Friday, September 28, 2007
—lyrics to Eminem’s “Cleaning Out My Closet (I’m Sorry, Mama)”
Eminem went where no son has publicly gone before—or is allowed to go—in attacking his mother. In this society, it is taboo to speak ill of our mothers, so we either keep silent or get judged negatively for doing it. It is as though we are not allowed to talk about the bad only the good. By going against his mother, a man gets punished and called a misogynist who hates women.
Countless articles and interviews analyzed Eminem’s lyrics to “Cleaning out my Closet,” focusing on how his anger at his mother has become generalized to hate for all women. But what about his mother in real life? What kind of woman was she toward her children and her son?
A misandrist (which my word processor cannot even find in its Spell Checker) is the respectable feminist equivalent for the word misogynist, according to the Oxford English Dictionary. Even in Webster’s little to nothing can be found on misandry, the hatred of men! Misogyny was a known word in Latin and Greek and according to the OED, was first used in English in 1656. Misandry was first used in 1946, three hundred years later. And to top it all, the word is a compound, combining the Greek words miso meaning “to hate” with andros, for man. Some books—Misogyny, Misandry, and Misanthropy, for one—use it in their titles, as do some articles. But little is out there that explains the concept fully.
Both misogyny and misandry are gender-neutral: Misogynists and misandrists can be either men or women. In general, however, usually women hate men and men hate women. Perhaps because of the horrors of sexism, our culture had to go very far in one direction and only look at what men have done to women. However, I think it’s time to examine what women do to men— especially mothers raising the boys who ultimately grow up to hate women. Somewhere they play a part in engendering this negativity.
In addition to criticizing Eminem for expressing his anger at his mother and trying to pathologize it, why not analyze his mother’s possible misandry? When someone disparages his mother, why don’t we wonder if she is somehow at fault as well? We allow sons and daughters alike to criticize their fathers, and our discomfort over their negative talk is much less than the public outcry when the topic switches to “Mommy Dearest.”
Society reveres anything associated with “mother,” as in Mother Earth, Mother Nature, and the celibate, childless Mother Theresa. Especially in the mental health field, when we examine a child’s early infancy, we focus on the mother, talking about the time and attention she devotes to nurturing her baby. During the child’s first year of life, the father is rarely the primary caregiver. I am sure this will change as more fathers, particularly gay men, join the care and rearing of their children. But until then, talk about child rearing usually focuses on the mother, primarily because the default is the mother, just as people often assume that everyone is heterosexual.
So therein lies society’s social mantra of “Love your mother,” because no one wants to believe that a mother could not love her children. No one wants to hear about how a mother can lack maternal instinct. Those who speak out about their mothers abusing them or being indifferent maternally to any extent will often not be believed and find themselves accused of betraying their mothers.
What happens to males raised by these women? And how can it affect their sex lives?
The Case of Shawn
Shawn was a 37-year-old male married with two children. He loved his wife deeply having been high school sweethearts. She was the first female he met who treated him kindly and affectionately. He came to therapy with me due to troubling compulsive sexual fantasies which had now become sexual behaviors involving finding couples through the internet with whom he could be sexual with the wives with the husbands watching being humiliated by being dressed as a woman and called names by both himself and the wife. At the end of the sex act his ultimate sexual desire would be to orgasm onto the man's face (a term known as Bukkake)--the ultimate humiliation to the man with both of he and the wife laughing at him.
Shawn was troubled by so much about this fantasy turned into reality. First, was he gay or bisexual if he wanted men to be involved and wanted to be watched by the man? What kind of a guy was he to cheat on his wife? He did not want her to discover this as he knew she would leave him immediately and he did not want that. He wanted to stop his sexual acting out.
I work with clients around the details of their sexual fantasies--as much as they are willing and comfortable in telling. Each detail is a lead to their pasts leading up to the formation of their sexual desires. In the details are embedded the answers as to where the therapeutic work is to be done.
I asked Shawn what he meant by his wife being the "first female to be kind to him". Shawn told me his mother was always putting down his father, making him sleep on the couch many nights and talking about him in critical ways. His sister was treated like a queen and was complimented, supported and given special treatment by their mother while Shawn was neglected and ignored by both his mother and his father. His father was gone quite a bit and Shawn believed this was his way of avoiding his mother who was so mean to him.
Shawn's mother talked poorly about males who were not "macho" and athletic. His father was a computer tech and Shawn described him as a "soft" male. Shawn himself could have been more athletic had he been encouraged but his parents did not do so. His mother laughed at males she thought to be "fags" and accused his father multiple times of being homosexual.
