Mostly Straight, Most of the Time

photo greg clements source goodnightboy tumblr

Photo courtesy of Greg Clements

‘I’m not sure there’s a name for what I am,’ says Dillon, a college hockey player. Welcome to the world of the mostly straights.

Dillon, a college varsity hockey goalie, is an eager volunteer for our interview. In fact, he so loves telling his story that he stays beyond the 90 minutes he believes it will take, and offers to come back for the chance to talk some more. When we reschedule, he’s thrilled, and shakes my hand and thanks me four times in the process of leaving.

Besides being remarkably polite, Dillon is talkative, self-aware, and reflective, with an engaging smile and an at-ease quality. Nothing he says feels rehearsed. It’s as if each topic brings forth another triumph, as if he’s discovering his life as he reflects on the questions.

When eventually asked about his sexuality, Dillon isn’t fazed. Though he wants to “fuck lots of girls” before graduation, he’s not entirely heterosexual. “I’m not sure there’s a name for what I am,” he says. He wants this process, this interview, to help him figure it out.

♦♦♦

By his own admission, Dillon says he resides in the “Sexual Netherlands” (his words), a place that exists between heterosexuality and bisexuality. In previous generations, such individuals might have been described as “straight but not narrow,” “bending a little,” and “heteroflexible.”

Dillon is part of a growing trend of young men who are secure in their heterosexuality and yet remain aware of their potential to experience far more—sexual attractions, sexual interactions, crushes, and, ocassionally romantic relationships with other guys. Dillon lives these contradictions—seemingly hetero guys who now reject that label, sexual description, and identity.

And he is not alone. National surveys in the U.S. and Canada show that 3 to 4 percent of male teenagers, when given the choice to select a term that best describes their sexual feelings, desires, and behaviors, opt not for heterosexual, bisexual, or gay, but for “mostly” or “predominantly” heterosexual.

An even higher percentage of post-high-school young-adult men in the U.S. and in a handful of other countries (including New Zealand and Norway) make the same choice. There are now more young men who feel they are “mostly straight” than who say they are bisexual or gay.

To the uninitiated, “mostly straight” is a paradox. These young men fracture the heterosexual agenda—or do we call it a lifestyle? If a guy is not exclusively into girls, he can’t be totally straight. Aren’t you supposed to pick a side?

If a guy is not straight, not bisexual, and not gay—and yet still falls in love and gets an erection—what the hell is he?

It’s a common misconception that the “mostly straight” phenomenon is nothing more than an adolescent foray into sexual experimentation, possibly due to excessive hormones and sexual confusion.

Sizable numbers of young men maintain their “mostly straight” status—not just as adolescents or college students, but as adults. Of the 160 guys we interviewed for a study in 2008 and 2009, nearly one in eight reported same-sex attractions, fantasies, and crushes. The majority had these feelings since high school; a few others developed them more recently. And in a national sample of young men whose average age was 22, the “mostly straight” proportion increased when they completed the same survey six years later.

These men aren’t bisexuals in disguise. They’re not closeted gay men seeking the privileges afforded to heterosexuals in society. They’re not simply tired of sex with women. With the words “mostly straight,” they’re describing a unique sexual identity, their complete romantic self.

♦♦♦

Among the “mostly straights” we surveyed, a few subtypes stood out.

First is the guy whose progressive political leanings lead him to feel constrained by traditional heterosexuality and masculinity, an outdated and unnecessary burden. “I might have been gay if I’d been raised differently,” one said. “Aren’t we all born bisexual and culture pushes us one way or another?” He challenges homophobic customs and assumptions. One such young man sings in a gay chorus; another marches in pride parades as an ally; a third intends to “come out” as mostly straight in the military to test the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. He wants to know, how gay does one have to be to count?

Second is the guy who finds guys physically attractive. One interviewee pleaded, “I mean, come on, tell me some guys aren’t hot!” If he finds himself staring at men in the gym, on the sports field, around the neighborhood, and in Details, Instinct, and Vman, then how can he say to himself that he is totally straight? He notices guys in the buff and who are buff, visually appealing, and pleasurable to be around. He wonders if he only desires the toned body, stylistic appearance, and athletic facility—and not the sexuality.

A third guy may admit that he’s a little sexually attracted to guys. It may not be his top priority, but he’ll acknowledge that men occasionally pop up in his masturbatory fantasies. He doesn’t expect to have sex with a man, but he isn’t ruling it out; he has a willingness to experiment. He’s into sexual pleasure without strings, without meaning. Anything is possible, given the right circumstances with the right person. (Well, almost anything: most interviewees drew the line at actual male-male intercourse.)

A fourth guy is a guy like Dillon: he grants that he’s not totally straight, and that his feelings for guys are more than just sexual—they’re romantic. He can imagine experiencing emotional, intimate relationships with other young men. It just seems natural. He’s into cuddling without the pressure of sex, and he could spend countless hours with “special buddies.” He’s been infatuated with best friends, teammates, and videogame partners.

All four guys have one thing in common: unlike their totally straight brothers, they’re not averse to sexual or romantic feelings, encounters, or relationships with other males.

♦♦♦

It’s unlikely that mostly straight youth are limited to just four types. As additional young men recognize and reveal their sexual breadth, they assist all of us to understand previously unrecognized sexual and romantic possibilities. How many of us have these feelings and are clamoring to “come out” as mostly straight?

Indeed, throughout his life, Dillon has had boy chums, boy crushes, and boy infatuations with teammates and best friends. He makes lingering, intense, frequent references to his core group of high-school buddies and to the male companionship he habitually seeks. He readily hugs and even cuddles with male friends while watching a movie and eating popcorn, especially if they are “on the same wavelength.”

Dillon could see himself meeting a guy and together developing a “partnership.” They wouldn’t act on it sexually, but they’d be physically affectionate. Dillon imagines that their relationship would be difficult for others to understand. They’d think it was a gay relationship because of the time he and his partner spent together, the secrets they shared, and the knowing glances, nods, and code words they exchanged. This is the “homosexual thing” that most interests him.

Far more than we realize, young males wait to be released from their heterosexual straightjackets.

Dillon might just show us the way.

—By Ritch Savin-Williams and Kenneth Cohen

 

— photo courtesy Greg Clements 


About Ritch C. Savin-Williams and Kenneth M. Cohen

Ritch C. Savin-Williams, Ph.D., is Professor of Developmental Psychology and Director of Sex and Gender Lab at Cornell University. He is currently investigating the spectrum of sexual development among straight-identified and sexually fluid young men.

Kenneth M. Cohen, Ph.D., is a licensed Clinical Psychologist at Cornell University’s Counseling and Psychological Services, and Lecturer in Cornell’s Department of Human Development.

Comments

  1. I like this concept and totally get it and have your backs. The issue with even “bisexuality” as I can see it, is that we are clustered into straight norms and all of the drama and crap they are all about is just nuts and it’s embarrassing. Of course, the femmes are running it but they are the ones that make people want nothing to do with LGBT. Even bisexuality is going this way too. Gay men need to grow up. If bi or basically straight men are not part of your norms, we should be able to put our identity and expression of that in our terms.

    It is sad that I have to feel paranoid to fear bisexual anger/vandalism, embarrassment etc. Really, not everyone thinks that gay themed shit or public shit etc is appropriate and know gay men will bully, stalk, harass, resent etc and we’re all set. It isn’t fear of shit other than being associated with and nonconsensual prying etc. We’ll step up to anyone regardless of perception of crap. You will have to deal with the way this one works on their terms.

  2. This article is right on the mark – thank you for posting this!

    I have had sexual fantasies about being with men sexually, but not romantically. It is always just a sexual thing focused on getting off very quickly and often after I feel rejected by a woman or have a rejection with a woman I’m hot for. So for me I find homosexual tendencies and fantasies are often driven by emotional pain and suffering with women having been raised by a whacked feminist mother that affected my ability to express masculinity and love for for women.

    Long story – and the bottom line is that I totally identify as “mostly straight – most of the time” and this piece I can really relate to. Only difference for me is that I’m not romantically attracted to men and would not want to marry or share my life and have children with a man. I’ve even foreseen my soulmate is a beautiful, blue-eye voluptuous woman. This just wouldn’t make me fulfilled to not have the woman of my dreams to share my life and love with in the long run when I do marry in the future.

  3. Every single comment was interesting. I enjoyed everyone’s input and rationale. Even as an extremely attentive and well read gay man, i am truly exhausted at all the “back and forth” banter. Just do what feels good physically and emotionally and to hell with all the labels. I always hated them. I did like the article though and i can relate in a way that would describe my straight friend. Him and i have had sex and he and i both enjoyed it but it was a one time thing, at least for him. We still are very close and in fact, i think that it made us closer. It was a little uncomfortable the next morning and maybe for a few months afterward but things are back to normal and we have actually slept together since but with out any sex and i was happy as well and so was he. 🙂

  4. madison_dave says:

    I’m gay, my best male friend (for the last ten years anyway) is straight. We’re both in our 30s. He didn’t know I was gay when we first got to be friends, but over time he figured it out. It was never an issue between us. For 9 of the last ten years, he was always 100 percent straight around me. We hung out like guy friends do, and everything was cool; there was NEVER any sexual contact between us, even when we were alone and would have had plenty of opportunity.

    Last year, though, out of the blue, he propositioned me for oral sex. I couldn’t believe it. I had always thought he was attractive, and I think he knew that, but it was never mentioned. Anyway, in the last year we’ve had 29 sexual “encounters”. I keep track. I don’t know how or why that started happening, but it’s fine with me…. and him. He keeps it a big secret to his family and roommates. At first, it was just about me doing stuff TO him. No kissing, very little conversation, and we never talked about the sexual stuff we were doing unless we were actually doing it. But he’s really loosened up, and now we cuddle and there is even some mutual touching going on. In the last two months, I’ve spent the night with him twice, which was unheard of at first.

    My take on all this is that he really *is* straight. But he doesn’t have a girlfriend at the moment, and he likes the positive male attention that he gets from me (I can openly tell him “you’re hot, you know that?”, and he laughs but is obviously pleased). Most of all, I think he enjoys the sex part. It really is friends with benefits, with no other pressure. We’re still as good friends as we always were, we just have this “secret activity” on the side, which suits both of us. If he wanted to end it, that’d be okay too, we’d still keep on being friends. He knows that I’ll keep his big “secret”. By the way, I SERIOUSLY doubt that I’m the first.dude he’s ever played with before. I think there is a bit of a past there. But I don’t ask, and he doesn’t tell, and it doesn’t really matter. It just surprises me how things work out. Until he propositioned me that first time, I never would have guessed he was “open minded” like he apparently is.

  5. they’re pansexual. I am too. I’ve always been attracted to both men and women but have never had a serious relationship and not many encounters with women. I’m poly too so if I ever did meet someone I really liked I am free to get to know them but I hardly ever meet any women that understand so that might not be very likely. bisexuals and pansexuals are pretty much on their own even in the LBGT community. some gay people say were just confused or trying to fit in everywhere and say we need to pick a side. bi and poly people get called sluts a lot even by gay people because some people say we just want to sleep with everybody SMH It does increase your likelihood of finding a partner if you are open to attraction to individuals rather than sticking with a narrower pool of prospects but it doesn’t mean that’s our motivation or that we will be any more promiscuous. if anything I feel like I have more options so I can take my time more and focus on a genuine connection. my own pansexual identity is also based in my spiritual beliefs. I believe our souls don’t have a gender and also in reincarnation so I don’t limit myself to what is socially acceptable but focus on individual connections.

  6. This piece highlights the problem we have in our society with labels, and the bisexual label in particular. People — men particularly — seem to fear it.

    I am a woman attracted to men and women in different ways. I identify as ‘bisexual’ even though I recognise it is an umbrella term that can mean different things to different people, simply because how else do I readily convey to others that I am attracted (be it in different ways) to both men and women?

    I am grateful that in Australia, at least, sexologists and medical professionals recognise the problems with these labels and will ask not whether someone is gay/straight/bi but whether they have had sex with a same sex partner. MSM (men who have sex with men) is a common shorthand used because so many straight-identified guys do engage in sex with men, but would tick ‘straight’ over bisexual or gay, which can have serious consequences.

    While I understand the reluctance to identify with the label, it also makes me a little sad. Bisexual isn’t a dirty word. As long as people see it that way, the true fluidity of male and female sexuality will remain invisible.

  7. I think human sexuality is a lot more fluid than most people posting here realize. I’ve always been attracted to women (and had them as partners), and never really acted on an attraction to some men until I had a four year relationship with another guy. It was the most transformational and growthful experience of my life that I would not have traded for anything. Humans crave intimacy. True intimacy scares the begeezums out of most guys, and sex often results in a sense of conquest rather than ‘into me see’. Living out of the comfort zone is often the only way to really learn and grow in life-

  8. Ritch, you spoke about “mostly hetero” as being technically bisexual. What about the straight guy who is exclusively attracted to women, but can still enjoy sex with a man because it just feels good? He’s not looking at the man as someone he’s sexually attracted to, but he just enjoys being fucked, as John put it in the first comment, because it feels good.

    • It is still bisexual maybe not biromantic . But seriously if you can sleep with someone you can form a relationship as well.

      • Supra deluca says:

        Not exactly, at least not all the time.
        Many people will engage in sexual activities with a gender they do not feel attracted to (emotionally, romantically and/or sexually) because they like how it feels, how some things feel or are just into experimentation. if you are not like that, and would never have sex with someone (or a gender) you can’t be emotionally/romantically and sexually (their smell, their genitals, etc.) that can be difficult to comprehend at first. in fact, many people would actually feel grossed out when thinking about having sex with a gender they do not feel attracted to at all. But many people are not attracted to certain sex but are still just neutral about it. Neutral about their smell and sexual organs. They can have sex with no emotional or romantic attraction as well. And so they can engage in it and actually enjoy it very much.
        Many people won’t be able to form a relationship because it lacks the emotinal/romantic aspect – and that is something they believe is crucial in a relationship as well.

  9. I don’t really like this. ”Mostly straight”. Say it with me “Not straight”. But I’ve always held that people are what they say they are. And I would date gay, bisexual, or not-straight but mostly-straight really make it sounds like I’m second choice. I want someone who is into me.

  10. what survey did the writer get this from? does anyone know? just curious.

    • Ritch Savin-Williams says:

      This is not one survey but a summary of over 60 studies that have been conducted that have included “mostly straight” as one of the options for sexual identification or to describing one’s sexual orientation. Again, I can send it to you if you email me (it is in academic jargon). Ritch

  11. Ritch Savin-Willliams says:

    As the lead author of the “Mostly Straight” article I’d like to make several points in regard to readers’ comments.
    First, I totally agree that sexual orientation is on a continuum and to designate particular points along the way is arbitrary, but helpful for some. For others, labels are intolerable or 3 is sufficient. My goal is to move us beyond the straight, bisexual, gay categories and to recognize that there are many variations along the spectrum (I am also fascinated by “mostly gay” men; more on that in my future).
    Second, there are men (mostly young men) who find great relief with having a mostly straight label or definition to describe their sexuality.
    Third, technically mostly straightness is bisexuality in that such individuals have sexual attractions to both sexes.
    Fourth, with Zhana Vrangalova we have published a complete review of the scientific literature on mostly heterosexuality and I am willing to send you a pdf of the article if you email me directly. Be prepared as this is a scholarly review for sex scientists and developmental psychologists and thus is not layman friendly.
    Fifth, I have published (also available as a pdf if you email me) research based on genital arousal and eye dilation/gaze that demonstrates that mostly heterosexuality is not only self-reported by some men but is also detectable through physiological measures beyond conscious control (eye dilation).
    Sixth, the above research concludes that mostly straights are heterosexuals with a small degree of same-sex sexuality (seldom expressed through behavior but more by attraction, fantasy, and infatuation). That is, they do not give up their heterosexuality (they are just as attracted to women as are straight men) but ADD to their sexuality a clear, significant but small degree of same-sex sexuality.

    I hope this clarifies and if I can be of help in these regards, please let me know. Ritch Savin-Williams

  12. Where are the women in this study?

    • Women are already allowed more freedom by this society to explore their sexuality. It doesn’t hurt to focus on the guys!!!

  13. Great article. As a mostly heterosexual male I have had fantasies of being with another man though I am considering acting on it. Interestingly I have 2 other friends that have admitted also to same sex attraction. One of my friends is happily married and has even mentioned to his wife. She was very open minded he told me and they are working through it. Another friend has just had some bad experiences with women and has confided he has been going to some gay bars/clubs to try it out.

    The main thing is we as a society should accept all types of sexual expression. Whether a man is gay or a woman is a lesbian or people are transgendered, they should not be discriminated against or be social outcasts. As our various sexual mores are becoming more liberal in the younger generation it will be much easier for men to be more open about their bisexual tendencies. Thank you for a very informative article.

  14. As a gay male it becomes unbelievably tiresome to listen to all of these different absurd theories and logics that “Heterosexual” men come up with to have sexual relations with other men and still hold up a proud banner of self-labelling themselves as “Heterosexual.” The vast majority of men who identify themselves as being gay, at one point identified themselves as being heterosexual and then bisexual.

