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Sexual orientation versus behavior—different for men and women?

If you know which sexual orientation people identify with, how much does that tell you about whether they have sex with women, men, or both? How similar or different are the links between identity and behavior for women and men? Building on our post from last June, “Women’s sexual orientation and sexual behavior: How well do they match?” we update the analysis of women to include more recent data and add an analysis of data on men.

We’re using data from the 2002, 2006-2010, and 2011-2013 National Survey of Family Growth for men and women 15 to 44 years of age. Detailed tables, along with how we generated our measures, are in the Appendix at the end of this post. Here we focus on a few specific questions:

How common is it for heterosexual men and women to have sex with same-sex sexual partners?

Unsurprisingly, almost none of the men identifying as heterosexual have had only male sexual partners and only 2% say they have had even one male sexual partner (Table 1). For women, like men, almost none of those who identify as heterosexual have had only female partners, but 10% say they have had at least one same-sex partner, five-times the rate reported by men. (We’ll only mention differences between men and women if they are statistically significant at the .05 level.) In sum, it is more common for heterosexual women than men to have had sex with members of their same sex.

We can get a little closer to assessing how common inconsistency between identity and behavior is by comparing men and women’s current identity with whether they’ve had same-sex sexual partners in the last year. Here we get a much smaller figure—only .4% of men and 2% of women who called themselves heterosexual on the survey report that they had sex with a same-sex partner in the last year (Table 2). Thus, behavior usually aligns with identity in any short (one year) time range. But here too the percent of heterosexuals having same-sex partners is larger for women than men. The graph below shows the percent of each gender that identify as heterosexual but report having had a same-sex partner ever, and in the last year.

mF1How should we interpret the finding that some men and women who identify as heterosexual have had sex with other-sex partners? It may mean that they had sex that doesn’t match their stated sexual orientation at the time, perhaps because of the stigma associated with same-sex partnerships in some quarters. Another possibility is that, although they see themselves as straight now, they identified as gay/lesbian or bisexual at the time they had same-sex partners, so there was no inconsistency between identity and behavior. This is especially plausible regarding with whom one has had sex “ever.” If that is the explanation, then women’s higher rate may mean that they are more likely than men to change the sexual orientation they identify with. But we are speculating; we would need panel data following the same people over time and repeatedly asking about orientation and recent behavior to distinguish (a) changing sexual orientation where behavior and identity are almost always consistent from (b) inconsistency between current identity and current behavior. It is also possible that the way people see their own orientations don’t fit neatly into the three categories provided in the survey in most years, so some respondents choose the best fit of not-well-fitting categories.

How common is it for gay men and lesbians to have sex with other-sex sexual partners?

As the graph below (drawing from Tables 1 and 2) shows, 39% (37% + 2%) of gay men have had a female sexual partner sometime in their lives, whereas a much higher 59% (5% + 54%) of lesbians have had a male sexual partner sometime. The proportion of either gay men or lesbians who have ever had sex with other-sex sexual partners is much larger than the proportion of heterosexual men and women who have had sex with same-sex sexual partners. And it is much larger than the proportion of gays/lesbians who have had sex with an other-sex partner in the last year, 5% (3% + 2%) for men and 18% (5% + 13%) for women.

As for how things differ by gender, it is clear that lesbians are more likely than gay men to have ever had sex with an other-sex sexual partner, whether in the last year (5% for men and 18% for women) or ever (39% for men and 59% for women). The larger share of lesbians than gay man who had other-sex partners in the past year comes both from lesbian being more likely than gay men to have partners of both sexes (13% of lesbians), as well as being more likely to have had sex with only other-sex partners (5% of lesbians).

mF2

Why would this be, that lesbians have sex with men more than gay men have sex with women? One explanation is that women’s sexual attractions don’t fit the three categories allowed by the survey as well, or that women are more likely than men to change the sexual orientation with which they identify. Either can be seen as more fluidity in women’s sexuality than men’s, a topic taken up by Lisa Diamond and Leila Rupp and her coauthors. Another possibility is that either evolution or cultural conditioning make guys the initiators in sex. So it is probably a less likely scenario that a young man who thinks that he may be gay is approached by a woman for sex and acquiesces despite not wanting it, compared to an analogous scenario in which a young queer woman has sex with a man she doesn’t want. Indeed, both lesbians and gay men are likely to have men as their first sexual partners, according to research conducted by Karin Martin and Ritch C. Savin-Williams. In some cases these early partners may have raped them, as indicated by research on the prevalence of sexual assault among gay, lesbian, and bisexual individuals by Emily Rothman and her coauthors. We suspect, however, that greater sexual fluidity among women and the frequency of male initiation contribute more to the gender differences in partnership patterns than sexual assault.