It all made sense to me now as to why Shawn would have this fantasy and eventually act on it. The healing was connected to his childhood. In his sexual acts, he "wins" over the mother (the wife of the couple) aligning with the powerful and male-hating mother figure. The alignment is in humiliating the husband forcing him to dress like a female as females were the "superior" gender in his family and being male was inferior. In the fantasy, Shawn gets to the be the "man" his mother wanted, he wins her over and is in the power position over the husband rather than being in the same category as the father, which Shawn always felt he was growing up.
This clicked with Shawn immediately. He immediately connected the dots and his therapy work was not about confronting his feelings of anger and resentment toward his mother who he realized now was a misandrist. He remembered more details of how her hate for men manifested and recognized it was most likely because of her alcoholic patriarchal father.
But what about what he was doing to his wife? He did not want to hurt her by all this cheating. Together we discovered that to gain a sense of masculinity and triumph over his pain he had to do it in secret and hiding. This was not about his wife. He would most likely have acted on this with any women he was involved with.
Over the next year his compulsive behavior to act on his fantasy fell away. The fantasy and images he would find on the internet of this type of humiliation remained but he no longer felt any compulsion to act on them.
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
Why are we so fascinated by the sex lives of others? Especially
when they deviate from the norm of what we see in the media?
Straight Guise has taken on one part of the fascination in terms of straight men who have sex with men and there are so many more--men and women-with complicated sexual fantasies and desires?
Maybe because we are fascinated at all the twists and turns sexuality can take. Voyeurs at heart, people want to know what is happening behind closed bedroom doors.
But I think it is more than that. It is that all of us have sexual
interests and desires and we think ours might be odd or abnormal. We don't
really know it isn't talked about. Even if you don't have fetishes or kinky
desires, no one really knows what is okay and what is not okay. What are others
doing? Does it work? Do they like it? Can they face themselves--or worse their
partners--the next day.
Now we have a new sex scandal--Oscar De La Hoya. I never heard of him until all of this. A
handsome man who might have a kinky sexual fetish. So what? I feel so much for
him that I won't link or post to any of the sites that show him posing as
"Goldie" for the camera. That is so disrespectful and mean. So what if this is
his fetish? Why does this make news? And since it is making news then lets at
least talk about it respectfully!
By Tim MorganSep 26, 2007
How can humiliation produced on being forced to put on women's clothes by hostile women cause sexual excitement? The late psychologist and author Robert Stoller wrote so much on the topic of males enjoying being treated like females--called Transvestism. Transvestism is usually a heterosexual male who enjoys wearing women's clothing and pretending to be a woman. Stoller talked about a client he worked with who enjoyed being forced to wear women's clothing. Stoller identified some reasons and I have added some of my own here: In the meantime, my heart goes out to Oscar De La Hoya and hope he stays strong during this time of attempted humiliaton of him.
Oscar De La Hoya
still maintains that the ever increasing
that show a man
identified as the boxer in a variety of
outfits are not him. But the scandal seems to
day and more
pictures are released with women included and
growing. On Thursday a tape of a phone call
was played on the nightly entertainment
show Entertainment Tonight. The call
mentioned an amount of $70,000 for the
photos. And the Los Angeles paparazzi
agency that continues to post new
photos everyday has
now released this.
- He knows it is only a fantasy.
- The excitement is accompanied by a guilt-removing devise inherent on the story: since the pathetic man is being forced to dress by the cruel woman, he cannot be accused of wanting to do this himself.
- He gets to be something he cannot be in non-erotic life--softer and more gentle like a woman.
- The excitement if often related to the fact and awareness that he is really a male being dressed as female. There is no excitement if they actually turn him into a woman. The arousal is the humiliation of being male treated and turned into a female while still being a male.
My belief as to why men have these type of transvestite fantasies is due to misandry--the hatred of men. I will talk more about this in future blogs.
Friday, September 21, 2007
Craig scandal brings issue of sexual identity to light
Gay, straight, bi, MSM all valid terms, researchers say
ELIZABETH PERRY Friday, September 21, 2007
Sen. Larry Craig’s (R-Idaho) arrest last June for allegedly soliciting sex from another man in an airport restroom and his insistence that he is straight has reawakened the debate over sexual behavior, identity and orientation.“I am not gay. I have never been gay,” Craig said at an oft-quoted Aug. 28 news conference. “I did nothing wrong at the Minneapolis Airport.”
Kort, a gay therapist who specializes in gay affirmative therapy, said it is possible that Craig might well be homosexual in terms of orientation, but not identity. He said being “gay” is an identity, while being “homosexual” is an orientation.