    • I find this incredibly dismissive of the varying degrees of sexuality. As a previously completely out, completely gay man who is now with a woman (and still by and large considers himself gay), I’m here to say that allowing wiggle room from your predominant attractions are real on both ends of that spectrum. It’s unfair to make sweeping assumptions that this mindset is some kind of desperate attempt to cling to a “heterosexual” label.

      • Gay men can be very narrow sometimes. The same freedom of sexual expression that you fought for and still continue to fight for for yourself and for other gay men is the same freedom of sexual expression that others also want for themselves. White gay men constantly yap about how unbelievable it is that a previously oppressed minority group (read:black folks) can turn around and become the oppressors yet you yourselves are doing the same. I find biphobic gay men who dismiss bisexuality, asexuality, pansexuality, and other non-normative labels to be especially distasteful!!! Not every man who wants to have sex with or experience romantic feelings with members of the same sex is gay. Get over yourselves gay men!!! Society is NOT as homophobic as it used to be and it is going to continue being even less homophobic as time progresses. Thus, it is high time that gay men get off their high horses and their 1950s mentality and quit flattering themselves that every man who refuses the strictly heterosexual label is somehow secretly gay and just ashamed to come out. “Gay” is NOT the only non- heterosexual identity out there. This refusal to allow men the same freedom and latitude to explore their sexuality without quickly attaching a label to it is part of the reason that male homosexuality is more stigmatized in society, so you as a gay men are not doing yourselves any favor by continuing to insult that all men stay in rigid opposing boxes- gay OR straight.

    • I’m with Jason here. There’s many different ways in which a person’s sexuality can manifest itself. I don’t generally go looking for men to date, but I rarely get as emotionally attached or turned on by the women I meet.

      But, on a day to day basis I don’t ever have these points where I feel like I’m bisexual. I’m in my mid 30s now and it’s not a matter of me lying to myself, that’s just who I am. Some days I’m more straight than other days.

      So, no, it’s not just people looking to rationalize away their desires for a bit of same sex sex, it’s a fundamental question that many people ask. How straight is straight how gay is gay and where do I specifically fit if I’m not clearly in one category or another. And does it really even matter.

  15. It’s a shame that folks are so scared of the term bisexual. I’ve never met two bisexuals who felt exactly the same degrees/types of attractions to different genders – each one has their own unique needs/interests. Bis have recognized for decades the breadth and complexity described in this article.

    So I’m glad to see the issue getting some attention. Come on board the Bi bus, folks; we’ve got cookies!

  16. You know, I’ve been struggling with this problem most of my life and it just feels good knowing there are other “Mostly-straight” guys out there, since I was a kid I’ve always found the idea of having an actual
    “Boyfriend” kind of weird but I have these fantasies of my guy friend and I just cuddling and watching a movie or even cuddle whilst we play video games. I guess I could go as far as saying it’s romantic too but I don’t think I’m ruling out the possibility of a possible sexual relationship with a guy, I mean I’m a virgin, but it just feels awesome knowing that I’m not alone.

  17. Yeah, I did this in college, too – screwed a bunch of girls and guys. But I was in the minority; most guys I knew would only sleep with guys OR girls, and usually they had a specific “type,” too. I never understood them; to me, these were representations of repression, hang-ups.

    At 35, I realized I should make a choice. It’s part of being an adult. I chose guys. I like thinking about women still, but today’s society screws women up royally. They no longer know whether they want to be masculine, feminine, homemakers, career gals, whatever. And it really messes them up. Guys are a lot easier to be with, particularly for someone who is selfish, knows he’s selfish, and enjoys being selfish (like me.)

    But these guys in this article? Just call ’em “bi,” why don’t you? That’s what they’re doing now. They’ll all settle down eventually, some happily “gay,” and the ones who choose women will probably patronize truck stops, public restrooms, and future iterations of Grindr.

    Don’t say “there’s no word for them,” though, because there is, no matter what fairy tale nonsense they want to believe about themselves.

    • Lol… yeah, we all know these guys. they’re the ones who will come out at 40 and start looking for a bf. they’ll divorce their wife (if they’re honest, and fuck around on the side if they’re not) and then we’ll label them “Bi Married Daddy” and have lots of fun with them. It’s been this way for a very long time and it will continue to be this way.

    • Supra deluca says:

      That is actually called female freedom. You know, they can be masculine or feminine (or both), carrer oriented or homemakers (or both). Men also have all of these options. That is true it can be more difficult for women to find their place, as their freedom wasn’t achieved that long ago. But even men who don’t fit into the manly stereotype are many times lost as well. But I guess you date mostly gay guys, so that is something else.

      Most bi married men stay monogamous to their wives. Many “gay” bi guys will cheat a lot with women, or their partners will just accept a kinda open relationship. Some women also do not mind their men with other men, and actually find it a turn on.

  18. This is why I prefer not to lable people by their sexual identity, people are sexual beings who can end up living it out in various ways. I believe however that the heterosexual way is the one in line with natural order and the one to be pursued in the proper manner. I believe in meaning and purpose and that to oppose the designed order is to follow the road to destruction. Opposition can be the result of a personal pursuit or manipulation from outside oneself or both.

  19. This topic bugs me. I had a conversation with a woman a week or so ago who told me she’s no longer attracted to men and only dates “straight” women. I asked her how is she DATING a straight woman. She said after 40 then “things happen.” She also told me she doesn’t confine herself to labels and that’s society’s standards. I told her if I was talking to a man right now I’d be furious because too many women think they’re in exclusive relationships with heterosexual men to only end up part of STD statistics through no fault of their own. Of course there is also the issue of drug transfusions and being born with an illness, but I find it so absolutely offensive and irresponsible for someone to not tell you their sexuality. Let folks know what they’re dealing with BEFORE you date them, not while you’re too confused to figure it out on your own. Eventually the lady I was talking to changed the subject, but that sat with me because no matter how many times I kept saying, “Don’t trip. This is a woman. Not your problem.” I Just kept thinking, “She’s also a mentor. And if she’s also telling guys to not ‘label’ themselves by ‘society’s standards,’ then too many people’s health will be at risk.”

    I do not care if you’re homosexual, heterosexual or bisexual, just cut out the evasive answers. I would be pissed if I dated a guy who refused to narrow down his label. I have literally asked guys I’ve dated from 20 to now, “Have you ever had anal or oral sex with a man?” There is no room for misinterpretation that way.

    • Your comment bugs me. In this day and age I don’t think someone is less careful with protection just because they are gay, or more careful just because they are not. I think rather than the questions being, “Have you ever had anal or oral sex with a man?” it should be “Have you been tested recently?”.

    • libertine says:

      I think labels are also important for meeting the right person! Consider my friend who’s similar to John at the top of the comments. He’s only attracted to women. He doesn’t get a boner from looking at guys. But the thought of bottoming in gay sex excites him more than the thought of straight sex or even straight pegging. It’s a contradictory attraction, one to a person and form, the other to an ACT. More: a true gay/bi bottom would have his own personal taste in men(looks, personality, etc). My friend has no personal criteria. He just wants someone safe and trustworthy to try with. He went through a confusing phase, unsuccessfully asking longtime friends if they’d experiment with him. Then joining online LGBT groups while worrying that whoever he meets might desire a romantic relationship. Ever since I discovered and shared with him the term “heteroflexible”, he’s been on the lookout for “heteroflexible tops”. This is probably closer to what he wants, more likely to be both discreet and purely physical. I guess I’m saying that the more obscure a type u are the more you need to be able to think up a term for it, to help you seek out the right partner.

  20. Mostly hetro men being attracted or even sexual with other men is nothing new. This has been true throughout time. The only thing new is that men are finally comfortable talking openly about their sexuality.

    • Exactly. These guys are Kinsey 1s and 2s. Big whoop. The article presents this as a revolutionary “phenomenon” but this has been going on since the beginning of time and has been scientifically verified for at least 60 years, when Kinsey started publishing his research: Bisexuals are viewed as a 1) homogenous group who 2) have equal attraction to men and women. Neither is statistically accurate. Bisexuality exits on a continuum and most bisexuals prefer their own sex.

      Kinsey 0 – Exclusively hetero
      Kinsey 1 – Mostly hetero, but incidentally homo depending on situation
      Kinsey 2 – Mostly hetero, but actively seeks and partakes in homo
      Kinsey 3 – Equally hetero and homo (the rarest form of bisexuality, statistically)
      Kinsey 4 – Mostly homo, but actively seeks and partakes in hetero
      Kinsey 5 – Mostly homo, but incidentally hetero depending on situation
      Kinsey 6 – Exclusive homo

      And ranked from most common form of sexuality to least common form: 0, 6, 1, 2, 5, 4, 3

      I’m a Kinsey 4, for the record.

      • For many, attraction is not that simple. I am attracted to women, and am occasionally attracted to men romantically and aesthetically, but never sexually. Guy parts gross me out; it’s not for me. And then there are people who never experience sexual attraction, and those who do, but only after they’ve formed a strong relationship with the person. I used to get very stressed trying to figure out what the heck I was, and I yearned to be bisexual, just so that I could come out and let it be done, but now I realize I don’t fit into the LGB and straight boxes constructed by society. While I’ve made the choice to say I don’t identify with any sexual orientation, the aforedescribed ‘mostly straight’ describes me well

  21. i think im mostly a-sexual, most of the time

  22. I wrote a (free!) book on masculinity and same-sex attraction. The main gist is that most men would in fact be attracted to other men, if not for our homophobic culture that prevents such *natural* bonding. For example, in the Roman empire 18 out of 20 of the emperors had boyfriends, that’s 90%!

    It’s available as a free audiobook as well, check it out: http://www.grero.com/

    Let me know what you think, I’ll check back here.

    • Draconian says:

      “For example, in the Roman empire 18 out of 20 of the emperors had boyfriends, that’s 90%!”

      Boyfriends that they had sex with? Or just BFFs?

      • Michael Rowe says:

        Let’s try to remember that the Romans had their own issues around homosexuality, mostly who did the fucking, and how old the fuckee was (as well as his social status.) And they were rarely “BFFs.”

    • Michael Rowe is quite correct. In ancient Rome, what mattered was social status and who was “on top” sexually. A free man or noble man could top anybody lower on the totem pole — women, slave men, boys, girls. But if he was topped by another male, that was considered shameful. And Tiberius used to have his boy toys killed after he used them. Romans were not exactly sexually or emotionally healthy.

  23. s.m. burton says:

    I have to agree with the guy who said he didn’t think they had a name for what he is. Until my late 30s, I was entirely homosexual and had been throughout life. Without going into too much detail, I transitioned over a few months from gay to bi to straight. That process and its aftermath have not been easy to navigate. Lots of friends, both gay and straight, largely fell out of my life, most all of them by their inability to accept “the new me.”

    Sexually, I can now only interact with women. Emotionally, I connect with guys. I fall in lust with women, but in love with men. That make for a complicated kind of existence. Most no person is going to volunteer for a lifetime of doing without either romantic love or sex. Each person wants the full mixture of all the components of what most people mean by love. My quandary is that I have one-half of the pieces for each puzzle, but not all the pieces for either.

    To this day I don’t know what caused my “change.” Whether it was in part, or in whole, psychological, physical (read hormonal) or by other unknown means, I simply have no clue. In the five years since then, I have remained sexually straight and romantically gay. Don’t think they have a name for it or how to navigate to happiness in that part of my life, but have accepted that things are what they are.

    This article makes me glad to know that others out there don’t fit into neat little labels and have some of the same conflicting desires and emotions as I. Thanks for this wonderful piece.

    • Roberto says:

      Would you give more details? Being romantically with a person involves with sex, or only like a platonic love? What are your relationship status and your sexual history after the sexual orientation shift? Hope your life is all right.

    • Sounds like you’re a homoromantic heterosexual! You’re not, by any means, the only cross-orientation or mixed orientation sexual person on the planet. It’s just, most of them aren’t aware that can be a legitimate thing and so can’t put words to it. But it is, indeed, real.

      And I disagree with Roberto. Romantic love is not innately sexual, any more than sex is innately romantic. It’s simply the most popular, mainstream definition to conceptualize romance as sexual and “sexual romance” as something that falls into one box that’s clearly separated from “friendship that’s not romantic or sexual.” In reality, relationships don’t have to be that way, and for some people, they aren’t.

  24. Actually, -there is a group of men that has had an Internet presence for over a decade & understands this innately. They’re called “g0ys” – spelled w. a zer0. G00GLE ’em. They’ll redefine your entire paradigm about masculine affection. G0YS: The UNgay men’s movement.

    • So are they non-jewish as well? Reminds me of a jewish woman I knew as a much younger man… she was wonderful. I lived in her basement for awhile, and she referred to me as her ‘goy toy.’

    • Taurus Hunting says:

      I’ve read what they have to say on their website. They do identify themselves as being “normal men who are able to experience/have an attraction to other men”. However, and this a HUGE however, they do more than separate themselves from allowing there to be an association of themselves with the word “Gay”. They are Homophobic in an extremely unpleasant and very ugly biased way. They are also very judgmental about anyone who is an effeminate male, anyone who is trans-gendered and any male who is openly self-identified as Gay. They are quite closed about what “sexual practices” are acceptable and quite vicious in what they say about these practices that they feel are “so socially unacceptable”. It’s quite an eye-opening read if one can tolerate all the ugly hate it contains.

  25. How about we just stop trying to slap labels on it — I think we used labels just to make other people feel comfortable.

    If we lived in a world where sexual expression didn’t have to be so rigidly defined (and we weren’t still thinking that sex is less natural and more damaging than violence — censorship boards everywhere) many people would do things they hadn’t considered before. Sex, sexuality, gender, they all exist on a spectrum — even though many have adjusted to add gay and bi, it still doesn’t cut it and no label ever will.

    If we look at the animal kingdom there are males having sex with females, males having sex with males, females having sex with females, males having sex with inanimate things 😉 and fish which change sex entirely several times in their lives depending on what is convenient to them.

    We all can learn from the fish.

    • We can also watch our STI and STD rates skyrocket from copying animals. HPV is one of the most common STIs and people are too busy trying to find themselves to figure their own ish out. I’m not humoring this “don’t conform to labels” b.s.

      • There are no hi risk groups, just hi risk activities. If a young man has sex with another male, he is no more likely to acquire a std than he is from any other sexual encounter unless he participates in hi risk activities like bare backing, etc. Promiscuity places an extra burden of responsibility on its practitioners, but any “moral” objection to it is simply cultural conditioning.

        • Taurus Hunting says:

          Well stated , Montague. Careless and indiscriminate promiscuity are not what this discussion about one’s potential “sexual orientation identity” is about.

      • I agree with Montague. Young people don’t have to be naked to explore their romantic and sexual feelings; and heterosexual kids are also at danger from sleeping around during Mardi Gras or Spring Break. Those who have multiple partners should get Gardasil vaccinations to protect themselves from the most dangerous forms of HPV (Human papillomavirus). But please don’t confuse a search for honesty as to one’s orientation, with rutting with random strangers. They aren’t the same thing.

    • Taurus Hunting says:

      I agree with Paula. As I read the article, I kept feeling that there was too much ” ‘thinking’ interfering with their ‘genitals’ “. Sexuality/sensuality and arousal ability/attraction are feelings, not labels, types or subgroups of a larger society. These things can’t be typecast, they are a fluid and ever evolving state of awareness. Sure I identify as a “Gay Man” for convenience sake. I am most often (feeling) attracted to other males who also identify as “Gay Men”. That does not mean exclusively so, nor does it imply anything unusual about those (gay, straight, bi, etc.) who are generally exclusively (or equally) attracted to one or the other. I have had very satisfying emotional/physical relationships with women and occasionally still do have similar attractions to women. I would no more be inclined to describe myself as “mostly Gay” than I would say I was mostly a man. It’s not relevant to what I’m discussing when I speak of my sexual attraction to anyone especially if one brings in the romantic aspects of a relation ship. I believe that we, as humans, are attracted to the person (yes there are “Physical Elements” to that) not the sexual identity.

  26. I’m definetely straight from my childhood, i always attracted to women sexually. But, i realize when having sex with women, you cannot be submissive. They can act dominant, but they using it to just please you, not to please themselves. They always naturally be submissive, means first they want to feel sexy and desired. Thats why so many women reject sex because they are insecure with their bodies, not because they dont find their men sexy. I have sex with men not because i’m attracted to them ( well some guys with handsome face and nice bodies are attractive and sexy, but not even half sexy as average women to me ) , but to feel how it feels to be fucked, by dominant person who really wants you, really lusting for your bodies, really want to fuck your brains out ( and they cant faking when they cum ) . And it feels really amazing, emotionally. Its like different level compared to fucking a women. I dont think women can reach a level of sexual hunger like men can. My fantasy is including gangraped by guys in prison lol. So I’m mostly straight, but sometimes i want to have sex with men, just because i want to be submissive.

    • John: “They can act dominant, but…just to please you, not to please themselves”

      Um…just to clea this up – you can’t say this about all women. Some women prefer to be submissive, justas there are women who prefer to be dominant (see the rise and rise of pegging)!

