Straight guys doin’ it with each other

The lovely Petuniacat gave me this link to an article in New York Magazine called Why Straight Men Have Sex With Each Other. This claim appears ridiculous at first glance, but the contents make a lot of sense.

“There’s a pretty clear gender divide in how Americans deal with straight people who dabble in gay activity. When heterosexual women make out with one another at a bar or party, it’s generally understood that they’re simply playing around for attention, or exploring the fluid space that is female sexuality. When heterosexual men hook up with each other, on the other hand, it’s seen either as an act born of desperation — think men who are locked up — or an indication that while they may claim to be straight, they really aren’t — think disgraced GOP members of Congress. When straight women hook up with other straight women, no real explanation is required; when straight men hook up with other straight men, it’s a different story.

This divide stems from a common understanding of human sexuality: The female variety of it is more malleable, more inherently open to experimentation and variety, than the male variety. In Not Gay: Sex Between Straight White Men, out last month from NYU Press, Jane Ward, an associate professor of women’s studies at the University of California, Riverside, makes the case that this is a flawed understanding. In doing so, she shows that homosexual contact has been a regular feature of heterosexual life ever since the concepts of homo- and heterosexuality were first created — not just in prisons and frat houses and the military, but in biker gangs and even conservative suburban neighborhoods. Given how prevalent this behavior is in so many different sorts of settings, Ward suggest it’s time to stop explaining it away — and argues that society’s conception of male heterosexuality is an unrealistic, expedient one.”

The author of this post correctly identifies that same-sex sexual behavior is pretty common among both males and females, but lacks a thorough understanding of why that behavior is viewed differently depending on who’s engaging in it. To really understand this situation, you have to do a feminist analysis of gender roles and patriarchy.

Julie Bindel named the real reason for homophobia in her book Straight Expectations, which I reviewed here.

“Anti-gay bigotry is rooted in misogyny. Without one the other would not exist. If gay men were allowed to be non-macho and lesbians were not under pressure to uphold the feminine ideal that makes us distinct from men, neither lesbians nor gay men would be a threat. Women and girls are severely punished for rejecting men sexually, and men are isolated and rejected for denying their role of foot soldier in the war against female emancipation and liberation.” Julie Bindel, Straight Expectations, p30

 

“The anti-gay agenda is fuelled by the need to keep women in their place—in other words, within heterosexual relationships—to ensure that patriarchy survives and is effective.” Julie Bindel, Straight Expectations, p34

Although conservatives love to hate gay sex, it’s not really the sex act that pisses them off, it’s the non-conformity to the gender roles that uphold patriarchy.

If two feminine women kiss each other for men’s entertainment, their behavior will be almost universally approved of by men because they are, in fact, fulfilling their role as sex object for the male gaze. What the establishment really hates is unfeminine women who refuse their role in patriarchy by looking androgynous or masculine and opting not to become a wife and mother and not being sexually available or sexually appealing to men. In addition, same-sex behavior between women is viewed as less serious a problem that the same behaviors between men because there’s no penis involved, and there is no consensus that this can even be defined as sex, since the patriarchy defines sex as when a man puts his penis into a thing. Men absolutely love patriarchy-compliant women who have sex with other patriarchy-compliant women, as evidenced by men’s love for threesomes and “lesbian” porn. (And for an excellent critique of so-called “lesbian” porn, see this.) But if a lesbian wears comfortable clothes and wants to be treated as a full human being and sets boundaries that exclude men, then she’ll be punished severely.

The author of this article does mention the word “patriarchy” but only briefly, and attributes most of the differences to women’s supposedly more “fluid” sexuality.

So here’s an example of straight men having sex with each other:

“You take readers on sort of a 20th-century American tour of heterosexual dabbling in homosexual behavior, and there was never a lack of evidence that such dabbling took place. You write about homosexual activity within biker gangs, for example — one Hell’s Angel, enthusiastically describing having gay sex for cash, memorably told Hunter S. Thompson, “Shit, man, the day they call me queer is when I let one of these faggos suck on me for less than a tenner.” This stuff was sort of always going in all sorts of different situations and cultural contexts, right?”

Do you see how this man is engaging in homosexual behavior while making it clear he’s not a “faggot”? What he’s doing is asserting his masculinity and saying that because he is masculine, he’s not gay. Because it’s not sucking dicks that is the problem, the problem is men being insufficiently masculine.

The author talks about male-on-male sex in prisons and the military, and mentions the excuse men use that “there aren’t women around, they’re desperate.” But she also points something out that I think is true—that men are “manufacturing reasons to touch each other’s anuses.” Straight men are really in love with male anatomy. I used to read MRA sites and they regularly write long odes to their penises and sperm. They think that dicks are the most amazing things in the world. Give a straight man a writing utensil of any kind, and the first thing he’ll do is draw a dick and balls. Straight men definitely love dicks as much as gay men do. Women who have been gang-raped sometimes remark that it seemed as though the men were bonding with each other and appeared to want to actually fuck each other, but only used a woman in order to pretend it was a heterosexual act.

Then the author talks about ads on Craigslist where supposedly straight men are looking for other straight men to have “heterosexual” encounters with.

“Seeking a MASCULINE JACK OFF BUD to STR8 PORN — 29. Hot masculine white dude here … looking for another hot white dude to come by my place, and work out a hot load side by side. Straight Porn only. Prefer str8, surfer, etc. Not usually into gaydudes.”

This guy is looking for another man to jerk off with but he’s making it very clear that he’s MASCULINE and looking for another MASCULINE man. No gay dudes! See, it’s totally okay for men to do stuff together as long as they’re MASCULINE and not faggots. Because the sex act is fine, as long as you conform to your gender role.