“I treat many men who are homosexual and do not wish to be gay,” Kort said. “They cannot and do not change their orientation, however. For these men, and Larry Craig may be one of them, being gay is the furthest from how they see themselves. He may be a straight man who enjoys occasional sex with men or he might be a homosexual or bisexual man, but would never identify this way because it is an affirmative identity that does not fit for him.”
That view is controversial among many gays who reject the notion that “gay” is an identity. Some scientists and researchers in fields ranging from psychology, AIDS research, blood donation and more, use the term “men who have sex with men,” or MSM, for their purposes. It’s useful to them because it removes the stigma associated with terms like gay or bi and while questions of the latter terms raise a bounty of identity issues, MSM is more concrete and quantifiable.
Focus on the Family's Love Won Out
conference will be featured during a segment of ABC's
20/20 scheduled to air Friday. The show, called "The Toughest Call," is
to air from 9 to 11 p.m. EST. "It's about people who have to make tough
choices in their lives," said Allison Lynn, a 20/20 producer.
Focus on the Family's Love Won Out ministry exhorts and equips the church
to respond in a Christ-like way to the issue of homosexuality. And to those who
struggle with unwanted same-sex attractions, the event offers the Gospel hope
that the desires can be overcome. "Many of the speakers at our conferences
had to make a very difficult choice," said Mónica Martí, Love Won Out media
manager. "They had to choose to live their lives by God's standard for
sexuality, instead of bowing down to their own feelings or what popular culture
said was unavoidable. The courage and transparency they exhibit during their
sessions resonates with men and women struggling with the same decision
today." ABC News Correspondent JuJu Chang visited the conference in Omaha,
Neb., held in April.
As you know if you are a regular blog reader of Straight Guise, I am vehement that if anyone is helped by these organizations and actually "converted" from gay to straight they were not gay to begin with! They were one of the straight guise I identified in the beginning of this blog.
THE CASE OF TED:
Last night I met with a client (Ted), of whom I have had hundreds like him, who was acting out homosexually from sexual abuse as a child and is in full recovery–not of homosexuality but of trauma and abuse.
Ted found guys through the Internet that he could get to worship his muscular athletic body and fellate him. They would even kiss.
While Focus on the Family and Love Won Out would say, “This guy is gay or at least bisexual”–he is neither.We uncovered he was reenacting his childhood trauma and abuse.
As an adolescent an older man told Ted he had a great build for his age–which he did. The abuse went on for several years.
This client is looking for intimacy with men–which our society leaves little to no room for among men.
And Ted is not gay. He is aroused by women, desires women, has sex with women and compulsively sexually acts out with men. He does not desire men, he sexually acts out with them for physical release and other psychological issues--none of which have to do with a homosexual identity.
Focus on the Family and Narth would take these straight men, label them as “homosexuals” struggling with “same sex attraction” and when they heal identity them as ex-gay.
It is not gay. I wish they would leave “gay” and “homosexual” out of their entire discussion.
They believe all homosexuality is about pathological origins and slant good information about heterosexual men and women who have issues with homosexual behavior and label them gay and lesbian.
The other part--perhaps more offensive and hateful--is that there are gay men and women who are riddled with self-hate who look to these organizations as hope that they can change and rid themselves of being homosexual. This is called, "sexual anorexia".
Sexual orientation cannot change–ever!
Thursday, September 20, 2007
Some women, consciously or unconsciously, gravitate toward gays or MSMs. This happens for a variety of reasons—most of which are unconscious and subtle. While there are many women who marry gays or MSMs knowingly, the majority have no conscious awareness of this.
Many women who marry gays or MSMs are enablers and codependent. That is, these women allow their spouses to continue their behavior and feel unworthy and powerless to confront it after they realize it is happening.
A straight woman may be unconsciously drawn to men who might betray her. Perhaps while growing up, she experienced lies and witnessed emotional boundary violations that remained unresolved and left her traumatized. This could turn her into a co-addict who unconsciously seeks a “familiar” man who violates her trust all over again.
On the other hand, she may believe that she is attractive enough to “convert” a gay man.
Still other women marry gay men or MSMs out of unconscious codependency and an interest in controlling or micromanaging a “flawed” partner. Finally, some women are drawn to men who aren’t anything like their macho, patriarchal, abusive fathers in the hope that their partners will not sexually or otherwise overpower them.
A very common reason women marry men with sexual interest in other men is the desire for sexual and emotional distance within the relationship. Often these women have sexual issues themselves that have not been addressed and are attracted to men in similar situations.
