This myth exists and is used by reparative therapies and religious programs to reduce homosexuality to a sexual behavior. There are homophobic and heterosexist individuals who are misinformed about what it means to be a gay man and believe if you commit the sexual act, than that is what you are. There are many gay men who believe the same and argue that if a man is sexual with another man he is gay. They fall into the same category of prejudice and confusion over sexual preferences and sexual orientation.
One’s sexual preference takes into account the desired sexual actions and fantasies with a partner; while sexual orientation encompasses a sexual identity with all the thoughts, feelings, fantasies, and emotions that cause us to become sexually excited. Thus, there is a distinct difference between a gay man and a “straight male seeking male,” or “SMSM.”
A gay man’s sexual orientation is characterized by lasting aesthetic attraction to, romantic love of, and sexual attraction exclusively for others of the same gender. A gay man’s sexual thoughts, fantasies, and behavior are aligned. It is an identity based on affectional, emotional, spiritual, psychological and sexual feelings exclusively or mostly toward men. While some gay men can include and enjoy women as part of their sexual fantasies and behaviors (for instance, being sexual with a woman while with another man and his wife), the gay man is mostly if not totally attracted to men. I often explain it to my clients this way: If a gay man were walking on the beach, he would be sexually drawn only to men; he wouldn’t notice women in such a way.
On the other hand, SMSM's might be sexual with men from time to time, but on the beach, they’re staring at women. These are heterosexual men who engage in sexual behavior with other men for a number of reasons. They are not gay nor are they bisexual. Their same-gender sex acts are about physical release and sex, not about attraction to or desire for another man.
SMSM's are often turned off and left cold by naked images of men. Instead, they are sexually aroused by and attracted to women. These men typically want to bond with and need affection from other men. Their behavior may also reflect a desire to experiment, or an expression of problems and conflicts with their sexual feelings and desires—which have nothing to do with being gay. More often than not, these are the men whom I counsel or whose wives come to me in such frantic states.