of relationships with other men, from hookups to sexual friendships to secretive loving partnerships, all while strongly identifying with straight culture.
The majority of the men I interviewed reported that they are primarily attracted to womennot men. Most of these men are also married to women and prefer to have sex with women. They explained that although they loved their wives, their marital sex lives were not as active as they wanted. Sex with men allowed them to have more sex. People who live in small towns and rural areas typically consider marriage as an important part of their identity.
These men think that sex with men is a lot less complicated with no attachment. I find it particularly interesting and ironic that their conservative beliefs about gender actually encourage them to have sex with men. Other men chose to have sex with men for reasons related to masculinity. Some men enjoyed receiving anal sex from other men because this act allowed them to experience pleasure, but without the pressure they felt when they had sex with women. For example, several men explained that they felt like they were expected to be in control when they had sex with women, but not with men.
Several single men were lonely or wanted to experience human touch, but were unsure how to do so platonically in a way that felt masculine. Sex helped them connect with other men in a way that felt masculine to them, ironic as that may sound.
Why do these men still identify as straight? Why are they not considered bisexual? Identifying as straight also meant they could avoid stigma and feel connected to a socially dominant group. Many felt that sex with men was irrelevant to their identities given other aspects of their lives.
Furthermore, sexuality is multidimensional, and attractions, behaviours and identities do not always align.
When a straight-identified man has sex with another man, he views himself as straight despite sex with men. These men are secretive about their sexual behaviour, but not their identity. In fact, sexual encounters with men are mostly irrelevant to their identity. However, the majority of the men, supported same-sex marriage and the right for same-sex couples to raise children. To confirm these interview findings, I analyzed one nationally representative survey called the National Survey of Family Growth.
They were similar in their attitudes to other straight men. In other words, straight men who have sex with men are no more prejudiced than other straight men. Note: Dr. Silva has limited media availability and will be responding to media requests on a first-come-first-serve basis.
Find other stories about: Dr. UBC News. Why do some straight men have sex with other men? We spoke with Dr. Silva about his book.
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