Women are so engrained not to explore their own sexuality and to fend off the predatory nature of most heterosexual men that there is a tendency to lack awareness of their male partners’ sexuality as well.
No matter what the case, the majority of these women truly love their husbands, and their husbands love them back, while still being drawn to same-sex encounters. Despite the initial reasons for their attraction, it is important to stress that most of these marriages are built on actual love.
This blog will focus on how these men and women can understand themselves better and why to stay married—or decide to split up.
I will help these women understand their spouse’s sexuality and what they are trying to work through. Hopefully they will come away with more compassion and love for their male partners.
Likewise, these men are working through their own trauma and issues. But while women tend to withdraw and shut down sexually from their trauma, men tend to act out.
When women recover sexual abuse memories they need time and space and a lot of patience from their male partners. Straight Guise need the same from their female partners.
This blog will address how to help the women involved with these men tolerate their MSM’s recovery process, or if the man is truly gay and wants to divorce, how to tolerate that as well.
“Why would a guy who has sexual thoughts and behaviors with other men marry a woman?”
As for MSMs, it’s because they see their interest in men as purely sexual and do not have any interest in being romantic or affectionate with a man nor building a life for themselves in such a way. That is simply not their identity.
Saturday, September 15, 2007
At first I didn't understand this phenomenon until I put it into context of how straight men love to watch two women and even watch their wives have sex with other women. Then it made sense.
At Gay Affirmative Trainings for professional therapists and students of a class I teach at Wayne State University on gay and lesbian studies I would show film clips of various movies and television shows portraying gay and lesbian relationship and sexuality. The women in my class all knew of the shows and would reveal they enjoyed watching the two men having sex during the shows. One show in particular which was arousing for them was "Queer as Folk".
But the most shocking to me was learning that some lesbians enjoyed and were aroused by watching gay male porn too. At first I thought it was a joke. How could this be? Why would a group of women who are self-identified as lesbians--inherently meaning that they are sexually and romantically attracted to other women--be turned on by man-on-man porn?
In an article called, "Hot Man On Man Action (And the Lesbians Who Love Watching It), by Elizabeth F. Stewart in the magazine In the Family she wrote several reasons why lesbians enjoyed gay male porn. Though her survey is unscientific it should not be overlooked.
Here are some of the reasons Stewart cites that some lesbians enjoy gay porn. I would say these are the same reasons straight women like gay male porn as well:
- The lack of storyline with emotional content in gay male
- It is a myth that all women--lesbian or
straight--want a storyline and emotional
- Lesbians dislike heterosexual porn. They feel the
women-on-women sex scenes are made for heterosexual men (and they are!) for their titillation and it doesn't seem authentic between the two women. In fact to many it seems fake!
- In gay male porn the men cannot fake arousal and what the
viewer sees is real.
- Gay male sex is "nastier," more "down and dirty," and "forbidden" one women interviewed was quoted as saying in the article.
Another reason I have found women enjoy gay male porn is the balance of power between the two men. In other words, in straight porn, the male is dominant and the woman is submissive simply there to arouse the man. And as found in the survey, the women's arousal seems fake.
However in gay male porn both men enjoy the sexual interaction and the power exchange is balanced and equalized.
Yet another reason is cited in the article by therapist Marny Hall reports in the article is that lesbians "have sexual fantasies that involve penises". She states that
"lesbians report high levels of childhood sexual abuse. Identification with the
abuser (predominantly men) achieved by means of porn-enhanced, non-threatening
fantasies can go a long way toward healing old wounds. There are all kinds of
ways abuse can be recycled--unconscious and conscious assumption of top or
bottom role for purposes of master/healing, [and/or] reenactment of pleasurable
aspects of abuse in new, safe contexts."
I think the blogger comments here speak to how labels are used and only hurt by boxing people in.
Thursday, September 13, 2007
HUSBANDS OUT TO THEIR WIVES
Who We ARE Husbands Out to their Wives is a support group for married Gay or Bisexual men who either have or intend to come out to their wives. (The requirement is that a commitment has been made to themselves that it is necessary for their personal well-being and to have absolute honesty with the wife.)
The group was started in 1996 as a sub-group of Bi-Married Men of America (BMMA), an established group for married men who have identified themselves as Gay or Bisexual, but have not necessarily made the decision to come out of the closet to their spouses. The men in HOW represent a wide variety of life styles as far as relating their sexuality to their marriages. Some have no M2M intimate relationships, some do with the support of their wives, and there are examples of triad relationships living under the same roof. But these three types of situations are only some of the examples you will find within our group.