      • Supra deluca says:

        Women don’t have to peg anyone to be dominant. Not at all. In fact, a women can be playing a passive or submissive role when penetrating someone else as well.
        Most people prefer to act active (someone who is “in control” of the movements and the next step) and passive (someone who just leaves the next step to the other part and just lays there while the other part penetrates them or embraces their penis with their vagina/anus, etc.), reversing roles from time to time in the same sex sessions. Most people are actually not into BDSM or domination/submission role play; they can experiment or add it to their sex lives from time to time, but that is mostly not a consistent part of most people’s sexual lives.

    • JaneMarch33 says:

      Your quote “I don’t think women can reach a level of sexual hunger that men can” . You obviously have never met me. Talk to some of my former male partners and they will set you “straight” so to speak!

    • Um… no. I’ve had some pretty damned aggressive partners. They were certainly more fun than the submissive ones, if only because I could tell they were in to it.

    • Supra deluca says:

      ” They always naturally be submissive, means first they want to feel sexy and desired.”

      Eh. That does not mean being submissive at all. Wanting to feel sexy and desired is just that, a want.
      Submissiveness and dominance are just role play. Like in BDSM, when one is “in control” (dominant) and the oner is “under control” (submissive). They are not really dominant or submissive IN REALITY, though, as that is actually in consent.
      Maybe you meant passivity, as in, you like to stand there in a passive way while having someone active to do things to you. That does not mean dominance or submission as well, at least not literally. We can play with words and our minds, though. 🙂

      Wanting to feel sexy and desired is just a desire/want, not submission. Wanting and desiring is not dominance. Penetrating is not domination, being penetrated is not submission. Embracing a penis with your vagina or anus is not dominance or submission, having your penis embraced by a vagina or anus is not submission or dominance. But you can totally play an active or passive or flexible role while doing all that. And obviously you can play with dominance/submissions concepts while at it.

    • Can totally relate with this John. Thanks for posting this! I loved girls very young in childhood and enjoy nothing more than being the man and leading a woman into her most orgasmic and bliss. This is is just beyond words how much I love being the man.

      But I’ve gotten of of being fucked by black men and being submissive. But it is always sexual and just not the same as I feel about women. Thanks again for the post I can relate with!

  27. Eddie from NYC says:

    Great article. I used to be Bisexual but wound up being gay as the years progressed. As the years went by my attraction for men grew and prefer to be with a man, be it Heteroflexible, Bisexual or Homosexual.

  28. “Straight but not narrow”: Ritch and Kenneth, I’ve used that to describe myself, meaning “Heterosexual but not narrow-minded” (by the latter meaning “not homophobic”) — not “mostly straight,” not the least bit “bi,” just never felt threatened by others’ sexuality, whatever it was.

    Really, the people *I* worry about are those (often -phobics) who would regulate others’ lives to impose their own beliefs. *Them* I find threatening, but I think that’s an objective assessment.

  29. I’m still not convinced. I think this guy wants the freedom to play around with other guys on the side, while still enjoying the many privileges and advantages that come from classifying himself as heterosexual, and from having this classification accepted by others. I met guys like this at university. They were disingenuous hypocrites. I didn’t like or respect them. Most likely the women with whom they were involved were in for a rude awakening at some point!

    • Human sexuality is a dynamic and complicated thing. We have created what are perhaps artificial boxes with terms like heterosexual and homosexual and then forced people to fit into them. We make allowances for those who exist outside those two poles: bisexual, omnisexual, polysexual. But still, our society requires that people take a label. The problem is those labels don’t always fit everyone. So as these labels become more well defined, more people become aware of the limitations of these labels, and recognize that they can exist outside them.

  30. whatever says:

    I think everyone who has taken to this article telling Dillon what he is should take a step back and realise that it really doesn’t matter what opinions and boxes they have in their own mind. What matters is how Dillon identifies himself. People creating their own definitions of what people are usually judge this from their own personal experience and so have no place to judge what another person feels from their own experiences. Step back and wake up to yourselves

  31. Interesting article & posts here. From my perspective I had come to consider myself “bisexual” whatever that in fact might mean. I have had same sex attraction all my life, among my earliest memories of life. I did a decent job of repressing that, no a fantastic job of repressing that until I ended up marrying a woman, living with her for 26 years and fathering five children. My marriage fell apart for a variety of reasons this last year, NOT because I wanted to go out and find a man/get involved with men, but because my wife has never been good with my attraction to men, despite my never ever acting on that & my physical and emotional attraction to her. She seemed to take it personally that this attraction was part of me, something that no one, no matter what could change. I was willing to live with the situation and continue to raise our kids and have a family, my wife was not. I’ve been in counseling for nearly a year & attending a men’s group. She has done nothing except to kick me out of my house, and subsequently have an affair with her first cousin. OK maybe this is TMI…sorry about that. My point though, is that my very busy life in engaging with other men so far during online dating has led me to feel like I am getting to the heart of who I am. I feel much more “manly” than I ever did as “man of my family.” Much has to do with the personality of my wife and our relationship. But I think this article and these comments start an important discussion. Society in some ways offers us this straitjacket of some stereotyped ways of living that perhaps have not been a good fit for many people for a very long time. It is good to keep search for who we are, what we are. I don’t view myself as a gay man as I’m not sure what that even means. My best friend for the past 35 years is gay and he never ever suspected I was gay, if that’s what I even am. I guess I, like us all am mainly a work in progress. If you are married to a woman, let her be a work in progress too. Men see themselves reflected in their wives much more than women do. When me get disapproval, they are easily shattered and misunderstanding results. We all need to turn the mirror on ourselves, see who we truly are and then the joys of loving relationships will be strengthened and stand the test of time. I wish everyone well, much love, success and happiness. We’re all beautiful on the inside and out and just need to find ways to remember that each day of our lives.

  32. Everyone talks of the phenomenon of “heteroflexibility” as something brand new and limited to young men and women. Well, it just isn’t so. I’m 55 years old and I have been this way all of my like. I have never sought a romantic relationship with a man, but I have had sex with men on occasion all my life. What men? Others who are just like me; not gay, not bi, but straight without hang-ups. I do not care for gay men and bisexuals seem confused to me. Almost every close make friend I have ever had has stated that he would like to try sex with another man. Some acted on it, while others admitted that they were to scared to do so.

    To be honest, I believe that herteroflexible is the base human sexuality. It is homosexuality, bisexuality and heterosexuality that are artifice. They’re just meaningless labels really. I think that both 100% straight and 100% gay people are unbalanced and in denial of their true natures. It gets me in a lot of trouble to say that I know that gay people are not born that way, but suffer from psycho-sexual maladjustment. But I think that 100% straight people, who insist that it is impossible for them to ever enjoy a same-sex encounter are equally maladjusted.

    • Real your comments seem to be putting down other people. If you identify as a certain label, do not do so by saying others do not exist. The aim here is to let people feel comfortable with who and what they are, not put them down because you do not relate to their situation. Let’s not try to solve aand educate people then you mess it all up.

      • To Tyler: I agree with you about ‘Real’s remark. People may categorize and understand themselves as they will, but they shouldn’t slam and smack down other groups, who have different experiences, other goals.

  33. If the guy is happy and healthy, what does the label matter?
    The only people who need to know are certain ones those men interact with and I am sure he can explain it clearer than some classification because it is deeper than that.
    And if one looks at history and even other cultures around the world, sexual ranges are quite common and less frowned upon than they are in many places in the U.S.
    To plaigarize the hippies, if more people were busy interacting with passion and love towards one another freely, there would be less malevolence going on.
    Better these guys be comfortable with self than end up married and having to hide their openness towards being involved with other men.

  34. Could you please cite the surveys you were discussing – and, if possible, add hyperlinks so we can review these surveys for ourselves?

    thanks!

  35. We’re shaking off all those false notions about “what a man is” and just acknowledging that we are sexual. It’s a lot more honest and perhaps freeing than the rigidity of living as a stereotype.

  36. I love this post – for many reasons.

    It’s interesting to me how much of the comments I read were in regards to labeling our sexuality – or the avoidance of labeling. Personally? I think some people need labels – and some people have very clear sexual boundaries that are easily defined by a label. I think, for those people, we should still allow labels. But, for some of us, we’re open and flexible, and definitions have had significant negative impacts on us, we prefer to avoid them.

    In addition, in this day and age when things ARE changing, forcing someone to label themselves may actually constrain them and keep them from exploring. The underlying reasons are because they still want to define someone else as the “other” and not be in that group – e.g. not define at bi because they don’t want people thinking they have sex with men, due to the stigmas around that. While this motivation bums me out, I’m ok with it as a way to move forward. As more people explore and come out to talk about it, the more we break down stigmas. Maybe, once we do that, labels won’t be so negative, but will revert back to what they fundamentally should be: simply a way for us to learn to navigate among our fellow human beings, to understand who they are and what they want from life.

  37. Mervyn Kaufman says:

    Reading this informative and beautifully structured article brought back to mind a memory that dates from college. This kid Ben—son of friends of my folks’—was bright enough to get a scholarship to Stanford, years ago. Unexpectedly, he quit after freshman year, even though his grades were terrific. When we met, at some point during one of our school vacations that year, I thought he didn’t look well. He’d lost weight and seemed almost catatonic. Later, I learned that he ultimately had what—at that time—was called a “nervous breakdown.” He never returned to school—not Stanford or any other college. Years later, over drinks, he casually mentioned that during his first semester of freshman year he’d had a sexual encounter with a man, someone who lived in his dorm. The experience shattered his confidence and, obviously, gave him some reason to experience guilt and a heaping measure of self-loathing. We lost contact, though over the years I’d hear something now and then. I don’t think he ever married or achieved anything that could rebuild self-esteem. The fact that young males feel free to experiment today—if that’s what it is—and explore multiple realms of sexual gratification suggests that sexual orientation is not always finite or easily defined. I remember my dad talking about his boyhood friend and how they’d sleep in the same bed when one visited the other. The friend died young; my dad never quite got over the loss and never wanted to discuss that relationship. Today, I think “coming out” means whatever men want it to mean. It may be confusing—more to some men than to women, perhaps—but it does connote inherent honesty, suggesting that in many corners of our sexual universe it’s not essential or expected to be 100% anything.

  38. Anonymous_Lunatic says:

    We are what we are so far as sexuality goes. If that’s not good enough for someone else, well, that’s their problem.

  39. MsAttitude says:

    This was so beautiful. I absolutely adored reading this. <3 Thank you.

  40. I’m not sure I care for yet another sexual label, especially one that has so many definitions. The meaning of the word is all over the place. I’m 54 year of age and I have had sex with men many times in my life. I am not bisexual; bisexuals can romantically love another man. I can’t. There are many, many men like me, who can have close, sexual friendships with but are not capable of loving and partnering with another man. We are straight. This is really what is meant by “heteroflexible.” We scare the hell out of gays, because we are living proof that no one is “born gay.” We show that human sexuality has great capacity and flexibility and that sexuality can be expressed without the need for a lifestyle or a community.

    • Actually, sexual orientation and romantic orientation are separate things. So if you are attracted to men and women, you are bisexual – regardless of your romantic feelings. You’re just not biromantic. There are a lot of people who are bisexual but either heteroromantic or homoromantic (or vice versa, for that matter).

  41. Dillon might very well find that the rem that best describes him is g0y. Google it G0ys is spelled with a zero g-zero-y. Also google Kinsey Institute. Most “straight” men who experience same gender attraction will also shy away from the term Bi because of the fear of the gay label and the association with practices and fetishes found in the gay sub-culture.

    • I just checked out the main g0ys website, and it’s rather offensive imho. They are extremely opposed to anal sex (male-male or male-female) and it altogether feels like a violent movement. I wouldn’t want to identify with that label.

  42. I see these guys as simply moving beyond today’s disordered sexual politics on an intellectual, emotional and spiritual level. Modern men are commonly expected to be in a continuous state of competition, one-upmanship, a kind of fearful defensiveness around each other. Dillon and others like him are questioning this interpretation of maleness, are saying “No” to what is a distorted equation, and finding ways to form intimate bonds with other men. Historically, it’s called, uh, “Friendship” — something widely understood to be seriously lacking in the lives of adult heterosexual males. Maybe intimate male friendship looks a little different than intimate female friendship. Maybe it’s more sexual and/or romantic for some men than it is for others. So what? It’s all good. And we need it now more than ever.

    • Great post Jay. I agree.

      I think there is another issue we’re uncovering here. That is that ultimately, humans with no physical attraction to each other can still have sex. An emotional attraction can still develop that leads to intimacy. These men in the article are not queer. They are what normal heterosexuals look like when you remove the body issues and the homophobia.

      At the end of the day, every straight man sees a man when he looks in the mirror, and it’s not like he’s immediately repulsed. There’s nothing there he should have to be afraid of. Our problem is that as a society, we force people into exclusive labels like ‘gay’ or ‘straight’, when really nobody is exclusive.

      Am I saying that everyone is bisexual? Yes, as far as this emotional/intellectual component of sexuality is concerned, pretty much. We could all say we’re bi-leaning straight, bi, and bi-leaning gay but then that would be everybody (excepting asexuals of course) and it would dilute the bisexual label too much. I think we could shift the terms as our culture advances such that ‘bisexual’ is understood to mean “wanting relationships with both sexes throughout one’s life” and that someone who is straight is perfectly free to pursue incidental same-sex relationships, no stigma, no strings attached, for when that emotional attraction develops.

      • Thanks for responding to my comment, Nick! I’ve always felt that one of the sexual revolution’s biggest mistakes was to convert sexual feeling into the hard and impervious shell of “identity”. I am reminded of Hester Prynne in “The Scarlet Letter.” Is “Adultress” an identity? Turning Prynne’s sexual act into an “identity” was really a form of punishment, a public humiliation, a way of psychologically stripping away privacy, inhibiting intimacy and personal choice, a strategy which can be linked back to the Puritan ethos in which private, intimate behavior was interpreted as a kind of crime.

        Just Say No to Sexual Identity!

        • It seems like the way forward out of the crisis of masculinity is into the territory of flexible sexuality. Since the popularization of ideas about sexual orientation and identity with the writings of Freud, homosocial space has been charged. Where previously, gay desire or gay sex was kept out of sight, allowing men to behave among one another as if desire is not a possibility between them, this pretense at ignorance has been challenged. Before, men felt safe in men-only spaces because of the taboo against homosexual sex. They were free of the social pressures that come with being seen by others with sexual desire. The possibility of non-sexual, homosocial intimacy could only be embraced when it excluded the intimacy of sex. In the military, “Don’t ask, don’t tell” enforces that taboo. We’ve kept the rule for the comfort of the many men who would be unable to form close bonds with other men if they felt that the social covenant against in-group sexuality wasn’t going to be upheld by all the members. Most men don’t live or work in men-only spaces. In fact, many of us have thrown that rule away and found a new comfort level. Straight-identified, or mostly-hetero men no longer necessarily feel that fear. We’re socially adjusted to the same kinds of mixed groups that we went to school with, in which people can form non-sexual, intimate bonds for work, worship, sport, and other team efforts. That both women and men, of all sexual orientations, have been doing this in more arenas, proves to others that it’s possible and desirable to work with people who might desire you, or you them. Being able to get over that fear of sex invading the workplace allows more freedom of participation in previously all-straight-male enclaves to people who aren’t straight-appearing men, as well as to the men who would have passed before, but are more comfortable not having to maintain that image.

  43. Great article! I’m in pretty much the same position as Dillon and it’s nice to know there are others out there. I had been struggling with my sexuality for a long time, until I finally realized that maybe I’m still heterosexual, I just have that romantic attraction to either gender. There are times when I really crave that connection and affection from another man. Maybe one day I’ll have the “partnership” that he mentions.

  44. Thank you so much for this article. It’s brilliant.

    I’ve written a response on my Tumblr: http://outlawroad.tumblr.com/post/7364873667/the-good-men-project-21st-century-masculinity-mostly

  45. I’m confused. Whey don’t they identify as bi, I understand why they don’t consider themselves to be straight or gay but why not bi, it’s never explained? As a bi person I have faced my share of biphobia from both the straight and queer communities, to queer for one, not queer enough for the other. Bisexuality does not mean you have to have both at all times and it doesn’t mean that you are necessarily equally attracted to both men and women, it simply means that you have the capacity to be attracted to both men and women. From what I can tell this is a fairly apt description of these men’s feelings. So I have to wonder, why reject a term that describes you quite well in favour of one that emphasized heterosexuality. It is not for me to tell someone how to identify but I can’t help but wonder, what’s so wrong with being bi?

    • Kristin,

      I think perhaps the major difference between a male who would identify as bi and someone who would claim to be predominantly heterosexual is that “most interviewees drew the line at actual male-male intercourse”. Not sure if this is splitting hairs or not; it certainly seems an important factor at any rate.

      I also really enjoyed your point about biphobia – “to queer for one, not queer enough for the other” – I think that sums the situation up perfectly.

      • John Wheaties says:

        The problem with Gerry’s definition is I’ve heard from my gay friends that a substantial number of gay men don’t engage in male-male intercourse either, so we’re back to square one. Moreover, plenty of bi men do engage in male-male intercourse. Dillon seems to be bi – he also seems to want to think he’s special, the pioneer of a new group. Or simply uncomfortable with being identified as bi for some reason. He’s young, he’ll get over it.