How does the behavior of bisexual men and women differ from that of gay and heterosexual men and women?

Given that the common-sense meaning of the term “bisexual” is an interest in having sex and romantic relationships with men and women, we would expect more bisexual than heterosexual or lesbian/gay individuals to have had sex with both men and women. Indeed, we find that 62% of bisexual men and 73% of bisexual women have (ever) had sex with both sexes, higher than the analogous figures for gay men and lesbians, and drastically higher than the figures for heterosexual men and heterosexual women.

Who have bisexual men and women had sex with in the last year? As the graph below shows, drawing from Table 2, the percent that have had sex with both women and men in the last year is 33% for bisexual men, 27% for bisexual women; 2% for gay men, 13% for lesbians; and 0.4% for heterosexual men, and 2% for heterosexual women. Thus, as we would expect, bisexuals are much more likely than either gays/lesbians or straight men or women to have had sex with both sexes. They are also more likely to have had sex only with other-sex partners in the last year than are gay men or lesbians, but are less likely to have done so than are heterosexuals.

All this suggests a tendency for behavior to conform to identity in any short time range, and that bisexual women and men in some respects are a middle point between straights and gays.

mF3

What about gender differences between bisexual men and bisexual women? The two groups have a similarly low percent who have ever had sex only with the other sex (14% for men and 12% for women), but it is much more likely for bisexual women than men to have had sex only with the other sex in the last year—34% for men but 53% for women (Table 2).

Conclusion

We have shown that identity—the sexual orientation one identifies with—is strongly, but by no means perfectly, associated with whether men and women have had sex with women, men, or both. Heterosexual men and women are the most likely to have had sex only with other-sex partners, bisexual men and women are the most likely to have had sex with both women and men, and gay men and lesbians are the most likely to have had sex only with same-sex partners. In this sense, behavior is roughly consistent with sexual orientation. Unsurprisingly, this consistency between current identity and behavior is much stronger when the behavior being asked about is in the last year rather than over the whole lifetime.

However, the patterns differ between men and women. Women, both lesbian and straight, are more flexible with either their identities or behavior than men. Thus, they are more likely than men to have what could be seen as mismatches between identity and behavior. As an example of this, looking at behavior in the last year, heterosexual women are more likely than heterosexual men to have had sex with women, and lesbians are more likely than gay men to have had sex with an other-sex partner.

As part of women’s “flexibility,” women are more likely to have partners of both sexes than men are. Taking people of all sexual orientations combined, 14% of women, but only 4% of men have ever had both male and female sexual partners, as Table 1 shows. Similarly, in the past year, 3% of all women had both male and female sexual partners, compared with less than 1% of men. This is partly because more women than men identify as bisexual, but is also influenced by the higher proportion of women than men among those who identify as either heterosexual or gay having had both male and female sexual partners.

Technical Appendix

Our analysis uses data from the 2002, 2006-2010, and 2011-2013 National Survey of Family Growth (NSFG) on men and women 15 to 44 years of age.

To explore the relationship between sexual orientation and behavior, we began with the measure of sexual orientation in the survey. Men and women were asked whether they “think of themselves as” “heterosexual or straight,” “bisexual,” or “homosexual, gay, or lesbian.” Actually, the wording of these options changed slightly between waves.  In 2002 the “gay” option for both men and women was “homosexual,” whereas in 2006 and later, it was “homosexual, gay, or lesbian” for women and “homosexual or gay” for men. Also, in some years of the survey (2002 to mid-2008), respondents were also given the option of calling their sexual orientation “something else.” Because this response option was not consistent across years of the survey included in analysis, we excluded men and women who selected this response option.

We generated two different measures of sexual behavior from various questions in the survey.

  1. Have you ever had a male/female sexual partner? For this measure, we relied on two questions. One question asked men and women the number of male (if male) or female (if female) sexual partners they have had during their lifetime, but did not specify what sexual behavior was meant for “sexual partners.” Men were asked to answer this question if they reported that they had ever had oral or anal sex with a man and women were asked to answer the question if they reported that they had ever had a sexual experience with a woman. If men and women said they had had one or more, we considered them to have had a same-sex sexual partner for this measure.