The basic purpose of the group is to be there for support in the struggles that the male certainly has as he tries to work through the problems that marriages, where the spouses may have different sexual orientations, have. One of the commonalities we find among ourselves is the lack of real male friends; guys we have bonded with, that we share our lives with in the way it appears that women do with their friends. We do not give advice, rather relate through personal experiences, the ways in which we have handled our own lives. We advocate neither divorce nor separation, but we never fail to realize the fact that in human emotions, that status (divorce) may be inevitable for some.
We request that those who have gone through divorce remain on the list for the support and understanding they can offer - both the positives and the negatives of their experiences. Our subjects or "threads" vary from discussions of our sexuality, our relationship to our wives and children, the process of coming out to our children, the sharing of humor (it is needed to break the depression that too often results), spiritual discussions, book or movie reviews or discussions, men's health and sex issues, and anything that helps us to support one another. It has been the tradition to have an Annual Gathering - 2003 was in Toronto, 2004 in Philadelphia, Baltimore in 2005, and Las Vegas in Oct. 2006. This year we will be meeting in Providence in November, an average of 32 men attending each year.
Be aware also, that this can be a very intensive email list. Over the history of the list, we average 30 posts a day coming through the server. Because those that are on the list never truly lose the need for support, problems raised range from the "How do we out", "how do we fulfill our personal needs while remaining in the marriage" to "Ways of remaining self-validated", which may include separation and divorce.
There are approximately 200 members on the list at any given time (233 as of this morning 9/12/07), that number slowly increasing as members join, resign, frequently come back, and there is more recognition and need as the vast numbers of us are slowly being recognized.. We demand civility and a humanistic approach in all we say, though the group is basically unmoderated with an administrator and an advisory committee of long-standing members.
What We Need for Membership in the List:
Being aware of the need for privacy and protection, particularly in those just contemplating coming out, HOW is a closed list in the sense that one must apply, and comply with the simple bits of information we request, some for record-keeping, some for the members to get to know each other, how to respond.
1. Your real name. This is published to the list only if you wish, but we do need it for our records - only the moderator and the bio guy ever have access to the Master List If you do not want your last name used (many begin that way), request that and we will comply. (we will also accept a complete alias for publication purposes - we still need your real name.) Be aware, however, that many of us have emails that display our real names. If you have that type of address, the guys are intelligent enough to figure out who you are.
2. To help all of us determine where we might find a "brother", we request city/country/state or province/ a phone area code where appropriate.
3. Responses can be age-based. Please include your birthdate (we also maintain a list to exchange greetings) or at least your current age.
4. Please tell us if your wife is aware of your current orientation or if your are in the process of telling her, If the latter is appropriate, try to remember that we rarely do things without a time table - we don't need that, you do.
5. Please include a paragraph telling us where you are today that can be sent to the membership in your welcoming letter, 3 - 5 sentences which may includes your intention or how you outted/got outted; length of marriage; age of spouse; your feelings; family situation ( # of kids, ages); if out, how open is your closet door. (This introductory bio can be as comprehensive as you wish, just remember that what you say is how the members will respond.)
6. Within 2 - 4 weeks we require a longer biography (and we will send samples), length and detail to be determined by you, based on the theory that the more we know about you, the better we can tailor our experiences to help you on you potentially bumpy road, This will be placed in our archives for other members to access in order to help each other. (Access to bios requires a list membership number which is only assigned when you submit your own bio.)
I don't want to over-emphasize the importance of letting the Moderator know about your name and whether it can be released to the membership. Each of us deserves the right to determine who and when our private lives become known. To repeat, you may request you last name be withheld from the group, or you may write with your real name and ask to use an alias online.
Please just don't ask for no last name being used if it appears in your email address from your serve - Yahoo is notorious for this.
If we are what you are looking for to regain self-authenticity, please understand that we are ready to help I hope we hear back from you. Please send the information to email@example.com
I have received many emails from gay men who have told me that reading this blog is like reading pornography for them in that they have fantasies of wanting to be sexual with straight men.
I have had many clients that enjoy finding straight men they can convince to be sexual with them.
The following is an excerpt on this topic of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy from chapter 7 of my book, 10 Smart Things Gay Men Can Do To Find Real Love.
I identify the cultural phenomenon of gay males seeking “straight acting” gay men because of internalized homophobia and how they’re more often looking for masculine acting men.
But what about gay men’s sexual obsessions with real straight men? I’ve heard countless clients tell me of their interest in “getting sexual with a straight man” for one night. Some clients talk about wanting the man to remain straight all the way through the fantasy while they “service” him without reciprocation. Others want him to participate by talking or telling him what to do, while still others want him to lay back and be worshiped. Others want the straight man to humiliate them, while still others want the straight man to suddenly become sexually interested back toward him. Whatever the case, it gives you more information about yourself.
