Sunday, July 22, 2007

Coming Out or Acting Out?

Men who have sex with men are questioning their sexuality and are trying to find explanations about what they are thinking, doing and feeling.

For some it can be the beginning of the coming out process. The first three stages of coming out are riddled with confusion, denial and questioning whether one is really gay or not.
Straight men who have sex with men and gay men in the early stages of coming out resemble each other.

How can you distinguish whether your gay/bisexual or a straight man who seeks sex with other men?

For gay men they continue moving onto the final three stages of coming out and recognize it is about their identity. To be a gay man describes a sexual orientation characterized by lasting aesthetic attraction, romantic love, or sexual attraction exclusively for others of the same sex or gender. To be gay man means that his thoughts, fantasies and behavior are aligned. It is an identity based on affectional, emotional, spiritual, psychological and sexual feelings exclusively or mostly to men.

For bisexual men, they can enjoy both men and women being part of some of their sexual fantasies and behaviors. He might be more turned on to one gender than the other or to both equally but he has desire for both. Bisexual men will be only drawn to both images of men and women on the beach and will find himself distracted by wanting to look and potentially meet these either of them for a sexual and/or romantic relationship. In relationship they choose either a male or female and can choose monogamy if that is what they want while still enjoying fantasies of the other gender.

For straight men who have sex with men (SMSM) they engage in sexual behavior with other men, and are not "gay" or "bisexual". These men have sex with men and engage in sex acts with men but their orientation is heterosexual and not gay. These men are not romantically or sexually aroused by other men. They are not sexually distracted by images of other men on a beach or other public places. They are sexually aroused and attracted to women and are aroused at images of naked women or women in sexy attire and are left cold by these same images of men. SMSM’s seek sex with other men for reasons that are not about sexual and/or romantic orientation but are about sexual preferences. In fact they are turned off and left cold by naked images of men.

Their same-gender sex acts are about physical release and about the behavior not about attraction or desire for another man. Often they prefer for women to be present making the sexual contact more exciting. Their behavior reflects a narrative about the man in terms his need for bonding and affection from another man, experimentation, potential problems with his sexual feelings and desires, childhood sexual abuse, abuse from males throughout his life and many other factors.

In some cases strong, recurring same-sex fantasies can indicate a deeper social or sexual need. Loneliness and lack of identity can cause an erotic reaction to thoughts of other men. They often need drugs and alcohol to be part of their sexual behavior and often find themselves less aroused with men than they are with women.

SMSM's do not struggle with sexual desire for other men in terms of wanting romantic relationships as do gay and bisexual men.

The struggle for SMSM's is that because of heterosexism which insists someone is either straight, bisexual or gay based on their behavior that their sexual behavior defines them.

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