Regarding sex with other-sex sexual partners, men and women were asked how many women (if male) or men (if female) they had ever had vaginal intercourse with; if this number was 1 or more we considered them to have had an other-sex sexual partner during their lifetime. These items were used to create a variable indicating whether each man had had no sexual partners of either sex, sex only with one or more men, sex only with one or more women, or sex with one or more women and one or more men.

  1. Did you have a male/female sexual partner last year? This is constructed just like 2) above, but using questions about the number of female and male sexual partners one has had in the last 12 months.

One might worry that respondents would not be honest about same-sex sex or non-heterosexual identities, given the social bias against them. To try to avoid respondents saying what they thought the interviewer wanted to hear rather than the truth, the questions on sexual identity and sex with same-sex partners were asked through an Audio Computer-Assisted Self-Interview (ACASI) system in survey waves prior to 2011. The interviewer handed the respondent a computer and earphones and stepped away to provide privacy while the respondent keyed answers into the computer. This ACASI approach was used for questions on sexual orientation, as well as the questions on number of same-sex partners, and what specific sexual behaviors respondents had done with a man and with a woman. In the survey wave from 2011-2013, these questions were moved to the main male respondent questionnaire.

One might also be concerned that there seems to have been a higher bar to saying a man than a woman had sex with a same-sex partner, since men were only asked the question of how many same-sex partners they had had if they reported they had ever had oral or anal sex with a man, whereas women were asked the question if they reported they had ever had any sexual experience with a woman. (Only in 2002, when an oral sex screener question was used, would women have had to have oral sex to be counted as having had a same-sex partner.) However, we have ascertained that over 90% of those who report having had a female sexual partner (whether or not they have had any male partners) also report having had oral sex with a woman sometime. This convinces us that most women we are counting as having had female partners are not referring to experiences such as public kissing, but to sexual activity involving genitals.

mT1

Note: Men are asked their number of male sex partners if they report ever having had oral or anal sex with a man, and are asked their number of female sex partners if they have ever had intercourse with a woman. Women are asked their number of female partners if they report they have ever had a sexual experience with a woman, and are asked their number of male sex partners if they have ever had intercourse with a man. N=14,732 men, weighted. N=17,140 women, weighted. The asterisks indicate that men and women’s sexual activity are significantly different from one another, at p<0.05, two-tailed test.

mT2Note: Men are asked if they have had male sex partners in the past 12 months if they have ever had oral or anal sex with a man, and are asked if they have had female sex partners in the past 12 months if they have ever had vaginal, oral or anal intercourse with a woman. Women are asked if they have had female sex partners in the past 12 months if they report they have ever had a sexual experience with a female and are asked if they have had male sex partners in the past 12 months if they have ever had vaginal, oral or anal sex with a male. N=14,732 men, weighted. N=17,140 women, weighted. The asterisks indicate that men and women’s sexual activity are significantly different from one another, at p<0.05, two-tailed test.

Comments 22

Letta

March 1, 2016

This new "There's Research on That: Safer Sex for Male Inmates" goes well with this piece: https://thesocietypages.org/trot/2016/03/01/safer-sex-for-male-inmates/?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter

A good look at men who identify as heterosexual but engage in homosexual behavior when locked up.


Maliq Matthew

March 12, 2016

Is there a way to know whether all of the sexual encounters are exclusively between two people? Technically, someone can report sex with a partner who is sexual identification-atypical, but in the context of a shared encounter with an identification-consistent partner.


Brad Bowins

March 31, 2018

As a psychiatrist and researcher, I was skeptical of the way that sexual orientation is typically framed, and did extensive research resulting in a book, Outing The Truth About Sexual Orientation. We frame sexual orientation as discrete homosexual and heterosexual identities, an occurrence that has only been since industrialization. This way of framing sexual orientation aligns with our psychological tendency to set up discrete categories to simplify information processing, as opposed to continuums. However, while simplifying information processing, it complicates our lives because many people struggle with sexual orientation behaviour, such as when fantasies or actions conflict with a persons's identified with orientation, and it sets up in-group/out-group distinctions and hence discrimination/persecution. Based on animal templates, we all have homoerotic and heteroerotic capacities/motivations occurring as separate continuums. In a scenario where we go by discrete categories a person with a high homoerotic motivation and low heterotic motivation will identify with being homosexual, but this does not mean that "homosexuality" is a real entity; it is a social construction only slightly aligning with the reality of sexual orientation. Now in regards to inner turmoil and discrimination/persecution, with both capacities/motivations there is no conflict having both desires and so no inner turmoil, nor any sense with in-group/out-group distinctions and hence biases. The model I have proposed is a 4-component one, with the other components activation/deactivation of homoerotic and heteroerotic dimensions, erotic fantasy, and social construction. To see how these apply look into Outing The Truth About Sexual Orientation.