I see sexual fantasies about straight men as longings for being accepted by straight men in general or your father. Straight men can be stand-ins for your fathering figures—a dynamic very similar to that of the fag hag who flirts heavily with gay men, knowing nothing will come of it.
In Arousal, Bader describes the situation of straight women sexually attracted to gay men because they’re “safe.” He writes that these women can become “sexually expressive . . . in a more confident and spontaneous way than they can with straight men . . . because their overtures will not be reciprocated. These are women who have anxieties about being sexual with straight men because they’re afraid of being overpowered or rejected.”
A gay man won’t cross the line toward her, makes it safe for women to flirt and be sexually aggressive with him without risking rejection, since he is gay anyway. If she convinces the gay guy to be sexual with her, Bader states that this is “reassurance that she is especially attractive.”
Gay men have been wounded, bruised, beaten down, and humiliated by straight men— resulting in straight men, particularly those in a position of authority, being recipients of both positive and negative transference from gay men. We hear over and over that these men would never accept a sissy boy—which we have accepted that we are. Because of this, gay men often fear straight men.
As children, we do love these paternal figures and we want their acceptance; as adults, we sexualize these straight men because it unconsciously offers a way to feel safely and pleasantly attached to them. In the sexual fantasy of pleasing a straight guy, you finally get a chance to make contact with him and get the approval you have always wanted.
Some gay men have fantasies of overpowering straight men—seducing or forcing gay sex onto them. Again, while these fantasies can make for exciting fun, preoccupation with them or acting on them—even with a willing straight male—won’t help you find Mr. Right in the long run, if that is in fact what you are looking for. It can also be a distraction from examining your own issues around straight males.
Monday, September 10, 2007
For men, 'straight' label is inflexible
BY J. PEDER ZANE, The News & Observer
Consider this: Almost half of all men who have sex with other men in public bathrooms consider themselves straight, according to William Leap, a professor of anthropology at American University, who has studied this behavior since the early 1990s.
"They insist, 'I'm not gay, I'm not homosexual, I'm straight,' " Leap told me. "The general description for these guys is they are married and they often talk about these encounters as recreational -- fun, excitement, a break from the long workday."
One man told Leap that the encounters offered "dangerous excitement" in contrast to his emotionally dull second marriage. Another man said he would stop off at a known cruising spot after work, have sex, then pick up a quart of milk before returning home to his wife and kids. "It was almost like a scheduled activity he had in his day planner," Leap said.
A complex continuum
Leap, who edited the essay collection "Public Sex, Gay Space," agreed that most people would conclude these men are gay -- a view he described as overly simplistic. For starters, he said, that judgment defines these men by one aspect of their behavior, discounting, for example, their lives with their wives. It also presumes that society's general assumptions about how straight men should act are more accurate than their own conceptions of themselves as heterosexuals. Finally, Leap said, it defines homosexuality exclusively in terms of sex.
"Being gay is not just a sexual position," he said. "It also involves a self-acceptance and a public declaration, a willingness to to say 'I am gay' and to make that clear to one's self. Perhaps these men are in denial, but if we just write them off as closeted or repressed, we limit our understanding of what straightness might entail."
I wasn't completely convinced. The taboos on homosexual activity are so strong that, it seems, only powerful urges could impel men to cross that line. At heart, it must be something they feel they must do to satisfy a fundamental need.
The issue, Leap countered, is not whether these men are gay but the constricted ways American society views straight male behavior. The rest of the population -- women and gay men -- are not bound by the one drop rule.
Few would suggest, for example, that a self-identified gay man who sleeps with women on occasion is secretly straight. Or consider the images of young women making out with each other in the "Girls Gone Wild" videos. I don't know anybody who immediately concludes that they are lesbians. Show people videos of men kissing, and people will instantly say they are gay.
Friday, September 7, 2007
I promised not to turn this blog into anything political and I plan to keep that promise. The fact that so much of my latest entries is about a political figure, Sen. Larry Craig, is only because he is in the media and he is prompting conversations and debates about men who have sex with men (MSM).
We are seeing more and more that homophobic men are not always hiding homosexuality or deeply closeted. Some of these men were sexually abused and/or gender abused where their manhood was perhaps shamed and questioned.
In Larry Craig's case he was hiding homosexual behavior, not identity.
Men like Larry Craig who promoted prejudice by voting against gay rights was one of those men. His homophobia, as the quote from Christophe Gentaz says, is a psychological condom which was exposed the day he was arrested.