        • I think a lot of people who continue to not say bi is the reason why confusion is the norm. Is it fear based. I think it is… thought I think you can say what you are to the community when it comes to education, bi is the term we need to use for understanding and removal of biphobia. It’s that simple

          • I agree.

          • Hi Bi Social Network

            There is nothing wrong with being bi or any sexuality. The problem is, that “bi” covers a gargantuan spectrum of sexual/romantic preferences, and a vast amount of differing shades of grey. My shade of grey is far different to someone who is exclusively bi sexual. But the simple fact we are both still grey, you can fit us into the same enormous, colossal box, even though we are worlds apart from each other in reality, yet many exclusive bi-sexuals are trying to do this which is unfair. Just as gays and straights attack the people in-between, many exclusively ‘in-between’ people attack the people who are in-between the ‘in-between’ and ‘straight’, or in-between the ‘in-between’, and ‘gay’. People don’t simply choose not to identify for the sake of splitting hairs. They do so because there are a vast range of hugely significant differences between them and someone who is ‘exclusively’ or ‘predominantly bi-sexual’.

            Homophobia, biphobia and transphobia aren’t the only phobias out there. The Kinsey scale says I’m hetro-flexible, and I’m sure there are many people with a phobia against that (even if there’s not a fancy name for it yet). Moreover, hetro-flexibles also experience bi phobia (and homophobia) anyway, because many people automatically assume we are bi/homosexual even if some of us aren’t even attracted to the opposite sex, but just want to experiment with same sex genitalia etc. There’s nothing wrong with being bi-sexual, but I don’t consider myself in the same category as someone who could get romantically, and intimately involved with someone of the same sex. I’m only attracted to the opposite sex, but like to fantasize/experiment with same sex genitalia once in a very blue moon. I’ve had 2 drunken fumbles in my life, and I’m in my late 30s. Nevertheless, many straight people would say I’m bi or gay. Many gay people would say I’m gay and don’t realise it, or bi. And many bi people (and gay people for that matter) seem to want to bring people like me into their battles, to help their cause, and say ‘you’re one of us, whether you like it or not’. I’ll still help you, and help you fight your battles, but not in the way you expect me to. Don’t put me in a category that’s far to vague, where most people assume things about me that aren’t even true (even if there’s nothing wrong with what they assume). There needs to be more education about sexuality, and more people coming forward (anonymously is fine), so there can be more than 3 boxes (the Kinsey scale is the best theory I’ve came across so far). Eventually, once people accept there are more than 3 types of sexuality, people will end up caring much less, and become more accepting of people. Hopefully there will be a time when we won’t need to place as much emphasis on what category someone fits into. The same goes for racism, or any other type of prejudice. Mixed race is the most ridiculous category ever, as we’re all mixed race. I know someone who is caucasian, but when he has a tan he’s darker than an Indian. People are people, and category boxes create problems/conflict. To put someone in a box just because they bare some correlation to the criteria you see relevant is disrespectful. People should be able to identify exactly how they want. Then, people will realise how unique we all really are, and appreciate the similarities/differences we have between each person. NOT each group!

          • Hi Bi Social Network

            There is nothing wrong with being bi or any sexuality. The problem is, that “bi” covers a gargantuan spectrum of sexual/romantic preferences, and a vast amount of differing shades of grey. My shade of grey is far different to someone who is exclusively bi sexual. But the simple fact we are both still grey, you can fit us into the same enormous, colossal box, even though we are worlds apart from each other in reality, yet many exclusive bi-sexuals are trying to do this which is unfair. Just as gays and straights attack the people in-between, many exclusively ‘in-between’ people attack the people who are in-between the ‘in-between’ and ‘straight’, or in-between the ‘in-between’, and ‘gay’. People don’t simply choose not to identify for the sake of splitting hairs. They do so because there are a vast range of hugely significant differences between them and someone who is ‘exclusively’ or ‘predominantly bi-sexual’.

            Homophobia, biphobia and transphobia aren’t the only phobias out there. The Kinsey scale says I’m hetro-flexible, and I’m sure there are many people with a phobia against that (even if there’s not a fancy name for it yet). Moreover, hetro-flexibles also experience bi phobia (and homophobia) anyway, because many people automatically assume we are bi/homosexual even if some of us aren’t even attracted to the same sex, but just want to experiment with same sex genitalia etc. There’s nothing wrong with being bi-sexual, but I don’t consider myself in the same category as someone who could get romantically, and intimately involved with someone of the same sex. I’m only attracted to the opposite sex, but like to fantasize/experiment with same sex genitalia once in a very blue moon. I’ve had 2 drunken fumbles in my life, and I’m in my late 30s. Nevertheless, many straight people would say I’m bi or gay. Many gay people would say I’m gay and don’t realise it, or bi. And many bi people (and gay people for that matter) seem to want to bring people like me into their battles, to help their cause, and say ‘you’re one of us, whether you like it or not’. I’ll still help you, and help you fight your battles, but not in the way you expect me to. Don’t put me in a category that’s far to vague, where most people assume things about me that aren’t even true (even if there’s nothing wrong with what they assume). There needs to be more education about sexuality, and more people coming forward (anonymously is fine), so there can be more than 3 boxes (the Kinsey scale is the best theory I’ve came across so far). Eventually, once people accept there are more than 3 types of sexuality, people will end up caring much less, and become more accepting of people. Hopefully there will be a time when we won’t need to place as much emphasis on what category someone fits into. The same goes for racism, or any other type of prejudice. Mixed race is the most ridiculous category ever, as we’re all mixed race. I know someone who is caucasian, but when he has a tan he’s darker than an Indian. People are people, and category boxes create problems/conflict. To put someone in a box just because they bare some correlation to the criteria you see relevant is disrespectful. People should be able to identify exactly how they want. Then, people will realise how unique we all really are, and appreciate the similarities/differences we have between each person. NOT each group!

    • Bisexual means you have an equal attraction to both men and women. Heteroflexible men are predominantly straight.

      kinsey’s heterosexual – homosexual rating scale
      http://www.iub.edu/~kinsey/resources/ak-hhscale.html

      • Actually, bisexual just means you are attracted to men and women. It’s not a matter of degrees, and anyone who isn’t a 0 or 6 on the Kinsey Scale (or an X, for asexual) is technically bisexual. Of course, people who lean strongly one way or the other may prefer to identify as straight or gay. But you don’t have to be 50/50 to be bisexual – in fact, most bisexuals are probably not 50/50. And others will fluctuate throughout their lives. I’ve found myself leaning toward men and toward women at different points of my life.

        I mean, just think about it. What if you do lean toward either heterosexuality or homosexuality, but not strongly enough that you’re going to rule out dating or having sex with your non-preferred gender? It would be really confusing to use straight or gay. The obvious term that fits is bisexual.

        • No Rose, the best terms to use would be ‘hetro-flexible’, or ‘homo-flexible’, because they are far more accurate descriptions, and are more respectful to someone’s particular personal orientation. If you like, say that they are in a sub-category of bi-sexuality. But to simply, and lazily, just throw them all into such a gigantic category, and not let them give a more accurate description of their own personal orientations is down-right insensitive and disrespectful. ‘Bisexual’ is far too vague a description, that can lead to many inaccurate assumptions about a person’s orientation, when there are a vast amount of possibilities (within such a huge, unwisely considered/accepted orientation category). Unless the person identifies as ‘exclusively’ or ‘predominantly bi’, they should be referred to as what most accurately describes their orientation, rather than simply ‘bisexual’.

          Furthermore, what about people who aren’t even attracted to the same sex, but have a mess around with same-sex genitalia now and then, if their husband/wife asks them to for his/her benefit? What if some people do it for the kink factor? Kink often includes, anything what you would certainly not normally/naturally desire, or think of doing. Things that you’ve opened your mind too, such as pain, the sex you aren’t attracted to (e.g. a homosexual trying straight sex) different age groups, body types you aren’t normally attracted to (fat/skinny fetish fixes), metal, whips, humiliation, piss, shit, whatever. ‘Bisexual’ is far too vague a term to apply to anyone who has had encounters with the same sex, in these kind of circumstances. The term covers far too wide a spectrum of sexual orientation preferences. It’s like saying people from California should only say they’re from the USA when asked where they’re from, regardless of the different cultures, climates, accents, scenery, lifestyles etc that differentiate between them and people from other parts of the USA.

          Another thing is, some people think that once you’ve had same-sex encounters, you’re bi, even if you never do again. Some people just experiment, so get over it. Just because a person has had certain experiences, doesn’t necessarily mean that’s ‘what they are’ (whether it was experimental or serious). I’ve played football, and I would maybe play it again sometime, but I’m certainly not a footballer.

          Also, I think I’m one of the rare people who believe that a person’s sexuality can change during their life (without them being confused). You said you fluctuated a lot within bi-sexuality, which means someone else can, to a more extreme degree.

          Sexuality is very particular and subjective. Many people who are thrown into the ‘bi’ category, are worlds apart from each other. The accepted, out-dated theory of what ‘bi-sexual’ actually means, needs to be revised, and updated. Simply, it should mean you’re sexually attracted to both sexes, in the way that you are definitely NOT predominantly straight or predominantly gay. You should be ‘consistently active’ with, or ‘consistently attracted’ to both sexes, even if you are more active with/attracted to one more than the other. But for someone who has sex, and is attracted to only/mainly one sex nearly all the time, but happens to go to a swingers party one night (or every now and then), and has a dabble with the other sex, they should either be called hetro-flexible, or homo-flexible. Even the term ‘bi -curious’ is too vague. I would have been happy to identify as bi curious, if it meant that you’ve experimented with the same sex, but aren’t sexually attracted to them. But apparently you can also be bi-curious, be sexually attracted to the same sex, and be up for intimacy such as kissing. I’m not that person, therefore I don’t want to be in that category, as it isn’t an accurate enough description of what I am (even though I have no problem with what other people do). Whenever a description is too vague, there comes confusion, off-the-map assumptions, followed by annoyance, then anger when someone accuses someone of denying their sexuality (even though they have the right to anyway, but that’s a separate issue). This is when you know the description isn’t working, because it clearly has flaws. At the moment, ‘bisexuality’ is a category that lumps far too many people together, has many, many shades of grey, and is therefore likely to be an unreliable description of one’s sexual orientation. The main lot of people that are going to feel comfortable being labeled as ‘bi sexual’, are obviously going to be predominantly, and exclusively bi-sexual people. That’s fine for them, good for them. However, what is wrong, is for those same people to then expect other people who don’t feel as comfortable, also to be labelled ‘bi’, who actually happen to either be mostly gay, or mostly straight. Why would someone who is predominantly gay/straight want the same ‘bisexual’ label as someone who is predominantly or exclusively bisexual. Exactly! They’re clearly very different in a much bigger way than they are similar, however the ‘bisexual’ label suggests otherwise, and is therefore very misleading.

          Instead of looking at things in a 3 circled venn diagram kind of way (that’s full of blurry crossover points), it is clearer and more effective to lay the facts out in scale form. The Kinsey scale is probably the most effective, accurate and straight forward to date. There is far less chance of confusion, and grey areas. It’s time to ditch the old concept of categorizing a subject so complex into something as restrictive as 3 defined groups (or 4 including A-sexuality). There are many different sexuality types (and many different A-sexuality types for that matter) that aren’t yet being acknowledged or taken seriously, which is wrong. To name a couple; pan-sexuality, and mono-sexuality, Furthermore, don’t even get me started on gender types, tv and ts issues, and the groups that some of them wrongly get thrown into, mixed with the usual issues that I’ve just discussed.

      • “Bisexual means you have an equal attraction to both men and women.”

        This is not in accord with the experience of most self-described bisexuals (including me), and not supported by Kinsey. In fact, he pioneered a better understanding of bisexuality by putting sexual behavior on a continuum. He could have created three points: homosexual, bisexual, heterosexual, but he didn’t.

        Fritz Klein did more research into bisexuality and had a much more nuanced set of continua, reflecting the fact that sexual orientation has many components: behavior, fantasy life, social life, etc.

        • it seems to be a question of nomenclature. “Bisexual” has precedent as our term for the varying degrees of attraction including both genders. It MUST be understood that this means the continuum you so accurately describe. Like Asberger’s (if you will), it is a gray scale of very varied experiences. I do not think we rely on what people call themselves when speaking clinically or politically… however, I welcome that practice for social settings and self identification.

          • I mean to say “Autism” rather than “Asberger’s”.

          • I’ve been a drag activist for 16 years and and a gender player / performer of varying modes for about 27. When I put on dresses for the first time, stepping from Angrogenous into femme, I was met with all manner of “Straight” boys popping out of the woodwork, eyes all aglow and laser beamed in my direction. I was surprised by the number, and by the fact that they were often boys with whom I had previously flirted unsuccessfully as an androgen.

            Since that time, sailing across oceans of experiences populated by schools of varying sexualities, I observe this: America is biphobic. (speaking generally). It’s nto a hatred, no vilence, no bullying. It is worse, the obliteration with smiling indifference, ignorance. No one talks about bisexuality in the play of what goes on in our society, yet it is right there like the nose on our faces.

            Examples:
            The Ex-Gay atrocity. Couldn’t those claiming to have successfully converted from totally gay to totally straight actually have been Bi all along? They just turned off one faucet and on the other for themselves… the point is , they HAVE both faucets, on or off. (The rest of that story involves the same repressions found in closets)

            Ditto Gay men who marry women, father children and live happily ever after… really! I know 3. they really are happy and living as straight. I think these must be, at least technically, considered part of a newly understood “BI-SPECTRUM” (copywrite, 2011, Bennett Schneider!!!)

            And to my Bi-spectrum bothers and sisters I say, “WELCOME!” You are vitally i9mportant, for you teach us to open our minds and hearts and to think without limits and to welcome love in all people.

    • From somebody who is also “Bi” (Or pansexual, or something else, I really don’t like the strict labels), I will never call myself bisexual. I’m female, and I am attracted both sexually and romantically to both genders, primarilly women. I’ve found over the years that biphobia (great term, by the way) is worse than homophobia in many cases. At one point, I called myself bi, but encountered so much hate from both sides that it had a very strong negative influence on me. So I dropped the label – but that wasn’t the only reason. I also found several times that I would speak to, say, a woman, find out that she was “bi”, and try to pursue her – only for her to inform me that she was actually barsexual, or she just experimented with one friend once in college and took up the label. Or, she had one crush on a woman five years ago so she must tell people she was bisexual instead of straight, because once she labelled herself as straight, she felt she’d never have another chance with a woman.
      I personally refer to myself as queer.
      If somebody asks me to explain it in detail, I will. But most people who are not homophobic will understand that queer is not “lesbian”, but just queer – a little strange, and not fitting into any category directly.

      • Interesting Harley. The only problem with the word ‘queer’ is that there are so many inaccurate, derogatory connotations attached to it, and I know that there are many ignorant men out there who still use it to describe a closet bi or gay (who they think of as sneaky), or someone who secretly cheats on their wife with men. Hetroflexible is the closest description I’ve came across for ‘what I am’, or maybe ‘pan sexual’, however I’d rather just think of myself as ‘me’. Someone who is simply ‘sexual’.

    • As someone who falls in a similar category, I thought the same thing. Why not just be classified as bi? Consider being classified in politics as liberal, moderate, or conservative. While it would not be incorrect to classify people as gay, bi, or straight, this allows for a bit more definition.

      There is a spectrum of sexual preference, The more specific, the more terms/classifications we need.

      • Because “bi” is typically seen as short for “bisexual”. After a fair amount of reflection, I’ve come to the conclusion that while I’m physically attracted to both males and females, it’s only the females I want to have sex with. Hence I enjoy cuddling and dancing with guys, but I’m not romantically or sexually interested in them.

        What “bi” does is it makes it sound like your attraction to both sexes is approximately equal, which in my case is so far from the truth that it’s more accurate to call myself straight. And yet… I have desires that aren’t considered appropriate within normative heterosexuality, so I can’t, quite. Hence “mostly-straight”, or sometimes “heterosexual but biphysical” although nobody really understands that.

    • I think the term bisexual is limiting and as simplistic as heterosexual and homosexual. categories of sexual orientation are fabrications of Modernity. I identify as “mostly gay,” and face superficial responses of bewilderment from people stuck in a simplified sexual orientation paradigm. The recent article in the NYTimes about homophobia resulting from feelings of any amount of same sex attraction repressed by authoritarian parenting relates to this subject. the “mostly straights” have not had the fear of god put into them about their attractions to other men.

      • I think it is just a cop out. Obviously there are 2 sexes and you are either “straight” meaning prefer male-femaile sex, “bi” enjoying both male & female sex, or “gay” preferrring same sex sex. There is no “mostly straight” That is ridiciulous. The moment you have oral sex, anal sex, a handjob or whatever with the same sex you are either gay or bi. This “mostly straight” crap is just gay and bi phobia thiinly veiled as not wanting to be limited. Yes, there are degrees of straightness, gayness or bi-ness, but that doesnt change what you are. There is NO “Mostly Straight” in my book and anyone who describes themself as such is a hater…ie they hate themselves.