Liz-B-Anne

August 11, 2018

I'm 100% lesbian; the only reason I ever engaged in any sexual activity with males was because I "froze up" out of fear or was simply worn down by their constant begging. I was afraid to say no too forcefully & come off rude. (Although I *did* say no in all instances initially). This all happened in my teens & early 20s before I developed real social skills or independence. I have a ton of anxiety disorders, depression & Asperger's to name a few.

The ugly truth is a lot of men don't take no for an answer & will keep pestering until they get their way even if it's clear you're not into it. Especially teenagers or college guys. At least that was my experience. I was certainly not a flirt--quite the opposite. Shy, withdrawn & only interested in girls. For me it's very hard to be assertive & people pick up on that. I don't watch porn with guys in it, don't fantasize about males & am almost heterophobic when it comes to male/female sexual content. I'm not just indifferent but am actively turned off. A total 6 on the Kinsey Scale. Yet there have been so many molestation/rape/coerced sex incidents in my life that it's stomach turning. Some in broad daylight while in school or other normal, safe places.

Just wanted to explain one possible viewpoint.


sherryjm69

October 1, 2018

My chill engagement:
http://leonor.web1.telrock.net


Estraven

November 4, 2018

Dear Dr. Bowins, Foucault was trained as a psychologist. When that did not work so well for him, he made the leap into philosophy. He had no training as a historian, and is not well-regarded by other historian. His philosophical musings are interesting, but his historical assertions that bisexuality and homosexuality did not exist before a certain time because there were no words for it is something he made up in his head, and is just plain wrong. There were always words, words like Māhū. Muxe, Takatāpui. and Two-spirit people. Erasing queer history this way does us a particular disservice, because the evidence shows that most people in most cultures in ancient times were bisexual, until the Abrahamic religions (Jewish, Christian, and Muslim) stepped in and repressed all that as part of their efforts to control the world in Medieval times.

There are many books that document this - "Bisexuality in the Ancient World" by Eva Cantarella which describes the bisexual life of ancient Greece and Rome. Next I would suggest "The Spirit and the Flesh," by Walter Williams, which describes how the Native Americans were bisexual and transgendered until the missionaries got here and suppressed all that. Next "Boy-Wives and Female Husbands: Studies In African Homosexualities" by Stephen O. Murray and Will Roscoe (some of these books were written seen through a gay lens, as it were), "Male Colors: The Construction of Homosexuality in Tokugawa Japan" by Gary Leupp, " Islamic Homosexualities: Culture, History, and Literature." Eds. Will Roscoe, Stephen Murray, and "Passions of the Cut Sleeve: The Male Homosexual Tradition in China" by Bret Hinsch. I tried to find a book covering the bisexual Mayans, but could not find one in English, although there probably is one in Spanish. However, the most excellent "Homosexuality & Civilization" by Louis Crompton, covers this in pages 314 to 320.

You can also read about the bisexual Mayans in Wikepedia. Again, contrary to Foucault's lies, they have been called Muxe for thousands of years:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LGBT_history_in_Mexico


tony

January 15, 2019

I am more interested why some people are homosexual. I mean where does it come from? I read that 78 percent of Lesbians have been sexually abused men as young girls.


tony

January 15, 2019

I am more interested why some people are homosexual. I mean where does it come from? I read that 78 percent of Lesbians have been sexually abused by men as young girls.


Ahsan Fabcom

February 19, 2019

Why are gay people who are in their 30s hide from the world even at that age?


Eugene

March 10, 2019

Tony -
The current percentage for lesbians is 40%, and that's over their entire lifetime, not specifically childhood. Even among girls who report their first partner being a boy, you find that sexual assault is more likely to happen *after* they come out as gay, not before. I didn't think this ever needed stating, but the likelihood that sexual assault leads to homosexuality is effectively nonexistent.

The LGBTQ community in general sees a much higher rate of sexual assault than heterosexual men and women. In particular, bisexual men and women are roughly twice as likely to have been sexually assaulted than their homosexual or heterosexual counterparts. The simplest explanation for why this is, is due to longstanding negative cultural attitudes toward non-heterosexual people (especially bisexuals, who tend to get labelled as promiscuous), which both puts them at risk of being raped and makes them less willing to report it for fear of being outed, making it in turn more likely to happen again.

