Are Straight Men Having Gay Sex Closeted? This Prof Thinks Not in Provocative New Book

Saturday April 10, 2021
Originally published on March 27, 2021

Earlier this month EMN reported Dr. Joe Kort who argued that "when straight men have sex with men it's not a gay thing, it's a guy thing." He added: "In general, men have more transactional sex with one another, in general women don't. Men have objectified sex where it's just about the act, it's just about getting off."

This week University of British Columbia sociology professor Tony Silva offers new insight on sexual attraction, behavior and their implications in his book "Still Straight: Sexual Flexibility Among White Men in Rural America."

"Drawing upon interviews with 60 white men from rural areas in the United States over three years, Silva delves into the sex lives of straight men who have hookups, sexual friendships, and secretive loving relationships with other men, but remain mostly attracted to women and strongly identify with straight culture," writes the website Straight in an interview with Silva.

In his book Silva asserts "that the men he focuses on in his book aren't closeted, bisexual, or experimenting, and that they aren't a version of the tortured love story in 'Brokeback Mountain'," writes Straight.

In his findings, Silva says that the men he interviewed were primarily married and attracted to women, but for reasons such as boredom and fears of attachment with a female partner, turn to sex with men. "These men think that sex with men is a lot less complicated with no attachment. I find it particularly interesting and ironic that their conservative beliefs about gender actually encourage them to have sex with men."

Some turn to sex with men for reasons of masculinity, experimentation and loneliness, he continued. "Most of the men identified as straight because they felt that this identity best reflected their romantic relationships with women, their integration in communities composed mostly of straight people, or the way they understood their masculinity."

Silva also claims that these men do not view themselves as closeted. "When a straight-identified man has sex with another man, he views himself as straight despite sex with men."

"While many people understandably think that men are "closeted" if they have sex with other men yet identify as straight, this is not exactly true. These men are secretive about their sexual behaviour, but not their identity. In fact, sexual encounters with men are mostly irrelevant to their identity," he continued.

Silva also found that the majority of the men he interviewed had progressive attitudes towards LGBTQ equality. "A minority of the men I interviewed were homophobic and held prejudice against LGBTQ2+ people and this prejudice makes the thought of an LGBTQ2+ identity unappealing to them. However, the majority of the men, supported same-sex marriage and the right for same-sex couples to raise children."