    • Hi Kristin.

      There’s nothing wrong with being bi, and I was ready to (uncomfortably) accept I was bi or bi curious. However, many bi men say that you must be attracted to men to identify as bi. I’m not attracted to men in the slightest, and only a nice looking girl would attract my attention when I’m walking through town, or give me a stiffy from simply seeing her. The thing is, with men……I like cocks. I don’t know why. I just do. I’ve experimented with anal, because I wanted the closest taste possible of what women get to see what it is like. I also wanted to check if the g-spot thing is true (no success yet lol), and it feels like a naughty turn-on because it is something forbidden by the majority of society. This didn’t come natural to me, i gradually became more and more open minded. I started watching porn at an early age, and at first, I used to envy the men for the treatment they were getting from the pretty ladies. However, after years of watching it, I started realizing that the women usually seem to be having a much better time than the men.

      If a man has a good body, I’m not attracted to it. Maybe i’ll wish mine was like that, but i don’t desire to do things with his. It’s only the cock and the balls that I’m interested in. To me, it would personally feel uncomfortable and extremely unenjoyable kissing a man (especially with stubble, tash or a beard, yuk), and it would make me gag for sure. Women (in general), have soft tender skin, whereas a man usually has a thick skull, bigger jaw, and not very pretty looking features. Cuddling would feel weird too. For that type of stuff (intimacy) it needs to be a cute soft smooth tender girl with curves. I would only ever get butterfly feelings for a girl, and get excited about dating one. However i sometimes like to fantasize about opposite sex intamacy, and getting caught just for the taboo factor. I’m also into fantasizing about getting caught in situations where i shouldn’t be having sex (whether it involve, a man, woman, or both). I also fantasize about someone nailing my girlfriend in front of me, and doing a better job than me, or me nailing someone’s wife, and doing a better job than them. I’m into anything that is a bit different…… I did the kinsey scale test on ok cupid, and it said I’m hetroflexible. I’m happy with that description. If you think I’m anything different, then please tell me, but I have faith in the Kinsey scale, as I think sexuality is far more complicated than just 3 boxes. There are even still loads of people who think there are only 2 boxes (gay or straight), and that anyone else is confused. i’m not confused, I know exactly what i want (whatever I feel like, haha). My fantasies keep changing though. I recently went through a stage of fantasizing about really older women, and had an encounter with one. I don’t fancy them, but it’s just the conquest factor (even better if they’re an old virgin, or haven’t had sex for years, haha). Maybe you think I’m just a pervert, lol.

      NB, I would never do anything that would harm anybody, and I only approve of encounters that involve responsible consenting adults.

      Anyway, I’m waffling, but i hope that gives you a better understanding of someone who doesn’t believe they are simply bi (or straight or gay).

  46. ddoncarlo says:

    I think all sex feels good, be it with a woman, a man, even an animal, an inanimate object, or as many of us do it, with ourselves. I think I am bi. I can get it up for either gender. For the first 22 years of my life, I always thought of myself as straight and was only into girls. Then at 22, a memory of a same sex experience I had when I was younger came up and really shocked me. I became very uncomfortable around other men, something I have never felt before. When some gay people talk about that there knew they were gay early on, or in puberty, I cannot relate to that. I think that what shocked me about the memory of my homosexual experience was that I enjoyed it. Now I’m realizing that all sex feels good, so I don’t beat myself up over a homosexual desire or fantasy. While I have not had sex with dudes, I am open to this notion. I have not had sex for 10 years. I slept with 8 women from ages 18 to 24. I loved sex with women, but when I started being worried about my sexuality that ended up being not fun. Now that I’m accepting my homosexual feelings, I’m noticing my sexual interest in women has also spiked. What does that make me, who knows. I am still not at ease around men at times, but I’m hopeful once I can understand sex better and nature of sexual attractions something will happen that would put me at ease. Maybe for some people they are 100% straight or 100% gay, but I know that I’m not one of them. I have experienced too many changes to think otherwise. I wish people were more open minded to the notions discussed in this article

  47. Perhaps the jacket of straight and gay is too narrow.

    Heterosexuals are also known to have homosexual fantasies. So Dillon might not be gay, but normal.

    Showing love between guys is not gay!

  48. This is an excellent article! I can identify with this in that I am a “straight” male, yet yearn for a deeper intimacy with men. However, our society shuns this notion and makes men feel as though they are gay if they desire or exhibit such behavior. A great book which explores the consequences of not achieving this intimacy is, “I don’t want to talk about it” by Terrance Real. Although this book is aimed at offering help for depression in men, it explains what is really at the root of this depression: a psychological repression of these kind of relational/intimate feelings that men yearn for with one another.

    @Justin – I completely agree with your view point about males wanting intimacy with each other. My father is from Ethiopia and it is not uncommon to see two men holding hands as they walk down the street and they are NOT gay. It’s so funny how American men mock Europeans for being flamboyant and effeminate yet I find that European men are genuinely more comfortable in their sexuality.

    • I think it’s sad that guys who want a strong bond with another guy is made to feel like that desire is “gay” in Western culture. It feels like that’s changing though.

  49. Terms like “hetero-flexible” and “mostly straight” are just other terms for being a bisexual man.

    These men are closeted bisexuals and they are trying to hold onto some fragment of a Heterosexual male identity when they’re not heterosexual and never are or were hetero/straight.

    On the Kinsey Scale and Klein Grid anything between Zero-Hetero/straight and 6-gay male/lesbian is bisexual.

    • You’re right about anything in the middle of the Kinsey scale is bisexual… that’s kind of the point why they don’t like the label because it’s so vague and doesn’t do a meaningful job of describing them. Mostly straight means Kinsey 1-2. Mostly Gay is Kinsey 4-5. Since “Bisexual” covers the entire spectrum except the extremes, forcing them to define themselves by a vague term shows a lack of understanding.

  50. Guys who are claiming that they are “heteroflexible” or “mostly straight” are nothing but bisexual men who are staying closeted about their bisexuality and trying to hold onto a Heterosexual identity.

  51. Fascinating thread with lots of different view points but I can’t help feel that this has veered off the point somewhat… and I declare my own standpoint straight away…

    I’m a European who has lived in different countires all over the world, from an ethnically diverse background, I was in a loving and committed relationship with a woman for 20 years and I’m now in a loving and committed relationship with a man. I don’t choose to label myself, other than as human and male, but for the sake of other’s convenience and smooth social intercourse I don’t mind other’s labelling me gay.

    I’ve carefully re-read the comments from Ritch’s article and his (somewhat narrow) classification. I’ve re-read the reportage of Dillon’s experience and the unidentifed fourth guy:

    “A fourth guy is a guy like Dillon: he grants that he’s not totally straight, and that his feelings for guys are more than just sexual—they’re romantic. He can imagine experiencing emotional, intimate relationships with other young men. It just seems natural. He’s into cuddling without the pressure of sex, and he could spend countless hours with “special buddies.” He’s been infatuated with best friends, teammates, and videogame partners.”

    and that seems to me to be less about sexual identity or sexual preference and more about an expression of a desire for more intimate and authentic relationships with people regardless of gender. Isn’t that the real point about the men who declare themselves as “Mostly Straight, most of the time”?

    In a culture which has been dominated by male sterotypes of masculinity portrayed by the likes of Stallone, Shwarzenegger, Willis et al where’s a boy who is confident in his own identity but yearning for an authentic and intimate connection with his peers to turn?

    In European and middle Eastern cultures (and I don’t want to open up a debate on other issues with those cultures) expressions of affection such as kissing, holding hands and other acts of physical intimicay between young males are not unusual or uncommon and definititely not “gay”. Isn’t what we hear from these young men just a plea for affection and intimacy?

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  53. Gross! I think a male who is wishy washy about their sexuality seems incredibly unattractive to me as a female. I also think we have all felt some sexual feeling toward the same sex at some point in our lives but we don’t have to “explore” or act on them. Is absolutely NOTHING sacred anymore. Imagine if everything in life were a big mish mash of grey, kind of like a pile of vomit. Please raise your kids with a strong sense of self and good male/female role models so our society doesn’t plung into the abyss of relativism and no one knows who they hell they are, what they are attracted to or what they believe.

    • Toni,

      The whole point of coming out as bi or “mostly straight” is ABOUT not being “wishy-washy.” ABOUT coming out with the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

      If you don’t like a guy who likes both guys and gals, that’s fine. No one is forcing you to go out with them. Guess what; there are other girls who will! 🙂

      I think whether others choose to “explore” or act on their same-sex attractions is absolutely none of your business, just as it is none of ours to decide who YOU decide to hit on.

      “Sacred.” Define “sacred.” Is it your skewed, limited and self-centered, self-serving point of view?

      The whole point of people coming out is to show that life ISN’T this “mish mash of grey.” It’s to show that there’s a whole range of variety, not just black-and-white.

      Parents should raise their kids with a strong sense of self alright, but also they should raise them to think for themselves, to define themselves, and be proud of who they are, not mold themselves to someone else’s expectations and be proud of pleasing others who are oh-so-better-than-everyone-else.

      It is when you stuff ideas into your children’s minds and force them to think a certain way that they lose sense of who they are, what they are attracted to, and what they believe, because they have been told what these things will be their whole lives.

    • Jim Macafee says:

      Toni, y’all just keep splashing about in your cesspool of ignorance.

  54. One does not need to have sexual attraction towards another individual to get off. Sex, for pleasure, serves a function. A lesbian prostitute who has sex for money with men is not less of lesbian. Her motivation for her behavior is the money. The motivation for a straight man to have another guy service him or to have sex is pleasure. Pleasure can still be had without being attracted to the other person, be it woman or man. Doing the action, or having an action performed on you, is no different then having your arm rubbed. Both body parts, an arm and a penis, react to sensations upon them. If one where to be blindfolded and not be aware of who is stimulating ones stimuli(the penis) one wouldn’t know who or who gets them off. If the person does know if its a woman or a man, what would people say about his sexuality. What people need to start realizing, is that there’s a difference between what one is attracted to physically, or an “identity” as straight, gay bi, lesbian, and what one does sexually which is not an Identity but behavior. Behavior is not sexuality.
    I’d love to see a study of a large sampling of straight men being serviced blindfolded without him knowing who is blowing him. What would it prove if they get off, that sex has nothing to do with sexuality. The body will react. Sexuality is an identity like any identity category, “black, white, asian, etc” it just says something about you, but should not imply behavior. A black person doesn’t automatically eat fried chicken watermellon or whatever stereotypes associated with “black” behavior.

    So why does it happen that straight men have sex with men? Supply and demand. There is not an equal ratio to the demand of sex from straight men to that of supply of women who are willing to just have sex for the sake of pleasure. If women would have sex or desire sex like men do, there would be a more equal ratio of available sex on the spot(i’m not talking about dating, and courting after the fact but i’m talking about no strings attached sex). As a result one wouldn’t have to find other alternatives, be it men, t-girls, prostitutes, just to get off. Americans are to closed minded with sex, and their views on sexuality, and categorizing behavior without really understanding the definitions of such words as straight gay bi etc is ignorant and a heavily socialized positions.

    At the end of the day, even if it’s not about sex, and it becomes about relationships or intimacy with other men. I argue the same as the above. Sexuality, straight, gay, bi, etc is an IDENTITY. Just like saying one is a “male” and “female” is an identity. Neither identity means one should act or behave in a certain way. It’s just a category. Let’s stop looking beyond identity and associating behavior or stereotyped to it. You don’t need to have an identity to use it as an excuse or a reason/motivation to do certain behavior and not other.

  55. For whatever it’s worth, I’ve been married to my wife with whom I had a 3-yr relationship (married since this May). We enjoy our sex life, but I made it clear to her that I also found men sexually attractive, and she’s alright with that. (That she allowed me to be open with her with every aspect of my life is probably the biggest reason I agreed to marry her; she loves me for who I am, attraction for other guys and all…) From day one we decided we were going to be exclusive with each other, and that bi-sexuality isn’t any alibi for infidelity. (If you’re “straight” you’re not supposed to cheat ANYWAY.)

    I’d like to consider myself “bi,” equally 50/50, but then I dunno; my experience with homosexuality has been purely experimental, back in my teens, and I’ve NEVER had a relationship, or felt the need to search for one with another guy. Though I find men sexually attractive, I’ve never felt the need to be around the “gay scene.” I’ve NEVER been to a gay bar, nor gone to any GLBT support groups.

    I should say that I felt turned off to “coming out” except to friends that really know me, as I’ve gotten some negative feedback from both straight and gay people. In my experience being “bi” is considered “just a phase” by people I’ve talked to gay or straight. I feel it is a particular sting when I hear it from gay people though, because where politically gays fight for “tolerance” and “acceptance,” for whatever reason, I’ve been made to feel like “bi” is not acceptable. Like, for a lot of my gay acquaintances, the’ve had to fight off being told from their friends and family that being gay was “just a phase.” Yet, here I am, getting it from the very people who have had to endure dismissal.

    I often wonder why that is… is it that my existence is that threatening? Because it goes against the notion that people are mostly either gay or straight with nothing in between? Because it jeopardizes the notion that you’re born “straight or gay?” That the idea that you can go either way might put into question the idea of a “gay gene” or “gay biology?”

    At any rate, I for the most part, keep my sexuality “in the closet.” Other than my close friends and relatives, why should others know what my sexual preferences are? Why should I reveal them? So that I can be attacked on both sides? Yeah, labels suck. In my experience “coming out” means you have to choose one way or the other. And in my experince, also, the people that give me this attitude are gay people themselves. So what’s even the point? Where’s -my- “acceptance?”

  56. Tatev Abrahamyan says:

    I think it’s so sad that we have to live in a society that HAS TO DEFINE OUR SEXUALITY, why does something like this have to be so shocking and so “new” that people have to write about it? i mean don’t get me wrong I’m glad that this article is written, what I’m sad about is the fact that this fact isn’t known.
    it’s so common for two females to be what Dillon describes he is without the society coming down on them so hard and i know it from first hand, but when it’s a guy that feels romantic about his buddy it’s shocking. we need to realize that different sexes are MORE ALIKE THAN DIFFERENT and gender roles are SOCIALLY CONSTRUCTED NOT BIOLOGICAL. I hope one day this world will become a safe place for everyone to love and be loved as they want to be. and I’m glad that men like Dillon have the courage to speak up and encourage millions of others that feel the same way to know that it’s ok to feel that way, that we don’t have to limit ourselves to a specific label or to anything as long as we don’t hurt anybody physically (and try very hard not to hurt them emotionally.)

  57. When I read this, I couldn’t help but think that the “mostly straight” guys are just like girls and their sexuality. Girl aren’t afraid to say another girl is attractive, to hold hands, kiss each other on the cheek. We realize that even though we are straight we are just showing affection and that’s just what these guys are doing. Showing affection. But in the past if a man showed any affection to another it was considered taboo.

    “mostly straight” guys are most considerably my favorite type of guy!

    • Ritch Savin-Williams says:

      When I interviewed them they were some of my absolutely favorite guys. I’m with you on this. Ritch.

  58. It is utterly unreasonable to try and pretend that someone doesn’t exist because they have a privacy consideration. As someone who works supporting government and the resources sector – I don’t use my real name in relation to my public internet postings. I talk about drug use, homosexual activity, alternate sexual models and many other things that would make my very conservative clients very uncomfortable. Should the fact that I enjoy my career and don’t want to risk it for an argument on the intarwebs diminish the validity of my comments also? Or are you just reluctant to defend a flawed position.

    Having read your most recent comments on the experience of young gay men, I’m increasingly convinced that you’re a sensationalist capitalizing on media attention and a controversial position – without anything valid to add to a conversation. I can only hope you go away before you do any real harm.

    • Ritch Savin-Williams says:

      To be honest, I am not particularly enjoying this “exposure.” However, I will only “go away” when I feel my work to better the lives of gay youth is finished. I’m not sure why you are so certain that promoting the suicidal script is the best way to do this.
      My lack of responding to Intrigue — I mean, honestly, re-read the post and see how anyone could or should address these concerns (most of which have nothing to do with the article I helped write). Most are false accusations with no conceivable “defense” on my part.
      Ok, here is one answer: Fox was at the Inside Cornell event because all media outlets were invited. I had no choice; was i supposed to throw them out? And, why wouldn’t I want to talk to individuals of all political persuasions? Indeed, perhaps Fox viewers need my message that many gay kids are healthy, proud, good citizens, honest, happy, etc. the most.

      • My point regarding FOX was not that you had control over their attendance, but rather, that they were very much aware of the message you are sending. Their attendance underscores my point regarding what your messages promote, most specifically regarding “It’s Better Now.” They don’t attend pro-gay media events because they don’t publish those stories.

        Now that was the easiest and safest item for you to address. Please address the others.

  59. Ritch Savin-Williams says:

    Dear Intrigued,
    When you are willing to be accountable for your comments, accusations, and knowledge, then I will respond.

    I am also not sure that this is the most appropriate forum; however, your posts do give substance to the long-held belief that “we eat our own.” I will not respond in kind.