Lesbian and bisexual women overall have a much higher sexual assault percentage than other groups for reasons explained by Liz in the comment above. ie cultural norms play against lesbians being able to avoid sexual encounters with men, both non-consensually and consensually.


.AWA Ereck

April 29, 2019

I think the population of lesbians far out numbers that of gays.
What does someone think can be the reason.


Rahulkumar

August 31, 2019

Hello


Kat

September 17, 2019

I don’t think this research takes into account the cultural expectations of men sleeping with men. There are many men who sleep with other men but will never report it. I have spoken with several gay male friends who report that over 90% of their clients are straight men. It is more culturally acceptable for women to sleep with women, period.

Sexual fluidity among men is a real thing but kept on the hush

A


Terence Anderton

December 1, 2019

Anything about sex is interesting from a bi sexual man I Amin awe of anything about sex fluidity


Chris

January 3, 2020

please how can I get this


The Known Truth

March 12, 2020

So many lesbians nowadays are the real reason why so many of us straight guys are still single today.


brenda shi

March 13, 2020

Statistics show the current upward trend in sexuality education. I recently read an article about gender education opportunities in Muslim countries. I began to write theses on the geopolitics of Muslim countries. This service https://uk.edubirdie.com/thesis-writing helped me figure out the plan for my experiment. Educational resources create an emphasis on this global issue.


Offthepink

May 1, 2020

Not surprised about the lesbian thing. They all have at least 1 anatomically correct dildo, veins and all. Most women like penetrative sex, they just have to find the right guy under the right circumstances.


TheIronGiant

May 3, 2020

@offthepink

Dildo is not the same as a d*ck, as many men will tell you. Being penetrated by a toy is not the same as being penetrated by the real thing, as many men will tell you.

Most women liking penetrative sex are straight and bisexual women who like d*ck, not lesbians.


Kevin

May 17, 2020

One of the comments above mentions the taboo of heterosexual men actually *admitting* that they've had sex with other men is so true! I am a gay man who has had sexual encounters with straight men throughout my life. This has come up in discussions with straight men I know (whom I haven't slept with), and they all say this: "Well, those men aren't really straight if they slept with another man". See? This is how many straight guys think, unfortunately. The very idea that a straight man can have a sexual encounter with another man and still remain straight is somehow a foreign concept to many straight men. Yet, a straight woman who has had sex with another woman can still be viewed as straight... just curious or "experimenting". So apparently, in some rigid, black and white world that exists in straight men's minds, a curious straight man who has a sexual encounter with another man is no longer straight. It is such bullsh*t! Do they think a curious gay man who sleeps with a woman out of curiosity can no longer be gay?

I guarantee you, at least 25% of the straight men questioned in this study LIED. That's how deep seated their shame and homophobia can be. Yet, I'm sure they sure didn't feel that way when they actually experienced sex with another man. I honestly wish straight guys could be as free and honest as their female counterparts when it comes to sexuality. It must be torture to be in that much denial / suppression.


