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What do I mean by identified straight men acting gay? More and more I’m seeing women in my practice who either have partners who have cheated on them with other men, or men who see themselves as straight who are having gay sex.
There are growing numbers of men who themselves as straight and may be in a relationship with a woman, but have gay sex.
Although there appears to be scant research on this trend, information provided by the Centers for Disease Control indicate a growing number of men who have sexually transmitted infections (STIs) or who are HIV positive are having sex with men who do not see themselves as gay or bi-sexual.
Although people generally say our culture has become more open about sex, there is still so much pressure on people to get married and have children with someone of the opposite sex. Can that partly explain why straight men are having sex with men?
In 1948, Dr. Alfred Kinsey published a landmark study that rocked the world’s ideas about sexuality. In his study, he reported that the majority of men and women reported they were exclusively heterosexual and a small percentage reported only homosexual attractions. However, there was huge variation in what people actually did. He described sexuality on a continuum that can change throughout life.
Although a man may see himself as being straight, he can act as if he is bi-sexual. Some would argue that a man doing this is denying that he’s gay. Others may say he’s simply bi-sexual because he likes both genders. But what about the man who insists that he’s really straight even though he has sex with men?
Glbtq.com, a blog about gay, lesbian, bisexual, transsexual, and queer people talks about the difference between being hetero-emotional and homo-sexual. A man who falls in love with women would be considered hetero-emotional, while his sexual behavior may also include homo-sexual actions. They argue that there’s a significant difference between sexual preferences and sexual identity.
Both Kinsey’s famous study and glbtq.com’s site suggest then that a straight man can fall in love with a woman while wanting to have sex with a man. Glbtq.com argues that such men may:
Certainly one conceivable impact is the breakdown of trust if the woman were to find out. How could she believe that her partner is committed to her when he is secretly having sex with other men?
Consent makes a big difference. If both partners within a relationship are fine with one or both of them having sex with other partners, that’s one thing. But if one is secretly having sex behind the other one’s back, that’s different. How can trust be maintained under such circumstances?
Another obvious issue is one of safety and protection. Knowing that there is an increase in the number of STIs and HIV positive SMSM suggests many are having unprotected sex. If this is so and they’re in a relationship with a woman also having unprotected sex with her, what risk are they placing on their female partners?
Sexual behavior is complex as are our wants and desires. Many of us still desire to be in a committed relationship whether we see ourselves as heterosexual, bisexual, gay, transsexual, or queer. Developing a deep and loving relationship allows trust to flourish. Secrecy and betrayal ultimately destroy it. Having the courage to be honest with partners is important. Protecting yourself and the people you care about is too. What do you think?