  60. Ritch Savin-Williams says:

    One other thing, that “review” of my book that Intrigued posted was totally outrageous because of its distortion and misrepresentation. He has his own agenda and used my book to vent it. I cannot control these kinds of unethical behavior, though I complained bitterly to the Journal.

    • Ritch, as odd as this may seem to you and your idealistic utopia, I am not using my full name on a website discussion about homosexuality for privacy reasons. I know that must seem unfathomable to you, as everything is hearts and flowers out there for gay people in your eyes. And no, I will not contact you privately because I feel that others have the right to read what I am saying as well. You addressed little of what I presented to you. Regarding your ideas of gay well-adjustedness/happiness, you are blatantly ignoring the findings of such entities as the CDC (http://www.cdc.gov/msmhealth/stigma-and-discrimination.htm), the APA (http://www.apa.org/about/governance/council/policy/discriminatory-legislation.aspx), the SPRC (http://www.sprc.org/library/SPRC_LGBT_Youth.pdf), and various other legitimate public agencies. You admitted during your NPR interview to “selecting” the information you use, which is information that supports YOUR views and thus your own personal advancement. And with the lack of other studies out there right now, you are seizing a window of opportunity to capitalize on the media’s focus on the death of gay teens and using it to support your warped ideas and to sell books. That is criminal. How is what you are doing going to better the lives of the youth that are struggling when you are not even recognizing their struggles to begin with?? You say “it’s better now.” Why? Because that’s what you have written in your books, and you don’t want egg on your face. What’s worse, you have recognized an audience in the conservative movement, who you know (and as we have seen) will use you and your work to support their own agenda–now more than ever. Read the discriminatory legislation piece from the APA. Did you account for this in your own “findings”? You are acting as if the only stressors on our gay youth are the stigma that activists are creating in making them appear “different” and the push by the religious right to “change.” Really? A “professional” such as yourself, and you don’t feel there is more to it than that? We are dealing with hatred, ignorance, and bigotry out there. Informing an ignorant society that gay kids don’t have any additional struggles completely releases that same society from 1) ownership and accountability for their oppressive actions, and 2) any responsibility to change their beliefs and opinions. It is a smack in the face to all who continue to live in fear, to be harassed, to be discriminated against, to lose their job for being gay, to not be able to marry their lifelong partner, to lose a child–or relative–or friend–to suicide, or to basically continue to be treated like a second class citizen. Celebrating strength and resiliency is a good thing, Ritch, but not when coupled with negating the realities that exist out there. And that is what you are doing. You stated that those who focus on the “negative” (which I term “reality”) are giving the religious right “ammunition” to make homosexuals convert. So then you think that by telling everyone that gay kids are happy and resilient and face no adversity that the religious right will back off? Are you serious here?? The don’t give a shit if gay people are happy or not, Ritch. Their plight for conversion goes much deeper than that. And your words will not only NOT assist in this regard, but they are going to act as a REINFORCEMENT for them to continue to do what they are doing. And what do you think publishing things like this very article (as I stated in my posts above)– without recognizing people who are fully homosexual–is going to do in terms of this religious “conversion” issue? And for education in our schools, as one of the biggest arguments against it is that parents don’t want their kids to think homosexuality is an acceptable “option.” You are causing a lot of damage in your self-interest, and I am not letting this go. What you are doing is WRONG. Isn’t your grad degree in religious studies? And why was FOX news at your press luncheon today? Unreal.

      Please address my questions via this forum so that others can view your response.

      • You speak the truth, and he knows it.

        That is why he will not respond to you.

        His wallet dictates his silence.

        • Ritch Savin-Williams says:

          Thank you Jill for your analysis! Actually, Intrigued is a bully, and that makes it difficult to have a civilized conversation. Re-read the post and see how comfortable you would be to respond–or even how to respond to outrageous behavior.

          • Ritch, I apologize if you feel that I am a “bully.” By definition, a bully is “a person who is habitually cruel or overbearing, especially to smaller or weaker people.” The only part I may be guilty of is being overbearing here, and this is because I firmly believe in what I am saying. If my delivery was harsh, then I apologize. But if I have made you feel “smaller” or “weaker,” then perhaps you aren’t as convinced about your theories as I am about mine. And I find that it is more difficult to have a civilized conversation when respondents dance around issues and make continued excuses as to why questions won’t be answered. Please stop victimizing yourself. You made a conscious decision to go public with your theories here, so as a professional, you should be well equipped to handle opposition. There is nothing outrageous about my behavior. I have read posts on here where people have resorted to name calling and wished for you to vanish from the profession. I have merely stated my observations and theories (same as you) and asked related questions. Again, I respectfully request that you address the issues and questions that I raised.

  61. Ritch Savin-Williams says:

    Well, quite a few charges there “Intrigued!” Of course this is always easier to do when one is “nameless.” Your venom is deep but I have no desire to “fight” with you or your views. They are yours and I have a feeling nothing I say will have any impact on you. However, if you’d like to discuss more, write to me directly and let’s talk.
    However, a couple of points. If we based our research and what we write about based on how we believe the Religious/Politically Right will use it, then we will be totally silent. They will always use the parts of our research they like and distort the rest. They will not silence me. And neither will you.
    Yet, my commitment seems to be the same as yours: to better the lives of our gay youth. I celebrate their lives, their strength, their resiliency, their pride, their normal lives. Others emphasize the negative; that is their choice and I will not try to silence them (though I believe they also give ammunition to the Religious Right, which uses the research to tell gay kids: “Convert, because your life will be miserable.”
    Right, which uses the research to tell gay kids: “Convert because your life will be miserable.”

  62. Brian Miller says:

    They can claim to be “purple-skinned people eaters” and “not homosexual” and whatever else they want in order to “reinvent sexuality” (as every generation claims to do when it’s in its 20s). What they cannot really change with such rebranding efforts are the inherent sociocultural challenges of living in a same-sex relationship.

    Whether or not they’re “mostly straight,” or “heteroflexible” or whatnot, they’re still going to find serious legal and societal challenges in their everyday lives and family lives if in a same-sex relationship — just like “obsolete” gay and bisexual men and women in same-sex relationships do. This is inescapable.

    Incidentally, this pattern of “rebranding” has been going on FOREVER — yet the sociocultural issues have persisted. Whether one was a 1910s “bachelor of the home,” a 1930s “dandy,” a 1950s “homophile,” a 1970s “gay man,” a 1990s “queer,” or a 2010s “heteroflexible man who rejects narrow classifications and is in a same-gender relationship,” the challenges have always been the same.

  63. Dominick Antonucci says:

    I’m gay and I really can’t go along with most any of this. I’m really sorry — well, actually I’m not — but gay men are punished for being gay, one way or another. With all the youth suicides, there’s the site ‘It gets better.” Well, it actually doesn’t get much better. And for all of this articles ‘openness’ , let’s face it, gay men are still the gay ones.

    As far as all of this, I haven’t made up my mind what I should call myself business — People can pretend that by ‘self-identifying’ they’re making sense. But ‘sense’ only is that which makes sense to another. We can’t coin our own words. It requires another speaker to participate. So, no, it can’t be that everyone is allowed to ‘self-identify’ as whatever they imagine themselves to be without regard to what is. I don’t get to call myself a mushroom, for instance. Well, I can speak that sentence, but no one should do anything other than say, “No, you’re not a mushroom; you’re a person.”

    See, orientation — gay or straight — is biological. Biology. Nervous system. Hormones. Hormonal exposure during fetal development. (Not genetics) It’s not psychology. It’s not learned. It’s not copied. It’s got nothing to do with ‘society’ — what ever that is expected to refer to.

    The men spoken of in the article are gay men. Gay men are men who want and have sex with other men. They may also be straight, but we do know that they are gay.

    I’m a gay man as well. I knew I was attracted to males as soon as I hit puberty.
    My brother is a straight straight man. He knew he was attracted to females as soon as he hit puberty.
    All humans know which gendered bodies they find attractive after puberty. (And I wonder if the biologists have that figured out or not.)

    It doesn’t take any time to ‘figure out’. Straight teens don’t spend years puzzling over whether or not they might be gay. No straight teens spend years in ‘the straight closet’.

    If someone who is bisexual is wondering what they can call themselves, I say they can all themselves ‘gay and straight’. “Hi, I’m Paul. I’m gay and straight. I like sex with and fall in love with men, sometimes. I like sex and fall in love with women, sometimes. (Sometimes both?) Glad to meet you!”

    The thing that those who aren’t ‘both-orientational’ want to know is, if we become a couple, are you going to insist on having sex outside our coupleness with someone of the other gender because you’re bi and need that?

    So, no, I don’t go along with this whole typology of ‘not-straight ‘ (=gay!) males. .

    Look, you take a man and you wire him up. You show him the most recent issue of Playboy and see what registers. Then you get you a copy of Playgirl and do the same. The numbers will tell you what you need to know.

    The REAL reason that these guys don’t ‘self-identify’ as gay is that they can pass for straight in the public sphere and don’t want to be known as gay. That, because, as we all know, to be gay is to be ‘lesser than’.

    I actually found a craigslist m4m ad recently. It showed an errect penis. It said, “Looking for a straight guy to suck me off.” (I’m not lying about this.) This is how crazy this kind of thing has become. The text of the ad was basically, “I’m straight and looking for a straight guy — not a gay guy — to blow me.” This in Craigslist M4M section. Look, he’s gay. The guy he ends up meeting -=- gay. There aren’t any straight men to read and reply to such an ad or that would write such an ad.

    Because gay is assoiciated with being inferior at being a man, certain masculine guys want to say, I”m really a man, just that I like sex with other men. The opposition to gays doesn’t come from straights being grossed out by the sex per se. It’s about their hating the violation of Gender.

    The men described in this article want to be ‘men’ under Gender, but be gay in activity. It just doesn’t wash, and I have NO idea why bi-s are in the gay rights movement. Until and unless they ‘come out’ as gay, and, yeah, but also sometimes straight — I’ll not change my mind.

    (One final thought: Does any of this much matter? What is their actual plight? In what possible way are such people oppressed. If they act on their supposed straight side, they’re straight — and that’s privileged. so it’s only as gay that they are oppressed. Isn’t the end result in terms of rights the same? That rights straights and straight couples enjoy qua straight be extended to gays and gay couples as well?)

    • The oppression of bisexual people and sexually fluid people is in your statement. You erase us, continue to insist that we don’t exist, pretend that our existence somehow harms you, assert that our ‘straight privilege’ somehow nullifies the very real day-to-day harm of being regarded as a non-person, and insist definitional power over our identities in a way that we DO NOT insist over yours. We shouldn’t have to ask your permission to be bisexual or sexually fluid.

      • Honestly, didn’t that kind of gay grandstanding and pseudo-intellectual dictating go out of style in the ’90s? Stonewall was forty years ago. A little more than a hundred years ago “gay” didn’t even exist. I hope we’re all growing enough as individuals and a culture to not cling to ideas that have no validity anymore.

        I have zero problem with allowing other human beings to tell me who they are. I figure they know better than I do and their identity poses exactly no threat to me whatsoever and I wouldn’t want them to try to tell me who I am. Being bitter over the happiness of other people is a pointless way to go through life.

    • realperson says:

      Wow. Well thanks for setting me straight. You surely know my sexuality better than I do.

      In my 46 years I have NEVER seen a man on the street and had a romantic or sexual thought. Never! Not once. But I get in trouble every day because my girl friend constantly catches me looking at pretty girls. No matter how hard I try I can not stop looking at, and having sexual thoughts about all the skirts walking by. But show me a very large and erect penis and guess what? Yes, I want to suck on it. And on those rare occasions I have done just that guess where my mind is? I am thinking of what it would be like if this organ was inside a woman and how she would react.

      I have experimented with guys just to confirm my sexual identity and sure enough, no matter what, I can not get aroused by a man. The greater the intimacy the more uncomfortable I become. I could never kiss a man. It is not possible for me.

      So thank you for labeling me as a Gay Man. Even the Bi label is sexual poison but if I am identified as a “GAY” man I might as well smear myself with feces before I try to meet hetero women.

      I used to try to explain my sexuality to people but no matter how hard I would try to explain that my sexual ‘attraction’ to men is very limited, I would be labeled as BI or Gay. If someone said I was BI I would always ask them what that word meant to them. 100% of the time the answer was, “a person sexually attracted to both genders”. Technically this is true but it paints an incredibly inaccurate picture.

      So get over yourself. You sound just the same as the homophobic crowd telling you that you choose your sexuality.

      And if you still have that CL post let me know. 😉

    • Seriously. What a hateful response. I’m supposed to have “tolerance” and “acceptance” for this little prick. I’m supposed to be fighting for his “rights.” But he doesn’t think bis exist. So why should I believe that “gay” is this “biological” thing then?

      How do you know that bis aren’t committing suicide because it eats away inside that they can’t talk about who they are with anyone, not even so-called “rights activists” like you? Oh, that’s right. Because to you, only gays can exist, and not bis. That’s why.

      “The men spoken of in the article are gay men. Gay men are men who want and have sex with other men. They may also be straight, but we do know that they are gay.”

      And they just cant be both, or one more than the other, right?

      “It doesn’t take any time to ‘figure out’. Straight teens don’t spend years puzzling over whether or not they might be gay. No straight teens spend years in ‘the straight closet’. ”

      And you know this HOW??? I mean, since you’re straight and have never had problems with your sexual identity you can speak from experience right? You know what it’s like to be a “straight.”

      “If someone who is bisexual is wondering what they can call themselves, I say they can all themselves ‘gay and straight’. “Hi, I’m Paul. I’m gay and straight. I like sex with and fall in love with men, sometimes. I like sex and fall in love with women, sometimes. (Sometimes both?) Glad to meet you!””

      But nobody ever tell you that being gay is “just a phase,” that eventually “you’ll grow out of” and that you should tell others that, right?

      “The thing that those who aren’t ‘both-orientational’ want to know is, if we become a couple, are you going to insist on having sex outside our coupleness with someone of the other gender because you’re bi and need that?”

      And the thing that those of us who aren’t “gold star gays” is whether or not you’ll insist on having sex outside of the relationship because “you like men and need that?”

      Seriously. What a f-ed up assumption. If bi-guys just want to have side relationships with both girls and guys here and there, then gays are all just promiscuous little f-cks who will have had at least 100 d!cks up their buns in their lifetimes. How’s that sound?

      “Look, you take a man and you wire him up. You show him the most recent issue of Playboy and see what registers. Then you get you a copy of Playgirl and do the same. The numbers will tell you what you need to know.”

      This has already happened. They hooked up like 100 or so “100% straights” and showed them gay porn. And do you know what? Like 80% of them all got erections despite the fact that they swore up and down that they were 100% into women. Read the book “Guide to Getting It On” by Paul Joannides. It’s in there.

      “The REAL reason that these guys don’t ‘self-identify’ as gay is that they can pass for straight in the public sphere and don’t want to be known as gay. That, because, as we all know, to be gay is to be ‘lesser than’. ”

      No, that’s just your self-hating gay that’s coming out.

      The REAL reason we don’t identify as “gay” is because we don’t feel we fit the category. Actually, most of us don’t even have the guts to say we’re “bi” because people like you and others will go on and on about how we don’t want to come out as “gay” because we’re afraid of the label. Well, we’re afraid of the “bi” label too. So most of us say we’re straight, because we don’t want any “complications.” Thanks for helping repress others, you F-ing asrehole. Good luck finding support for your “rights.”

      “Because gay is assoiciated with being inferior at being a man, certain masculine guys want to say, I”m really a man, just that I like sex with other men.”

      Being “bi” is associated to being “inferior” to gays. Because we don’t “have what it takes” to “come out and be gay.”

      ” The opposition to gays doesn’t come from straights being grossed out by the sex per se. It’s about their hating the violation of Gender. ”

      So tell us, where does the opposition to bis come from? Is it about hating the violation to the “gay” stereotype? I’m sorry, we can’t all be banner-carrying, pride-parade-marching, badge carrying, flaming “gays.” Some of us have to like both the p-ssy AND the d!ck. Sorry if that offends you.

      “The men described in this article want to be ‘men’ under Gender, but be gay in activity. It just doesn’t wash, and I have NO idea why bi-s are in the gay rights movement. Until and unless they ‘come out’ as gay, and, yeah, but also sometimes straight — I’ll not change my mind.”

      And there you go. This is why bis don’t “come out” to you. Because we’re told that the only way we should come out is “all gay,” “all straight” or just don’t “come out” at all. So sad. You’d probably have more of us on your side. You step on your own foot.

      “(One final thought: Does any of this much matter? What is their actual plight? In what possible way are such people oppressed. If they act on their supposed straight side, they’re straight — and that’s privileged. so it’s only as gay that they are oppressed. Isn’t the end result in terms of rights the same? That rights straights and straight couples enjoy qua straight be extended to gays and gay couples as well?”