A man who is masculine but jerks off with other masculine men and puts down feminine men is still fulfilling his role in patriarchy.

What you won’t ever see is straight men admitting that they love their male friends, that they love bonding with men in sometimes intimate ways, that they’re curious to try homosexual acts just to see what they’re like. You won’t see them bonding in caring and sensitive ways. They couldn’t do this because they’d lose their masculinity. Losing your masculinity is one of the scariest things men can think of. It means they will be severely punished by other men and they will lose their male privilege.

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18 thoughts on “Straight guys doin’ it with each other

  1. I think it’s probably a general truth, the above, but there are always going to be cultures, places and men who don’t do that straight man homophobia described thing – like the Hells Angels thing.

    I’ve often heard straight men emphasise how much they love this man friend or the other man friend. Poor men. Poor men can be very different. I live, and have lived in very impoverished places, and they’re not all dens of bigotry as described; there can be tons of careless eccentricity and liberality mong the very poor, is my experience. I mean I even know a man who’s had to hide his girlfriend, who is one of my friends, from his gay father for 20+ years, because his father is so against him being heterosexual and insists upon him only being gay.

    I often have been puzzled by hearing women who are leabians, (no offence meant to anyone), talk about people not liking them “for being gay”, when it seemed to me it was their not dressing or acting girlie or ideal nurturing woman like which was the reason why people disliked them. Because, as a “lipstick lesbian” I was very popular with everyone, at work/career and socially – it was only on the women’s scene and with large groups of gay men I was disliked. Even more so as a bisexual polyamorous woman, except from a few religious people. Which brings me too – I know the less mainstream strict religious cultures and I really doubt that they’re all okay and blase with straight women making out together in bars – as I ‘ve said, I think this article is all kind of mainstream in it’s validity.

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  2. Yes! I obviously need to read more Bindel! I came to this conclusion on my own but I’m glad to see it’s shared! Homophobia is totally about misogyny. I’ve known for years about straight guys’ proclivities for each other and the danger for them of ever admitting that. Patriarchal views are so fuckin toxic it makes my head spin.

    I’ve actually suggested my straight, misogynist roommates marry one another for the benefits (they’re also extremely cheap and almost never pass up a good deal). I’m pretty sure that if misogyny wasn’t a thing, they’d be in a relationship and I don’t mean this insultingly but sort of tongue-in-cheek because they’ve lived together for years and known each other since childhood.

    They’ve both demonstrated their hatred for women in various ways yet continue having sexual relationships with them. It makes complete sense to me why this happens but remains completely fuckin ridiculous. I’ve described patriarchy and capitalism as a house of cards but it almost seems like it could be described as a pressure cooker of fear/insecurity. I think a lot of the worst MRAs are good evidence of how patriarchy is costly for everyone.

    Liked by 5 people

        • To be honest, I always tend to feel more safe with men’s men who go in for these huge bromances. Men who are really into focusing on women can be creepy and controlling, quite apart from draining.

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    • You have misogynist roommates? Must be terrible.
      What did they say to your suggestion that they get gay married?

      Actually, I would marry a female friend for the benefits, if I had friends both close and eccentric enough to want to do that. Seems like a great way of undermining the unfair tax exemptions for childless, heterosexual couples.
      (Another problem is that that tax exemption is tailored specially to subsidize men’s live-in servants (housewives), so it would only work for friends where one earns much more than the other)

      Liked by 1 person

  3. The number of men claiming to be straight, yet “role-playing” as women online, is mind-boggling. Even worse is the way those men portray women. They act out their hateful misogyny in the worst ways – and when a woman actually calls them out, she is subjected to the worst verbal abuse imaginable. Happens to me all of the time…I’ve literally been “blackballed” from some communities and guilds for pointing out their selective outrage and ridiculous bias.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Wow. This is phenomenal. PurpleSage you’re a good writer.

    Female sexuality is just inherently “fluid”? Yeah when we’re aroused our underpants get wet… Beyond that though I don’t think so.

    Still digesting this. it’s true isn’t it, homophobia does come from misogyny. And then there are all these rules imposed about what men can’t do. There was an art thing by what’s her name in the 80s, Barbara Kruger. Here’s her art

    http://www.arthistoryarchive.com/arthistory/feminist/Barbara-Kruger.html

    Hey, she was the predecessor to memes! And one of them is an old black-and-white picture of teenage boys in school uniforms jumping around and grabbing at each other. The caption she put on it was “You Invent a Elaborate Rituals in Order to Touch Each Other’s Bodies”.

    But the thing is all of these crazy rules that make people unhappy, that’s what sex roles are. That’s what the transgender movement, the non-sparklegender part of it anyway, is all about and in favour of. And they are allowed to yammer without having to defend sex roles as a good thing.

    But yeah, sex roles are not just bad for women. OK that’s a really bland thing to say but there it is.

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  5. Thank you for this. I had understood homophobia as fear based (not just because phobia is part of the word ). But I had not been able to solve the problem of what the fear actually centered on… The loss of masculinity and male privilege makes a lot of sense out of the situation.

    It had interested me that ancient Greek culture bro love relations were normal and not defined as something other. In fact were an expression of not a threat to masculinity.

    On another note… The acceptability of lesbianism as long as it serves a penis, me and my mate used to joke about one day bringing one of these “can I get in on that ” males that refuses to fuck off home, going in the bedroom, coming out with huge ass strapons on and asking him which one of us he wants to take first …. It was just joking around but truth be told most men wouldn’t like what would happen if those wish ” dip me in honey and throw me to the lesbians ” was actually fulfilled.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Pingback: “Fluid sexuality” for women, “straight sexuality” for men. | The Prime Directive

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