Today the Washington Blade, a gay newspaper, has an excellent Opinion article entitled:Understanding Craig’s identity Gay Like many blacks, Idaho senator rejects media image of modern gay male.
Friday, September 07, 2007
Here is a blurb from the article:
Society must come to terms with the fact that not everyone who has gay sex is necessarily gay. Although it may be a difficult concept for some to comprehend, gay sexual behavior does not equate to gay sexual orientation.
WE LIVE IN a society that is determined to categorize and force people into boxes, assigning them a ratings value of good or bad based upon their race, class, culture and sexual identification.
Today for an individual to self-identity as gay, they seemingly must take on an image created by the media that is based upon societal stereotypes.Craig rejects this identify, simply because this is not who he is.
He is a conservative, married man who has very little in common with America’s gay identity. In fact he is perfectly valid in stating that he is not a gay man.
Teen in hazing case sentenced to probation
The hazing detailed in the school and police investigation included restraining students by holding down their arms and legs, slapping victims' stomachs to cause the skin to turn pink, applying pressure to the victim's rectal area through their clothes using thumbs or fingers -- on one occasion, a toothbrush was used to apply pressure. The allegations also included pulling down the perpetrators' pants and putting their rear ends in the face of victims, and using their hands in the victim's genital areas.
I find it of interest that no one talks about the homo-erotic tone to these types of acts. When these articles are written there are no accusations of those involved being homosexual, gay or bisexual.
Why is that? Certainly there is something sexual--even if covertly--about these boys engaging in these types of acts. And yet there is no public outcry, accusations or exploration about what these boys are trying to express in terms of their sexuality.
I suggest that these males engaging in these behaviors are Straight Guise who have various interests in exploring homosexuality and perhaps are not gay. The only permission we give males in our society to expore this is being on the downlow, violence, hazing, bathrooms, or other underground and dark places.
Thursday, September 6, 2007
Larry Craig: I Will Not Blow This Job
Idaho Senator Withdraws Resignation
Less than one week after announcing his intention to resign from office, embattled Sen. Larry Craig (R-Idaho) changed course today, telling reporters in Washington, “I will not blow this job.” Over the past few days, there had been whispers in Republican circles that Sen. Craig had, in the words of one of the Idaho senator’s associates, “pulled out too early,” “At the end of the day, Larry does not want to blow this job,” the associate said. “He will do whatever it takes to win back the support of his constituents, even if it means getting down on his knees.”
Another associate of Sen. Craig’s agreed that the Idaho senator announced his intention to vacate his Senate seat too hastily: “I think Larry now feels that to leave office on September 30 would be a premature evacuation.” Sen. Craig got a key vote of support from Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Penn), who held a press conference at the Senate today to call the charges against the Idaho senator a “bum rap.”
But even as Sen. Craig picked up the support of Sen. Specter, a source close to the Republican caucus indicated that most Republicans are “backing away” from Sen. Craig. For his part, Sen. Craig told reporters that he would take whatever steps are necessary to find favor with his Republican colleagues: “I will absolutely bend over backwards.”
Elsewhere, after a B-52 pilot flew over several U.S. states carrying nuclear warheads, the Air Force said that it would discontinue its use of Mapquest.
The fundamental principle here is that he is reenacting his sexual abuse, not expressing a homosexual identity.
In other words the behavior is homosexual in that it is male on male. However, the sexually abused male is heterosexual. Reparative therapies would lead you to believe that there is "not such thing as homosexuality" and that all homosexual expression is an "acting out".
This is false.
There are men who behave homosexually and are truly gay--romantically, affectinally, spiritually, sexually and psychologically.
Homosexually imprinted men are straight men whose homosexual expression is about behavioral acting out from original trauma.
SEX & LOVE MAPPING
By mapping I mean that one’s love and sexual preference map are determined early on in childhood. It is how we learn how to love. We observe and absorb how others love or neglect or abuse us and that becomes our “love map” according to John Money, a pioneer in the field of sexology.
This map becomes a template for what you seek out for pleasure in your adulthood.
Early in childhood, we’re all imprinted with family beliefs and societal norms. Imprinting is the psychological process by which specific types of behavior are locked in, at an early stage of development. All of us, gay and straight alike, are conditioned to think, feel, and act the way our early childhood caretakers nurture and teach us.
The first important thing to consider is this doesn’t mean the client is gay or even bi. He is simply left with an imprint to re-enact his homosexual abuse and find “pleasure” in what was inflicted on him as a child. In reality, this isn’t pleasure at all, but trauma turned into orgasm.
