Published on August 7th, 2013 | by Healthy Gay Lifestyles0
Why Some Gay Men Are Attracted to Straight Men
by Joe Kort, Ph.D.
Singer-songwriter Steve Grand’s music video for his song “All-American Boy” is an overnight Web sensation, having gone viral within weeks of being posted on YouTube.
The song is about a gay young man who has a crush on and falls in love with a straight young man. It is a beautiful love story about innocence, first love and attraction. It is a tale of unrequited love.
In “All-American Boy,” the gay guy unwittingly falls for a straight guy. He doesn’t realize the guy isn’t gay and receives false signals that there might be interest. Perhaps he even wants to see an interest. It isn’t uncommon for a gay guy’s first crush to be on a straight guy. Where love points doesn’t have a sexual orientation. In other words, you fall in love with the same or opposite gender regardless of that person’s sexual orientation. It is an innocent mistake early on to crush on a straight guy.
There are many gay men who have fantasies and desires about being sexual with straight men, and nothing’s inherently wrong with these sexual scenarios.
The problem is when their attraction is limited only to straight men and thus blocks them from enjoying genuine relationships with other gay men. Over the years, I’ve seen gay men focusing on and obsessing over straight men, and I have discovered many reasons that they do so.
Growing up male demands rejecting everything feminine, and by doing that you’ll gain supposedly admittance into the masculine brotherhood, becoming a man among men, a privileged position. Straight men often view gay men as embracing the feminine and therefore “kick them out.”
While growing up, gay men experience rejection and alienation from straight men, so it only makes sense that parts of our psyches are longing to connect with them, bond with them and, ultimately, try to be one of them. We may even try to have sex with them.
Following are some reasons I’ve seen that some gay men are primarily sexually attracted to straight men:
This is the easiest reason to cite. Gay men who haven’t acknowledged or addressed their gay shame and internalized homophobia find themselves attracted to unavailable men. If one of these unavailable men did return the gay man’s interest and became emotionally available, that would confirm that the gay man is indeed gay and force him to deal with all the issues of coming out, let alone being half of a gay couple.
Whenever I hear the label “straight-acting,” I cringe, because to gay men, usually it really means “masculine-acting.” Whenever “masculine” is defined as “straight,” that’s a form of internalized homophobia, implying that gay men can’t act masculine. Of course, there are plenty of masculine gay men, and there’s nothing inherently “straight” about masculinity.
Simply because we know that we cannot have straight men, that might enhance our desire to want them. The dangers involved in hitting on a straight man and the risks of humiliation and verbal and physical harassment can actually add to sexual arousal.
Straight Men Represent Authority
A common scenario in gay porn is the hot military officer, policeman, boss, coach, teacher or other straight authority figure who forces himself onto a gay man, with both of them ultimately enjoying it. This allows gay men to feel desired — or at least accepted — by a certifiably straight man and lets them feel good about being dominated. Of course, when this happens in reality, outside the realm of sexual role-play, it’s horrifying — but it’s pleasantly, safely disguised in sexual fantasy.
Sexual fantasies about straight men can be displaced longings for acceptance by straight guys in general. Arousing a straight guy may suggest (consciously or not) that you’re special enough to win his “affection.”
Straight men can represent our fathers and other male caregivers, including our priests, coaches, teachers and other men in who would be in positions of authority. When we become gay adults, sexualizing those straight “daddy figures” gives our unconscious a way to feel safely attached to them. The sexual fantasy of pleasuring a straight guy lets you make intimate contact with him and finally win your “father” over. You receive a straight man’s approval — which you’ve always wanted.
Gay porn abounds with fantasies set in fraternities. During initiation, frat brothers humiliate the pledges, notice that one gay guy’s enjoying himself, and ultimately overpower him — to everyone’s erotic satisfaction. The frat brothers get to stay straight, dominant and in-charge, while the gay pledge gets his acceptance and the sense of belonging he’s always longed for. Everybody — and every body — wins.
Power and Control
Some gay men fantasize about seducing straight men and/or forcing them into gay sex. These fantasies can offer exciting fun, but getting preoccupied with them or acting on them, even with a willing straight male, won’t help you in the long run, if in fact you’re looking for Mr. Right. It can also distract you from examining your own issues and conflicts in dealing with straight males.
If any gay man enjoys fantasies about straight men, I suggest that he explore his relationships with his father — and with all the other important, influential straight men in his life. Not having received a father’s acceptance and unconditional love, you can transfer that longing onto a series of straight men you admire so much.
In and of itself, there’s nothing wrong with this. After all, people work out all types of challenges by maintaining relationships. For gay men attracted mostly or only to heterosexual men, the solution is to discover what you find so compelling about straight men. If it has to do with belonging and acceptance, then join groups and organizations where you befriend straight men without the bond turning sexual, which will only leave you feeling empty and alone. If you have unresolved issues with your father, go to him and work them through. If that’s not feasible, then find a therapist to help put them to rest. That way, you will no longer seek a relationship that seems to promise what your father didn’t or couldn’t provide.
While you’re out dating, go ahead and make an effort to seek out masculine guys. Strike up conversations with jocks. Join sport teams that attract men with more testosterone. Study those men closely enough, and you’ll soon learn that every man — even a hyper-masculine type — has some feminine qualities.
Nobody gets everything he wants in a relationship. See straights as potential friends, not partners, and focus on the masculine traits in other gay guys. It is also OK to engage in sex with a straight guy if he is interested. Just know that it will not turn into a relationship given the obvious: He is straight.
The concept of gay men attracted to straight men is often heard by fearful straight guys worried that a gay man might come on to him sexually. The gay male community often tells straight guys to get over themselves and their homophobia and not freak out.
I don’t think this response alone is fair.
Yes, straight guys need to be less reactive, but I see their reactivity as a response, in part, to never having been taught by anyone how to fend off unwanted sexual and romantic advances. We teach young girls what to do when a boy makes a sexual advance toward her and when he won’t take “no” for an answer. We don’t teach young boys. So these men grow up and have a violent response because they don’t know what to do. For straight guys who read this blog post and worry that their gay friend or some other gay guy will hit on him, I say to you, “Learn how to manage your reaction in a healthy way. It is a compliment, and be flattered. Tell the gay guy that you are simply not interested.” Talk to a woman and learn from her how she has managed to fend off unwanted advances.
And maybe take notes on how the straight guy in this video does it — respectfully and in a connected, friendly way, without taking it personally!
Joe Kort, Ph.D. is a psychotherapist, board-certified clinical sexologist, certified sexual addiction therapist, and certified lmago relationship therapist, practising for over 25 years. He is the author of, 10 Smart Things Gay Men Can Do to Improve Their Lives, 10 Smart Things Gay Men Can Do to Find Real Love, and Gay-Affirmative Therapy for the Straight Clinician. www.joekort.com.