The Sexperiment: Straight Men - Gay Action
Derrick never expected the evening to end like this.
He’d been at his straight boss’ birthday party and drank a bit too much, so Marco offered to drive him home. Derrick and Marco had met a few times and always hit it off, having a similar sense of humor and a shared passion for sports and working out. Marco was straight, knew Derrick was gay, and that never bothered him. In fact, he would always play along like a guy would with any of his friends.
“We’d done this kind of joke-flirting thing before, but it was just that: a joke,” Derrick says. “Marco is totally cute and really athletic, but he’s straight. He’s always hooking up with girls. If anything, I thought he was this awesome guy who was cool around gay people.”
But outside of Derrick’s apartment, the sober Marco gave him a goodbye hug that lasted longer than one would expect. Derrick instinctively responded. When they broke off the embrace Marco held his face close to Derrick's, gave a small smile and said, “Wanna go inside? No one’s gotta know...”
And did Derrick do it?
It’s no surprise that some gay men desire straight dudes. There’s the thrill of the hunt, a rush with obtaining a forbidden object, or even an inherent excitement in entering a sexually dangerous scenario. There are also straight chasers with poor self-esteems, whose psyches prefer being booted by a heterosexual because then the rejection isn’t due to being too old, out of shape, or ugly (whether or not the person really is any of those things). Then there is the unconscious political motivation, which implies that scoring a straight man is superior to having a gay guy because they are considered more valuable by society.
But why would a straight-identified man want to have sex with a homo? This isn’t simply a matter of being on “The Down-Low,” which is as much a complex cultural phenomenon as it is about sexual mores in society; rather, these are heterosexual guys seeking sexual gratification that only willing homosexuals can provide.
“I do the rodeo circuit, and when you have booze and testosterone you’re going to get horny guys,” says Will from Houston. “I’m sure a few of them know I'm gay, but I keep that really quiet. Then if someone doesn’t hook up that night I’m more than happy to do him in my truck.” Will smiles, adding, “When you’re horny, any mouth will do.”
The horny hetero is a common story in gay fiction and porn, but as sexologist Winston Wilde explains, “There are a lot of reasons why straight men have sex with gay men, and I don’t think that it’s because they’re on their way to becoming gay, which is what a lot of gay people want to think.” For example, while Will may be a convenient outlet, Derrick discovered something altogether different about Marco.
“He told me that his ex-girlfriend used to finger him, then they started playing with toys,” says Derrick. “I love my ass, too, so I get it.” During their conversation Marco didn’t spend time defending that he was straight; instead, he talked about his sex life with a certain sense of freedom. “It was like he expected me to be cool with the conversation because I was gay and more open to these kinds of things.”
“There are actually more straight guys who like their butts played with than there are gay guys who like their butts played with because there are a lot more straight people,” observes Wilde. “Percentage wise, about 50% of gay men like their butts played with and about 10% of the straight world, but in the studies I’ve seen [about] 4% of the male population is gay, so that’s a lot more straight guys getting their butts fucked than gay guys.”
This straight-male behavior was first discovered during the late 1980s when AIDS researchers wanted to find ways to help men lower their risk of HIV transmission. Researchers journeyed into places like back room bars, bathhouses, and parks where public sex was a known factor, and found that a lot of the interviewed men were straight identified.
And those are men who are willing to enter a bathhouse, which holds the stigma of being a gay destination. For every one of them, Wilde suggests that there are a hundred others who find gay sex through more discreet means. They’re known as “Men Who Have Sex with Men” (MSM), which is a sexological term that was originally invented to mean, “non-gay, non-bi men who have sex with men,” Wilde explains. The term has since been adapted to now include gay men as well.
“I served in Iraq for nine months and I got laid three times,” says Darius, from New York. Each of his partners had wives and believed he had a girlfriend back home, but they were also relatively young men—between 18 and 23—whereas Darius is in his mid-thirties and played an almost “big brother” role. “It was more playing around than anything else. Definitely no kissing, but it was still pretty great.”
Darius’s story conveys two interesting points in terms of straight/gay sex. The first is that any time you have a gender-segregated society you’re going to have some same sex behavior among heterosexual people, such as in the military or prisons. But as an older and seemingly more stable figure, “They could talk to me about stuff that was bothering them, real intense stuff that younger guys couldn’t articulate,” Darius explains. “It was pretty intimate, and we got really close.”
“I think it’s a disability for the majority of heterosexual men that if they don’t have a girlfriend they have no one to talk to,” observes Wilde. “So I think for a lot of these guys, finding an older gay man who’s loving and compassionate and patient can be a really meaningful experience for them.”
Another group worth considering are men who love penis but not the man attached to it. Phallus worship is seen throughout history and images of the penis can still be found in cities outside the United States. This leads sexologists to suggest that the very idea of “gay and straight” is merely a social construct held up by a Judeo/Christian-based society and if it didn’t exist there would probably be more open MSMs.
Take the Fa'afafine from Samoa, which is a so-called “third gender” or subset of males who live as women and adopt traditional female roles like cooking, cleaning, and raising children. They aren’t transgendered, but they only have sex with heterosexual men and in Somoan culture that’s acceptable. Similarly there are the mahu in Hawaii or rae rae in French Polynesia. And none of this takes into account the numerous heterosexual men who are in relationships with pre or post-op transsexuals, transvestites and cross dressers; obviously, being a het isn’t as straight as it once appeared.
“It’s a fascinating and complex issue because there are so many perspectives and stories,” observes Wilde.
Ultimately, as society matures and becomes more tolerant of homosexuality, it appears as though there will be even more straight men willing to cross the great sexuality divide and enjoy the pleasures only another man can provide. Indeed, from horniness and male-only environments, to wood worshippers and men who love butt play, there seems to be no end in sight. And as Wilde observes, “There are always going to be gay guys willing to give these straight guys a hand.”