Many men--gay, straight and bisexual--can be sexual with the same sex or the opposite sex if money is involved. Most people, however think that if a man accepts money for sex with another man he cannot be straight.
Anything seen as non-masculine in a man is deemed effeminate or gay and is punishable under patriarchal standards.
"What are you a fag?"
"Dude, are you a little light in the Loafers?"
Men who have sex with men are punished by the prejudice and stigma attached to the act with people judging them to be gay--when they are not.
Straight men direct this homophobia at themselves for engaging in sexual behavior with another man and the results can be brutal.
The Case of Roger
Roger, a 32-year-old fitness instructor at a local gym, came to me because he was having sexual problems with his wife. He and Sarah had been married three years and did not have children yet. While he was able to have intercourse with her, he was no longer able to enjoy her giving him oral sex. His wife enjoyed performing fellatio; but he no longer enjoyed receiving it.
Their problem was that she didn’t like him being verbal at all—by “talking dirty,” directing and guiding her, or even telling her how he liked it. When she was either not in the mood for intercourse or was having her period, he couldn’t enjoy oral sex because of her reservations.
When Roger first called me about this problem, I suggested that he and Sarah both come to see me, so they could explore it as a couple. But he ended up coming alone, because Roger was keeping a secret from his wife: He was receiving oral sex from men. Roger said he was not gay and insisted that he couldn’t tell his wife about these experiences or she would judge him harshly.
As an older teenager, Roger realized that both men and women were attracted to him. His working out gave him a tight, muscular, carefully sculpted build. He wasn’t homophobic and denied any sexual interest in men, but did enjoy being looked at and desired by them as well as women. He told me, “Men express their desire differently than women do.” By this, he meant that men were more sincere and could openly express their aesthetic pleasure in his body.
Roger recalled when he was 20, an older man in his 30s offered him $100 if he could see him naked. Roger politely said that he was not gay. The man insisted that nothing sexual need come from it: He just wanted to see Roger pose naked in different positions. Enticed by the money, Roger agreed. While he posed, the man watched and complimented him on his good looks.
Over time, this man offered Roger more money if he could masturbate while watching Roger and ultimately, asked if he could perform fellatio on Roger with no reciprocation.
For months Roger refused, until the man started buying him gifts and giving him even more money. The man even helped Roger pay his college tuition. Roger made it clear that he was not interested in reciprocating in any way and wanted no romantic or emotional ties—that he was doing this just to earn some money for school.
Roger found himself enjoying it more than he thought he would, and appreciated that the “client” was interested in Roger’s enjoyment. In Roger’s experience, women merely tolerated fellatio, though he wanted them to desire giving it as much as he enjoyed receiving. Roger was able to talk dirty to this man and tell him how he wanted to be serviced. The man was also willing to swallow, which increased Roger’s excitement. In time, the man sent other male friends to Roger who offered money to Roger in return for sexually worshipping him. What Roger loved was that these men pursued him and honored the body he had created. He felt desired, beyond appreciating the money he received. These preferences reveal who Roger really was and from them, we can piece together Roger’s erotic intelligence.
The Punishment to Males from Patriarchy
Roger was the first of three children. When Roger turned eight, his alcoholic father told him that he would no longer kiss him and taught him how to shake hands “like a man.” While his mother remained affectionate both verbally and physically, his father did not. Thus, his family’s messages were that men don’t touch one another to show affection. As a small boy, Roger interpreted this information as his not being good enough to love. Why else would his father continue to show affection to his sisters, but not to him? Even when drunk, Roger’s father treated his sisters well, but became angry and contemptuous toward his sons. In addition, Roger was overweight. Many male authority figures– his peers, teachers (his gym teacher in particular,) and his father—made negative comments about his body.
In light of all this, Roger’s adult sexual behavior made better sense. In our work together, we discovered that the men who worshipped him were standing in for his critical, affectionately distant father. His father’s patriarchal mindset left Roger with an affectional hunger for other men that he did not acknowledge until he was pursued by men who wanted to be pleasure him. These men made him feel desired, important and respected as a man among men. Their “payment” was compensation for all the hard work he had done on his body.
We also learned that, for Roger, directing his wife and guiding her verbally and otherwise was his way of being in control of receiving oral sex. Knowing this helped Roger recognize the importance of telling his wife his interest in taking some control during oral sex. He also realized the need for letting go and letting his wife be in control some of the time too for him to heal; he would thus be able to receive the “love” he never received as a child.
Once he understood this, Roger realized he would have to start exploring his father’s alcoholism and the lack of affection he experienced as a child. Eventually, Roger joined a men’s group so that he could learn to bond with other men in healthy ways that were not at all sexual. Roger also wanted to stop the sexual activity with these men and that he needed to tell his wife the truth. This took time, since he was afraid she might assume think he was gay or at least bisexual — which he clearly was not.
By telling her, Roger could strengthen his marriage. Roger needed to be accountable for his behavior and could do so more by having understood what his sexual acting out meant. Now that he realized what he was trying to receive from these men, he could find nonsexual ways to get approval.
Roger’s wife was upset and anxious upon learning this information. It took months in couples therapy for her to understand what happened for Roger was not about being gay nor bisexual. She learned about Roger’s childhood wound and why he was driven to have sex with men. She understood what was happening during oral sex with him and became more willing to let Roger take more control given what it meant for him.
She also had to overcome the betrayal and anger she felt by his cheating in the marriage by having sex with other men. This tapped into her own homophobia as well as issues about fidelity. Through the work of couple’s therapy, which is outlined throughout this book, she and Roger were able to overcome these issues and develop a more attached and intimate relationship. Roger was finally able to receive the love he never got from his father.
**NOTE: It is important to understand that this type of case example is used by reparative therapists and those who believe in sexual conversion who would state that Roger went from being gay to straight.
In fact, Roger was straight from the start. If not for patriarchy and homophobia he would not have struggled with directing homophobia toward himself causing psychological problems.
If his father provided him with enough love and affection, perhaps Roger would not have been open to having sex for any reason with another man. But maybe he still would have. Either way what is wrong with his allowing himself to be sexual with another man in the first place?
What do readers think?