Are Gay Men Less Stressed Because They Don’t Have to Prove They’re Straight?

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About Noah Brand

Noah Brand is an Editor-at-Large at Good Men Project, and possibly also a cartoon character from the 1930s. His life, when it is written, will read better than it lived. He is usually found in Portland, Oregon, directly underneath a very nice hat.


  1. One study doesn’t really mean a whole lot. Drawing any sort of wide conclusions from a single study is kind of ridiculous.

    Savage does touch on the fragility of a socially privileged position (straight guy…also whiteness, able-bodiness), but I think it’s far too simple an explanation for different stress levels. It’s attempting to take a very complicated biological condition (stress) and a very complicated set of cultural conditions (social privilege, performativity of gender/sexuality, etc)…and boil it down into a simple cause-effect relationship. Doesn’t work.

    Finally, though, Savage’s take on the freedom queer men have from performing their gender/sexuality, is kind of wrong. Especially as homosexuality has become more and more mainstream, there is now more and more pressure to perform that correctly too. You can’t be “to gay,” or “too feminine,” or risk ridicule. Now it’s certainly true that there is MORE freedom if you’re out of the closet and less pressure to perform masculinity and straightness…but it is by no means gone.

  2. “This is one of those wonderful studies where scientists get to say “contrary to our expectations”, the phrase that often denotes the discovery of useful new information”

    Why is this ‘wonderful’ because it is ‘contrary’? I would say that I would have been stunned to read a different conclusion after seeing the title. There really is only one acceptable view now, and we should be very careful about confusing hard science with the demands of sociology, cultural trends and the zeitgeist.

  3. People comfy with their sexuality are probably more relaxed. People that find a partner are probably more relaxed. I am a straight guy that doesn’t give 2 shits if people think I am gay, as long as the women I am into know I am into them and want to date them. They’ll figure out that I’m not gay soon enough, but it doesn’t really matter what others think as long as I can still date women fine. I’d only be annoyed if it harmed my chances of getting a date with women but I highly doubt most people would think me as gay anyway. I don’t see a point for straight men in worrying about only being seen straight, you know what you are and your partner/s will know too.

  4. I’m guessing the have more regular and fulfilling sex lives than a lot of straight men. A large percentage of straight men are trapped in sexless marriages, of course they’re stressed. Also the gay men and couples I know are generally self sufficient with their own jobs and careers. About half the married guys I know are constantly stressing about taking care of their families and making enough money to keep their non-working wives happy. Heck I even see married couples where both are working, but the wife constantly comes home with stories of how her friend’s husband makes enough money to afford to do this or that, so why can’t we?

  5. I think that heterosexual men are a bad control group.

    To come out as gay you have to be relatively comfortable and confident about yourself.

    Some hetrosexual men would be out gay, if they were gay.
    Some hetrosexual men would be in the closet, if they were gay.

    By removing all of the guys who aren’t in a safe enough position to come out of the closet, you reduce the average stress level in your sample.

  6. I think it’s important to note here that gay men face incredible violence and discrimination for their sexuality, which is usually also a punishment for their gender expression. So do straight men, if they don’t conform. I think gender norm discrimination affects both parties.


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