      Yes. And many of them stay on the supposed “straight” side and never mention their sexualities. We would like to share our sexualities with others and be open, but then we’re met with THIS kind of attitude. We’d rather just say we’re “straight” and shut up both gays and “straights.” You may call that “priviliged,” but it really does suck. We’re oppressed as “gays” and “straights.” It is simply unacceptable to be attracted to and get an erection for both genders. I’m not sure we’re enjoying the “rights” supposedly “straight people” enjoy. Yeah, I can get married. Yeah, I get benefits. No, I can’t talk about the fact that I like guys too. No I can’t openly tell others how hot I think that other guy is. Believe me, the “rights” are not all their cracked up to be… I get to “enjoy my rights” as long as I shut up and conform. That’s a “privilege?” Cuz it really sucks. I wonder how many closeted bis have committed suicide, even enjoying this “privileged” life… sometimes I ponder the possibility myself…

      What good is a “priviledged life” where you’re not free to be exactly who you are?

  64. What I am noticing in this story is that a lot of these young men are talking of romantic feelings toward other men, but in most cases they don’t actually mean sexual feelings. This reminds me of biographies and stories I have read about men of the middle 1800s. I mean good ol’ Abe Lincoln and his lot. Back then, it was total fine for two grown men to send eachother romantic poetry, walk in the park holding hands and generally act like they were courting eachother. Were these men gay? No. Where they even bisexual? No. What they were was seeking the close personal bond that all humans desire during a time in our history when overt expressions of sexuality were repressed and marriages were more like business contracts and were for making babies.

    We now live in a society where if two guys accidentally brush past eachother in a shower room, they both worry that they will be called, ‘gay’ for the next six years. The men in this article are just expressing a normal way of wanting to be close to others, regardless of gender and happen to belong to a generation that isn’t nearly as scared of being called gay.

  65. Intrigued says:

    P.S. I have often agreed with the 90/10 (90% heterosexual attraction/10% homosexual attraction), 80/20, 70/30 etc. “degrees” of attraction, but there is the group of 0/100 people out there, and they are suffering because irresponsible words like yours convince American society that this is something that is chosen. Be responsible in the way you present things and give these people the respect they deserve in at least mentioning that there is a population of people who are truly homosexual (the 0/100’s), and that these people deserve equality, protection, and the same quality of life as those who are 70/30, 80/20, 90/10, etc. (who maybe can “choose” to have a heterosexual life and family)…all the way to fully heterosexual (100/0). This is one of your biggest failures. Stop failing to recognize that side of the equation. Be responsible in underscoring this so that the ignorance of homosexual opponents can see this and understand this. You are doing a lot of harm every time you omit this explanation.

    • You know, I am REALLY sick of the gay rights movement oppressing people like me who are sexually fluid by somehow asserting that we are “harming the movement.” Not everything is about people who are 0/100, and frankly a lot of the research supports that identity model. I think the blame for the harm caused to 0/100 communities can safely be placed with conservatives who actively DO harm to people that are 0/100. Blaming someone else’s existence, and research on that person’s existence for the harm done to your community is what’s really irresponsible.

      • Switch, I am in no way blaming any of the other percentages. I apologize if that is how I came across. The blame is placed on the irresponsibility of “studies” that mislead by omitting information. I am in full agreement that conservatives are the root of our oppression, but Savin-Williams is feeding their bigotry with his words. I welcome everyone who is 90/10, 70/30, 40/60…whatever. I think that is awesome. We are all in this together, and I didn’t mean to offend by creating another barrier. Ritch, however, does create these barriers. That’s my point. My apologies again.

    • Ritch Savin-Williams says:

      As you well know, I have devoted my life’s work to make our lives better, regardless of sexual orientation. Your remarkable assault on me not only misrepresents my writings and community work, but seems deeply personal. I am more than willing to engage in a discussion with you (yes, you can remain anonymous) if it is a respectful, no name-calling, no misrepresentation kind.

      • Ritch, please see my post below. I have no personal affiliation other than sincere and valid concern for the effects your words will have on those who do not have a voice here. As I stated below, please stop victimizing yourself. You chose to do this. You chose the message. You chose the timing. Please accept your part and understand that you are going to face opposition and disagreement.

        • Ritch Savin-Williams says:

          Yes, I agree with you that I did choose to participate in the message of emphasizing the positive aspects of being young, gay, and proud. I suspect the primary disagreement that we have is the “effect” of my words on gay youth or youth who are considering so identifying. I fully understood (and if I did not before, I certainly do now!) that there would be push back. However, I feel so strongly that there are so many youth out there who need to hear something other than the suffering suicidal script. I understand that you and others may disagree.
          And as to the issue of feeling victimized, I guess that was my response to your (and others) vitriolic attacks on my person, motives, and research that were born of passion rather than reason. I, too, am passionate about my perspective because it is derived from the voices of gay youth. Ritch.

  66. Intrigued says:

    I guess the thing that confuses me the most here is this: What is your agenda here, Ritch? Do you notice conservative groups latching on to your “studies” and “findings” and using your very words to work against LGBT people? I am baffled as to how one’s personal advancement to gain acceptance of irresponsible, inaccurate, and damaging “theories” (and that is all they are) could take precedence over the well-being of our gay youth. And that is exactly what you are doing. The read-between-the-lines of your “findings” (and not just here, but in various writings, commentaries, interviews) supports the sentiment of the people and organizations that oppose LGBT people. You fault activism for creating the issues that gay people face today, but you are following the same path. You are putting the cart before the horse, proposing things that are more damaging than good in a society still working against homosexuality. What’s worse, you are supporting their bigotry. I really need to know how you can ethically do what you are doing, and what you are doing to respond to these conservative groups who are using you to perpetuate their continued bigotry and hatred.

    This criticism of your work (and your “rebuttal” as well) underscore everything I have just said:

    http://www.informaworld.com/smpp/content~db=all?content=10.1300/J455v01n03_06

    So please, elaborate.

    • Our identities shouldn’t have to wait until your movement is successful. You realise that in blaming studies like this and the individuals that inform them for the oppression of other LGBTQI people that you are being oppressive? It is not the fault of the sexually fluid that conservative bigotry does damage to your communities: I will say it again–our identities, our existence should not be construed as a threat to yours, nor should we have to wait until your movement is over to exist. The problem is conservative bigotry. Not. Us.

    • Ritch Savin-Williams says:

      After reading what you wrote, it is clear to me that you fail to understand my research, my teaching, my politics, or my community service. I have no idea why you are so negative or so misrepresent my work. I’m also not sure what your comments have to do with the article “Mostly Straight.” Ritch.

      • Ritch, I am aware of all those things. Yet my sentiment remains the same. And my postings were listed before the other Good Men article was published as this was the only forum I found with direct contact to you. So yes, not all points are directly related to this article, but many are tied in.

  67. Ritch Savin-Williams says:

    If one means by “bisexual” the literal “attracted to both sexes,” then, yes, Dillon is “bi” with that definition. But Dillon means far more than a sex object attraction; he’s talking about an identity, a term that to him represents or describes his sexuality. And, there are 3 to 5 times as many young men who identify as “mostly straight” than identify as “bisexual.” I don’t think all of them are stupid. Ritch.

  68. This is why I like the word “queer.” It can cover any sort of non-hetero sexuality. It can also cover those of us who are romantically interested in people who are genderqueer, trans, or otherwise don’t fit neatly into binary sex/gender categories, which the word “bisexual” implies to me (there are not only 2 sexes and there are not only 2 genders).

    But yes I do agree with the other posters that “bi” has never meant “equally attracted to both men and women.”

  69. Maybe Dillon is showing us something more than how (not) to categorize sexual orientation. His story called to mind an article about asexuality. (http://www.scientificamerican.com/blog/post.cfm?id=are-there-asexuals-among-us-on-the-2009-10-29) “Some are interested in nonsexual, romantic relationships (including cuddling and kissing but no genital contact), while others aren’t.”

    For many these days, sex often seems to consist of hooking up for a night, or sitting in front of a computer screen masturbating. Is it possible these behaviors aren’t meeting our deeper needs for close, trusted companionship and regular affectionate touch? Perhaps when in pursuit of the latter healthy contact, gender orientation isn’t the most important factor. Affection and trusted companionship of the type Dillon describes release oxytocin, which not only strengthens emotional bonds but also seems to benefit physical and psychological health. Psychologists sometimes think of this kind of contact as occurring naturally only between caregivers and infants, but in pair-bonding species (like ours), adults also thrive on such behaviors. See: http://www.news.wisc.edu/18218 Pair-bonding monkeys benefit from affection and sexual behaviors (including mere erections). They also engage in a lot of nonconceptive (and, if bonobos and macaques are any indication) even non-ejaculatory sex.

    Maybe humans can benefit from shifting today’s orgasm focus more in the direction of meeting its under met(?) needs for these bonding behaviors…as Dillon apparently has.

  70. this is a stupid article. they are bisexual. nothing new. bisexual doesn’t mean you prefer men and women equally. it simply means you can go both ways. just because you prefer not to go both ways most of the time doesn’t mean you have created a new sexuality. get over it. you are bisexual. EOD.

  71. One of the unfortunate side effects of feminism and the gay rights movement is that some men became afraid or uncomfortable with their feelings for other men. I am glad that some members of the newer generation are not afraid of these feelings and, in fact, exploring them. Let’s hope that the full spectrum of emotions shared between men may be honored and celebrated.

  72. Interesting article. When/if people ask, I’ve been calling myself “mostly straight” since High School. I suppose I fit the strict definition of “Bisexual” as defined by “interested in some way in both women and men” but calling myself that makes people assume things I don’t want them to assume. I’ve found “mostly straight” works better than anything else I’ve tried.
    What resonated with me the most here was the idea that our labels are restrictive, both because they limit how people perceive other people (many people slot others neatly into gay, straight, or bi, despite the reality that many people don’t feel like these labels are a good fit ) and because they restrict how people are willing to act with one another (men unwilling to show affection with other men because of how it will be perceived by others). I don’t think society will change overnight but I hope we can start to move toward a society where who you touch doesn’t need to define you.

  73. These men are not ‘not bisexual.’ They are bisexuals who think Bi means 50/50 or flippant or greedy. Maybe the overwhelmingly more popular scenario of two girls one guy to two guys one girl (not to be confused with a gangbang, but that’s another tangent) is to blame. I’d like to see this study alongside studies showing female interest in watching men sexualize with men.

    Mostly I’d like to extend my empathy as a bisexual to all the lesbians who are sick of bisexual girls calling themselves lesbians. If you’ve only ever fantasized about AND enjoyed one, you are homo or hetero. If you’ve enjoyed both you are bi.

    The problem is clarifying the definition of bi as both not (necessarily) both equally and acknowledging why guys don’t like to call themselves Bi half as often as girls do.

    • While I know that anyone who has some sexual interest more than one gender is defined as bisexual – I also know that ‘Faggot’ is defined as a bundle of sticks and branches, I also understand that a word is defined by its usage and a word used as a label is defined by its perception.

      Honestly, I think a majority of people interpret ‘Bisexual’ as a Kinsey Scale ‘3’ – Equally heterosexual and homosexual. I know that on the Kinsey Scale, anywhere between 1 and 5 could be considered bisexual – but my observation is that that isn’t how the word is used.

      I’m probably a Kinsey 1, although describing my occasional homosexuality as incidental also feels misleadingly diminishing towards those emotions. Kinsey 1 or Kinsey 2 is a pretty awkward way to self describe though.

  74. Ritch Savin-Williams says:

    The “the motives of this study” were to listen to young men as they reflect about the development of their sexuality, to give them a voice, and to place some context around their experiences. We can assure you that the motives were not homophobic!

    The reason why we believe that Dillon might “show us the way” is that young men are increasingly breaking traditional barriers about identity labels—heterosexual, bisexual, and gay just don’t do it anymore. Of course, “mostly straight” is also a label but Dillon meant it more as a descriptor of his sexual attractions, desires, crushes, behavior, fantasies (Klein might have been on to something!) than as an identity. In his real world, I doubt that Dillon announces that he is “mostly straight.”

  75. I’m a Family Therapist who has also done sex research on Inter-Racial Same-Sex Couples.

    1) I found in interesting when I was presenting at a FTM Conference, the registration form had 28 different ways of self-identifying oneself and an additional blank if you didn’t feel the 28 were enough.

    2) I am a person of color (American Indian) and was raised with the reality—If you tell ME what to call myself—that’s colonialism. If I tell YOU what to call me—that’s self-empowerment, which helps explain the 28 categories at the FTM Conference.

    3) There’s something called the Klein Grid that addresses this topic: http://kleingridonline.com/ The problem with historical “labels” is that they’re based on actual behavior, which can change over time (if I ask you your sexual history at the age of 16, you will probably give a different answer than if I ask you at 46) and don’t touch on fantasy. Just so, is a man married to a woman who straps on a dildo and anally penetrates him while he fantasizes being with another man, still count as a “heterosexual” act? Behaviorally—you betcha! That’s why more modern studies also look at not only the behavior, but the fantasies that go with the behavior. The Klein Grid splits human interactions on a number of levels, so you can have someone with a “high” mark in “homo-social” (prefers to social with other men), but scores a low “homo-sexual” because he doesn’t desire to have sex with other men. And like a number of self-identified gay men I’ve met—you can have someone who scores “high” in “homo-sexual” but low in “homo-emotional”—thus a man who will happily have sex with another man but isn’t about to then sleep with him. Anyway, check out the Klein Grid for yourself—and check out the Gay Sports site http://competenetwork.com/ (Compete Magazine-“We ARE Gay Sports”) 🙂

  76. I don’t particularly care who’s having sex with whom. It’s not really my business. But in the spirit of the article, I’ll share anyway — I’m not having sex at the moment with anyone!

  77. I wonder at the motives of this study. The statement “Dillon might just show us the way” of how to “be released from (his) heterosexual straightjacket” bothers me. It suggests the author’s discomfort with current labels like gay or bisexual. Supposedly, Dillon’s ideal relationship with the same gender is unsexual. Wouldn’t it just be “friendship” then? If the author’s are stating that it is somewhat sexual, then wouldn’t it just be homosexuality or bisexuality (without physical sexual stimulation), not “mostly straight”? Yes, they are identifying a trend; but it feels uncomfortably like their research is based in homophobia.
    They’re studying sexual development. The word ‘development’ suggests change over time. I wonder if fixed labels like “mostly straight” have any place in developmental studies then.
    These young people haven’t yet determined their lifelong orientation, and are using this (temporary) label in preference to labels with negative sociopolitical connotations. I suggest your study is not about “sexual development”, but how a homphobic society impacts youth identity.
    Words and labels are unable to fully encompass the complexity of a thing anyway. A hill to one may be a mountain to another, and doesn’t even deal with its composition.
    One idea your study supports is the idea that labels like gay and straight are useless and often harmful. Most of the labels for same-sex attraction are hateful – like queer, fag – and should be as abhorred as much as the n-word (fortunately, there seems to be a movement occurring now to do just that by celebs like Anderson Cooper and Ellen).
    As a man who has sex with men, I don’t identify with the label ‘gay’. It certainly doesn’t describe me – I’m more often pissed off than happy about things.

    • I agree. If Dillon does not want sex but rather an emotional bond with other men that does not make him “mostly straight,” it makes him “human.”

      Why can’t a deep emotional connection, a friendship, be highly sought and valued without being sexualized? Or worse, without being infantilized into a “man crush” or a “bromance”?

  78. Eric Osterberg says:

    I believe that we are all unique individuals and we only know our own physiology and we do not know other peoples physiology.
    I was born gay and I have knowingly been attracted to the same sex since I was five years old when I had a crush on a boy in the neighborhood.
    I tried to fit into the norm with my peers, even dated some girls and tried necking etc. I was unable to become aroused no matter how attractive the girls were and the reaction of my willy was nada.
    I went into the Navy and put my sexual desires aside, but I found that the Navy was loaded with gay guys as well as straight guys that wanted a BJ.
    I wanted a relationship with a man but all of the social rules that I had been brought up with caused me much confusion.
    Then when I was 20 I remembered the one rule that cleared up the confusion. “Know who you are and be that person.”
    I accepted myself as a gay man and have been happy ever since.
    I found my lifetime partner whom I have been with for almost 49 years. We live in Massachusetts so we have been legally married for 6 1/2 years.
    Good luck to all and be yourself.

  79. Ritch Savin-Williams says:

    The Comments have been fascinating and have raised a number of issues. I have just a couple of additional points to make at this point.

    First, the label “mostly straight” is not one that I imposed on the young men. It was their choice and as such I respect their right to call themselves whatever they want to. I think most young men are not too fond in general of adults labeling their sexuality. By the way, one term I have heard (but am not personally too fond of) from the young men is a “Dude, most of the time.” Not sure that term helps us much…

    Second, most bisexual men are not 50/50 in terms of males/females but can range widely. The diversity is huge. Some predominantly fall in love with one sex and have sex with the other; some have sexual attractions for one sex but never have sex with such individuals; some can be 90/10, 60/40, or any combination; some have times when they want to “be with” one sex and not the other and then at a later time switch this; some have partners of both sexes at the same time. You’ve got to love the options!

    Third, very few of the 160 young men I interviewed believed the “born bisexual” explanation. Nearly all believed in a genetic, born that way view.

    Ritch.

  80. i love the sexual ambiguity that is well explained here. Well, I am mostly gay, i have had fleeting hetero feelings around certain women and situations. I like to hear about the other side of this, too: mostly hetero guys with occasional same-sex attractions.