Dee

May 17, 2020

@ kevin..I'm a straight guy who has had sexual experience with a man before..my first experience was very young something like 2nd grade..I was a curious kid like MOST KIDS..I enjoyed it..it more exciting then pleasurful..the rush you get from it is crazy cause you "know/feel" wrong and weird..but deep down inside I wanted to do it and so did the other person..it was only touchy feely the first time cause were young and inexperienced..but as I got older I had another experience with a close friend of mine..at the time my bestfriend...at this time I was bout 13 and a horny teen..but once again I'm straight..not attracted to men never was..but like the 1st experience it was curiosity involved but this time my hormones where ragging and I honestly wanted to do it..it started talking about girls from school and things we wanted to do with them like all teen boys do..well we began to get horny I guess ..so porn came up some how and we started playing with ourselves..so we're nervously joking back and forth about how we wish there were girls here to help us..which were basically hints that we wanted to do something..so he finally built up there courage to ask me if I would play with him if he played with me..so of course I had to say no at first to make it seem not gay but I wanted to do it..so I sat there for a little while thinking to myself how to get him to ask again cause he I was Intrested so I start getting hornier and hornier until I said we can do it but you cant tell nobody and of course he a agreed..so he played with me first and then I did him...it was really awkward after ..first real experience of ejaculating with another Male let alone another human...so after that we did it more often to the point we got comfortable...we continued secretly doing it for serval years and experience a little more like anal and oral..but neither wanted of us like anal it jus felt way to gay..I didnt mind giving I jus didnt like taking and neither did he..and with oral it was also weird but it was one of those things where if we were horny enough we did it but it was very rare..so most of the time it was jus masturbation but it was great especially when we figured out we both enjoyed it..but like I said we hid it well we were best friends so nobody ever suspected anything..so it got to the point we were going over each other house jus to do it..the crazy part about it still to this day those moments were some of the most intense horny most ever..more hory then when I finally lost my virginity to a girl and when I did that I was 17..so for 4 years me and my friend did this..it wasnt everday it was frequent...we even got a couple of our friends to do it with us on couple occasions..YOU NEVER KNOW WHAT SOMEBODY WOULD DO WHEN THERE HORNY/INTRESTED..1 of the guys we got to it with us might be 1 of the most gangster dudes I ever meet..but once again we were young and curious...so when we like 16 he moved away and I think about it all the time...I'm 29 now and I still think about it frequently and still get horny thinking about the experience..I even on a couple occasions watched gay porn cause I wanted to kinda relive the moment..but I'm totally straight not attracted to a man at all..I have a girl..2 kids..I dont look at myself gay but of course the rest of the world would..so I never told anybody neither did he...matter of fact this is the only time I ever talked bout it...I think the experiences happened because I didnt build up the courage to ask a girl..as a kid it was easier to expose myself to my friend then a girl..but when you get horny with it that's when the experiences happen..and it is addictive...until oneday I meet this phat as girl lol when I was in the 11th grade...and boy i tell you she turned me out and from that point on I knew for a fact I wasn't gay..I enjoyed have sex with a woman it was sensual..and that is the difference..the feelings..being horny and liking some body are 2 totally different things..I'm convinced that most guys at a young age had an experience with a friend/relative of his..and he is lying if he said he didnt..and I said most not all..But point of the story is I agree when you say a guy Is going to lie about it..even if he knows that nobody will find out he will still lie..to most men there is nuffin more off limits then being gay because of how the world views it..so they would never exposed themselves like that..that why most gay men wait so long to come out..some never come out..and I believe most men have sexually issues with being horny..and if he finds and gay guy at the right moment he will more then like do it especially if he isn't really sexually active...being horny doesn't have a sexual preference and curiosity kills the cat..he he feels comfortable enough to do he probably will...but I'm sure if he had the choice between a man a woman he would choice a woman..I dont believe if you had a sexual encounter/s with the same sex your gay..you have to be mentally and emotionally attracted that's what makes you gay..but at some point in time you have to make your mind up..you cant continue to have sex with a man and not be gay or at least bisexual...if you are a MAN (not teen or kid) and want to have sex with a man but isn't attracted you are definitely either in denial or bisexual..most men wont do it cause of fear of getting caught rather then cause they think its gay..you kno when your gay..So with that being said will I ever do it again??...Idk who knows like I said I think about it frequently..I think the main problem would be giving..it jus cant..I'm grown now I honestly dont want to go another guy..but hey who knows being horny is dangerous..most marriages are ruined cause somebody was horny..I wonder what the married men percentage is...I wouldn't be surprised if it was high...its much easier to have sex with a gay guy and have no feeling behind it beside get one off lol...and it would be much easier to hid..


Philip

May 20, 2020

This article has been out for a long time so my comment may be irrelevant. But I'd describe myself as homosexual, not gay. Or Un-gay. For me, gay has little to do with sexuality. Take the 'u' out of guy and replace it with an 'a' and you get an alt-guy, or anti-guy even. Their ranks include men who are for all intent an purpose asexual but nonetheless toujours gai! They actually watch Reality TV and prime-time soaps like Desperate Housewives, Brothers and Sisters, The Fosters, and going way back DYNASTY!!!. They have favorite pop 'divas' and get into catfights with other gays who disagree with them. Madonna vs. Gaga is an existential crisis! The most important day of the year, their High Holy Day, Christmas, New Years, 4th of July, and even Pride all wrapped up into one fabulous Red Carpet is, you guessed in, THE OSCARS!!! The glamour, the suspense, and most of all THE DISH!

These are gay men. This is why Gay Pride exists. They are usually productive, hard-working members of society and there is no reason why they can't simply be who they are unmolested. But my identification with them is minimal and my support largely based on an expansive interpretation of the 1st Amendment, or as Voltaire said "I may not agree with you, monsieur, but I would defend with my life your right to have an opinion!'

But in the final analysis the gay 'community' is anything but intentional. It was never more than an alliance of dire necessity.


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