  81. Why does there need to be a label? And more specifically, why is it a requirement that we create sub-categories in addition to gay, straight or bi-sexual?

    People will do what they do. Some are straight, some are gay and some are both. Only the most naive of us fail to recognize this. But this whole “mostly straight” or “homoflexible” stuff is ridiculous. If you like men and women you’re bi-sexual. Period. The term does not imply an exact 50/50 split between the sexes, it just means you’re into both men and women.

    But regarding one of the comments, I’m curious what you mean by “The more we make non-sexual cuddling and touching with other guys a part of our lives, the more it should be accepted in a homophobic-based society.”

    I accept that some people do that and if that’s what floats their boat, wonderful. Have at it. But I certainly do not want to make cuddling with male friends a part of my life. That would be awkward and uncomfortable and unpleasant, and I don’t feel that’s homophobic or ignorant at all. Why would I ever want to do something in my personal life that made me uncomfortable? Again, I’m fine with others doing it, but in no way do I want that to part of my life.

    • Torotorotoro says:

      On the other hand, why does it matter if they choose to call themselves heteroflexible/mostly straight/whatever they choose? It’s their label, not yours, right? Let they identify as they choose; it’s not hurting you.

      Nothin’ else against your comment, just chiming in with this.

      • Point taken, people can call themselves whatever they want.

        Then again, if one of these terms ends up sticking then everyone will be called that even if it doesn’t fit them. My main point was the term bi-sexual is technically correct. You enjoy sexual intimacy with both sexes. That’s the long and short of all this right? So I guess I’m wondering why further clarification is necessary.

        • Torotorotoro says:

          I feel like just saying “they enjoy sexual intimacy with both sexes” is glossing over what they actually feel, honestly. You say bisexual and my thoughts would not be anywhere near most of these people (for better or for worse). Mostly straight/heteroflexible/along those lines? I grok that a lot better; it’s a clearer term to describe how they feel about themselves, it explains them better than “bisexual” does.

          And really, if people insist on calling everyone by a new term it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy, which is kinda why I made the point of “let people define themselves how they will”. Yes, a new term could (potentially) spread to be applied to a lot of people. It wouldn’t be accurate because it isn’t their own self-definition. So you get people trying to find a term that does fit them (let’s face it, society likes its labels and isn’t content to leave people as people) – but so long as we insist on trying to peg “everyone who acts as x is y” we’ll just see more and more stuff like this (especially since Internet makes like meet like more often).

          So yeah. Sorry for ramblin’.

  82. People are SO uncomfortable with the word or concept of bisexuality, and with ambiguity in general, that they try to make a number of additional caveats, to try to explain themselves. Sexuality is a spectrum — most people fit within that spectrum (see the Kinsey Reports), anywhere from 99% straight to 99% gay — very few are actually 100% of either or exactly 50-50%. But because bisexuality is so taboo, it is seen as negative both to straight and gay lifestyles, and many people will go to great lengths to avoid it, even switching from “straight” to “gay” to “straight” labels over their lifetime, as their partnerships change.

    I hope as these articles continue, they also interview and research older men — in their 30s and beyond — who have had different relationships over their lifetime. Younger men have accepted that it is ok to be straight or gay — but an openly bisexual male is still controversial for most people, because it conjures up an images of promiscuity, which is a false stereotype.

  83. Sexuality is a continuum even more flexible than gender; good for people becomes comfortable with that reality.

    • “Sexuality is a continuum even more flexible than gender; good for people becomes comfortable with that reality.”

      I agree with this sentiment.

      We all need at times to be comforted, held and touched. Even straight men. The more we make non-sexual cuddling and touching with other guys a part of our lives, the more it should be accepted in a homophobic-based society.

  84. BUT THIS DOESN’T FIT MY RIGID WORLDVIEW ON HUMAN SEXUAL PREFERENCES.

    Seriously though:

    “These men aren’t bisexuals in disguise. They’re not closeted gay men seeking the privileges afforded to heterosexuals in society. They’re not simply tired of sex with women.”

    What? Does a “straight” man really just bone another dude because he is bored of women? (Spoiler alert: NO)

    “I might have been gay if I’d been raised differently.”

    Are you kidding me? Just like all those gay kids who could have been straight but their parents didn’t raise them the right way? Sorry gays, your parents didn’t try hard enough.

    “Aren’t we all born bisexual and culture pushes us one way or another?”

    …..No?

    This is an important topic even though I feel that it was approached the wrong way. We don’t need more sexual preference “buckets” to fit people into, we need to acknowledge that there are a lot of factors that determine who we are sexually/emotionally/irrationally attracted to. Gender is the one we pay attention to because it is the most visually obvious. For a lot of people, gender preference isn’t completely set in stone, and that is when the rigid gay/straight bullshit starts to fall apart.

    • I agree. We don’t need more buckets… labels if you will. Everyone is looking for a description though. How do you describe yourself? How do you relate to others? Maybe at some point, marriage will have no meaning except that it will be exclusive. Maybe at some point, people will be free to date who they want and how they want without stereotypes of gay/straight……..

    • “I might have been gay if I’d been raised differently.”

      Are you kidding me? Just like all those gay kids who could have been straight but their parents didn’t raise them the right way? Sorry gays, your parents didn’t try hard enough.

      You are jumping to this conclusion on your own. No one is saying parents didn’t “try” hard enough one way or another, but that sometimes our sexualities are made to be what they are by outside forces.

      The quote above sounds like a gay whose parents DID “try hard enough.” And silencing this guy’s sexuality worked. That instead of being nurtured to follow his own instincts, he was told what his sexuality would be.

      This concept shouldn’t be too alien to the gay world. Isn’t this why gays married and even had children to cover up appearances, leading a double-life in the background? Why a lot of these “straight-actors” are the way they are?

      I really truly think that sexuality can be influenced one way or another; not that it SHOULD be, but that it just is. This is why we have strange cases like these; guys just can’t be who they are.

      I have a feeling that a lot of “straights” out there are denying their bi, “mostly-straight” side for whatever reason. (family, friends, church etc…) It was forced into repression by a hard society. Yes, I think these guys would be openly “bi,” “mostly straight,” or even “gay” if they were given the chance to nurture that part of themselves.

    • “I might have been gay if I’d been raised differently.”

      As far as I can tell, this is NOT a reference to “turning” anyone one way or another. It is a reference to the fact that, particularly in American culture, young men are socialized to believe that gayness = weakness (because almost all of the gay role models we see in the media are campy or portrayed as such). Weakness does not gel with standard definitions of masculinity, and if you are not masculine, you are not a man. Therefore, accepting your homosexual desires presents a fundamental challenge to your gender identity. Following this logic, if you are not a man you are “obviously” more of a woman, and man > woman. So identifying as “gay” knocks you down on the totem pole to the same status level as women. “Ew!” say the followers of this logic (subconsciously, of course, since open misogyny is only cool in rap music)… and so, in order to preserve boys’ self esteem and sense of supremity, and mold them into nice status-quo-supporting, binary-gender-and-traditional-sexual-identity-supporting, patriarchy-supporting angels, socialization pushes them in the direction of heterosexuality (“for their own good – and safety”). I think what this man is saying is that, if not for this ludicrous logic and the standard train of thought that follows from it, his fundamental development may have allowed him to be more comfortable embracing his queer desires. Instead, his development has led him to embrace (and prefer) “straightness,” and has well-constructed barriers to break down before it allows complete comfort with fluidity.

  85. Jacob Burke says:

    “‘Aren’t we all born bisexual and culture pushes us one way or another?’ He challenges homophobic customs and assumptions.”

    –The man you quoted here is not challenging homophobic customs and assumptions. The idea that men are “turned gay”–“pushed one way or another”– is traditionally, if not dogmatically, homophobic. The customs and assumptions herein described are consistent with the idea that we can cure people who are homosexual if only we could “push” them the right way. (Which, even more problematically, begs the question What is the Right Way?)

    I recognize that, unlike homophobic people, he is accepting of homosexuality. Yet still, the vague idea that people listlessly drift towards their sexuality undermines its place within the innermost foundations of the soul. It’s not a hobby, or cultural inkling, or a choice– it’s who people are.

    • When I came out lo those many years ago (I’ve been out almost as long as this kid has been alive!), I had two choices, “gay” or “straight”. That’s it. Bisexuals, pansexuals and queers were just people who stuck their parts wherever they felt like it and were totally marginalized for their refusal to “pick a side”.

      Let’s face it, any person who has come out knows how it feels to be told s/he has “to pick a side”. Bisexuals, even today, are either lumped in as “gay” by the straight community or “gay-in-training” by the gay community. No wonder we have so many miserable gay men walking around today; they don’t feel comfortable with the “gay” label because they aren’t really gay, and we have so many miserable straight guys because they aren’t really “straight”. However society tells them they have to be one way or the other!

      Add to that the whole debate about “straight privilege” when a bisexual man settles down with a woman, and you’ve got some majorly messed up men who are being forced into an identity by the gay community.

      I agree 100% with the young men in this article, they are forced to choose by our culture, which refuses to acknowledge sexual fluidity and insists on a label for everything.

      • reallypeople says:

        i think people just like to label things too much, if they cant pinpoint something exactly it makes them nervous. as a lesbian who has (occasionally still does) slept with men i consider myself 100% lesbian because though i can lay with a man i can’t connect with or see myself putting up with one for the rest of my life.
        i say love who you can while you can regardless of what’s between the legs!

        • Ritch Savin-Williams says:

          You’ll find no disagreement from me on this!

        • @ReallyPeople-If you actually were really a Lesbian you wouldn’t be having sex with men at all.

          You’re bisexual but closeted about your real sexuality. Get over your internalized biphobia.

          • @ Sam: I think the point of this article is that these things are much more nuanced and that self-identification is important. In other words, there’s no reason for you to totally shut down realpeople for how they self-identify.

            • @Tali: Amen to that. Self-identification is the most important (if not most socially consequential) part. Labels make life easier for those removed from the situation, but harder for those who don’t fit the labels perfectly.

              @Jacob: I don’t think the man quoted in the article was intending to support the notion of cultural binaries. In fact, I think he may have been criticizing the fact that we are socialized to only think in categories. In this sense, I agree with Dave. And in regard to your comment that sexuality is not a cultural inkling, but has foundations in the soul… perhaps that is true for you (and happens to also be true for me). But sexuality in itself is not the same for everyone. For some, sexual fluidity is recreational… and there is nothing wrong with that. We shouldn’t try to push anyone into any category, that’s for sure (@Sam). That is counterproductive and only supports homophobic categorization of what is (for many if not all) a fluid, everchanging aspect of self.

      • Out of respect to other members of the LGBT community, although I identify as pansexual, if I’m in a relationship that APPEARS heterosexual, I hold onto an ally status but recognize that my relationship is privileged because it “looks” straight. I’m not getting judged for being a bisexual dating a bisexual if we’re in a relationship where our non-heterosexual orientations are invisible.

        It sucks sometimes to not take part in those conversations, but for myself, I feel disrespectful saying “oh but I’m oppressed too!” when, really, I’m not. I can hold hands with my partner in public or kiss goodbye when we go our separate ways on the sidewalk, and when we go to restaurants we are treated as a couple automatically.

        This is off-topic a little, and I like that there’s a good discussion about there being more than two (or three, or five) sexual orientations just like I think there are more than two genders, but we live in a binary world and need to be respectful of people whose selves really have to face that head-on every day of their lives.

        • Ritch Savin-Williams says:

          Unfortunately, in research the option of identifying as “pansexual” is seldom given. Yet, when so offered usually 1-2% (usually women) will so identify. When I do workshops for youth, pansexual is far more commonly endorsed. Here is a topic that is ripe for an aspiring graduate student! Ritch.

        • “I feel disrespectful saying “oh but I’m oppressed too!” when, really, I’m not. I can hold hands with my partner in public or kiss goodbye when we go our separate ways on the sidewalk, and when we go to restaurants we are treated as a couple automatically.”

          Yeah. But can you tell your partner you sometimes find people of the same sex attractive? Or do you have to keep it a secret because it “grosses” him/her out? I think that’s the real litmus test right there.

          Not being able to share my full being with people with whom I’m supposed to be in an open, trusting relationship is, to me, “oppression.”

          Telling other gay guys “hey, I like guys too,” and then to be told “yeah, whatever, you’re gay but you don’t want to come out” (when I’m coming out to YOU) is, to me “oppression.”

          • ron zacchi says:

            What happened to pomosexual? It stands for a post modern sexuality where gender is irrelevant. I believe that best describes me.

            I do have to agree with someone who posted earlier though- I was called butch Ron all through college because I didn’t fit in the gay world. I was told that I would come down from the bi ledge at some point. I was told this even though I was out from when I was 13 and they were just coming out in college. I still laugh today when I think about how follish and arrogant they were.

        • I completely disagree with your point. First of all, the only way you won’t face opression is if no one realizes you’re bi. I find that a litle hard to happen, unless you stop talking abt your past romantic history, abt your crushes, ppl you find atractive, etc. Trust me, a homophobic person doesn’t care if you’re in an oposite-sex relationship. If they perceive you as queer, you’re still the enemy (for some of them, even more so, because you had the ”choice” of living an exclusively heterosexual life, and you didn’t).

          Also, there’s more than one research showing that bi ppl are more affected by some aspects of heteronormativity than gay/lesbian ppl. As an example, Brazilian researches showing bi teenagers atempt suicide in a greater number than lesbian/gay teens, and Australian researches showing bi women are more prone to binge drinking, depression, and sexual assault (among other things). The stereotype of the bisexual woman as an oversexed unstable creature makes us easy targets of creepy pervs who think they’ll have their way with us, and have no need to show respect because we hump everything that moves.

          But the real point here is not that: the point is ”bisexual” is the word that reflects my identity. THAT’S my way of loving, THAT’S my way of relating to ppl. I don’t lose my identity when I date a man, and I certainly won’t be letting go of the word that best describes ME for the sake of not offending ppl who think there’s only so much opression to go around. I’m not straight, I’m not ”mostly” straight, I’m not an ally. I’m BISEXUAL, always have been, always will be, and that doesn’t change based on the gender of the person I happen to love.

  86. I don’t fall into any of the cliche’s that my homosexual or more equally bisexual friends fall into. I’m not at all camp or in any way cliche queer – I am if anything, cliche hetero-normative – apart from occasionally enjoying sex with men.

    I don’t think straight but not narrow, bending a little, or hetero flexible applies to me. It diminishes I think the significance of my interest in men – but bisexual I think exaggerates it. I guess Mostly Straight is an accurate term – but I’d be reluctant to use it – because it comes with all the context and implications of straight. I don’t think you can add a modifier to straight or hetero and convey the message that you have a genuine sexual interest in other men. I think it just identifies you as open minded, or possibly a straight guy who likes catching from your girlfriend from time to time. And for a lot of guys I know who share my preference for women, but interest in men – that’s not the case.

    I’ve taken to self identifying as bisexual under a least flawed rationalization – because I like boys and girls, and like boys more than I think is implied by any kind of modified phrasing of straight. But it’s misleading because I don’t like boys and girls equally. I’m a reasonably sexually active guy – and my female sexual partners dramatically out number my male sexual partners. In terms of frequency – I doubt sexual encounters involving other men make up even a single percentage of all my sexual history. But I’m not some straight, or even close enough to it that I feel comfortable adding a qualifier to straight to describe myself.

    I wish that language better suited describing what I am. But I’m much more comfortable being complicated, than I would be being pigeon holed.

    • Just to help you out a bit here (I know that sounds pretentious); Bisexual has never meant “equally attracted to both sexes”. Bi- as a prefix simply means two, or both. So saying your Bisexual doesn’t mean you’re equally attracted to both, in fact most in the Bi community reject that belief. Unfortunately, most outside of it *don’t* reject that belief. So therein I suppose lies your problem.

    • Kristi (Kris) says:

      A term I have used before for my sexual orientation is ‘dependent’… As it is dependent upon the person and our connection more than any particular gender or stereotype of ‘person’ (think dyke, camp, etc. type labels). I’ve dated across the gender spectrum, so even bisexual (for me) doesn’t fit, and pansexual makes people think of sex with food. Not what I was going for! I’ve also called myself open and non-defining. Right now, when someone asks, I just say my orientation is ‘Yes!’… As it is. If we click, my orientation is towards you, and not necessarily related to your genitalia.

      • Huh. I like your response. Kinda like in “Chasing Amy” when she said she wasn’t only into guys or only into girls, but that she was open to falling for either. And she went on to say, why limit who you can potentially love to just guys or just girls? Be open to both! More choice! Bang on.

    • Scootah,

      The most inclusive term that you could use would be ‘queer’. This word is not hateful as would have connoted in the past. It is simply a term for any person who does not wish to be restricted to sexual normative categories. I myself am a male-bodied person with a male-bodied partner who, at this point in my life have only had sex with men, so I use the identifier ‘gay’ only in a casual sense or when talking to those who I don’t think would grasp the concept of queer, despite truly identifying as queer.

      Thanks!

    • I think people shouldn’t be pigeon holed to be gay or straight or even bi. If Dillon feels he is “mostly straight” than that is how he is defining his sexuality. No one should define it for him but himself.

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