In the book, Male Victims of Same-Sex Abuse: Addressing Their Sexual Response by John M. Preble and A. Nicholas Groth they say it best:
“……this may actually reflect an effort at mastery of the traumatic event …..when he was being sexually victimized, someone else was in control of him sexually. During masturbation he is literally in control of himself sexually, and this may be a way in which he attempts to reclaim mastery over his own sexuality. Likewise, his participation in consensual sex reflects his choice and decision.”
The authors go on to say that “the fantasy thoughts are prompted by fear more than desire, by anxiety more than pleasure”. In other words, they become a way of managing the fear and anxiety.
Second, just because the sexual abuse was committed by a male doesn’t mean that it constituted homosexuality. When men sexually abuse girls, we don’t claim it’s about heterosexuality! We say it is simply sexual abuse—which involves power, violation and rape. Nothing about that is related to orientation.
For more information on male survivors of sexual abuse go to MaleSurvivor.org
Wednesday, September 5, 2007
If Craig could simply say, “I’m straight, I just like to have an occasional sexual adventure with a man,” he might not have to spend his life desperately trying to convince himself that he’s not gay. He might not have to spend his professional career viciously trashing homosexuality and preventing gays from accessing their full civil rights.
He might have a marital crisis on his hands, but that’s his private business. As almost everyone agrees, lying to your spouse about having sex with someone else is immoral, regardless of their gender. Craig’s fears about his “immorality”—and his rantings about others’—were focused on the wrong thing.
I completely agree with Klein.
It isn't just men who are deeply closeted who bash gays and lesbians, it is those who are often hiding something of a sexual nature such as their own affairs, sexual fetishes and fantasies, sexual abuse, and sexual addiction to name just a few examples. Through hating themselves for their own unwanted feelings, desires and beliefs they lash out at others for their "naughty behaviors" as Craig did toward Former President Clinton and opposing gay rights.
Marty Klein is author of the book:
Monday, September 3, 2007
Click here to read the full transcript of the show
The highlights of the show where Rob talks about sexual addiction are:
KING: Why would a United States senator with the problem risk it all in a public men's room?
WEISS: Shame and repression. Here's a guy who may have parts of himself that he doesn't want anyone to know about and he's going to go off on a secret place to act them out and hope that no one's going to find out he may have some compulsive or addictive sexual behaviors. Clearly, there's a part of him he doesn't like and doesn't want anyone else to know about.
KING: What do your patients tell you about the rush they get? What do they get out of this?
WEISS: The rush is about the possibility of getting caught, the excitement, a look in the stall and see who's there and maybe it will happen and maybe it won't. It is like an addictive experience, Larry. Sex addiction is like a gambling addiction -- the guy who gambles his kid's college fund even though he loves his kid. Here's a guy who loved his position, but he went and gambled it all in a sexual act.
Later he says:
WEISS: If I can just take it out of the political for just a second. You asked about feeling sorry for someone. I feel sorry for his wife. I really feel for this woman who stood by this man all these years and she's faced with a reality either that she didn't know about or didn't want to know about or kept to herself. Who does she talk to and turn to?
WEISS: Taking it a little bit out of the political, I wonder if he had been arrested for being sexual with a woman if this -- if he would have been abandoned as quickly and early. If he had been with a prostitute or --
WEISS: So if you think it's legal - and I say this to the guys I work with all the time, they say I've been entrapped or this shouldn't have happened to me. Go talk to your congressman and try to make public sex legal. But if it's illegal, the police have a right to prosecute. If I have a kid in the park and I want to take him to the restroom, I don't want to see two guys getting it on in there.
WEISS: Working with so many of the spouses as I do, I often hear that they blame themselves especially at the beginning. If I had been more attractive to him, if I had been more sexual with him and it's such a shameful issue for them to talk about for them and I'm sure for you.
And we know that nothing these wives have done or said could ever make their husband act out in this way.
Sunday, September 2, 2007
For almost 40 years most police departments have been aware of something that still escapes the general public: men who troll for sex in public places, gay or “not gay,” are, for the most part, upstanding citizens. Arresting them costs a lot and accomplishes little.
(Above is the arresting police officer, Police Sgt. Dave Karsnia)
In 1970, Laud Humphreys published the groundbreaking dissertation he wrote as a doctoral candidate at Washington University called “Tearoom Trade: Impersonal Sex in Public Places.” Because of his unorthodox methods — he did not get his subjects’ consent, he tracked down names and addresses through license plate numbers, he interviewed the men in their homes in disguise and under false pretenses — “Tearoom Trade” is now taught as a primary example of unethical social research.
That said, what results! In minute, choreographic detail, Mr. Humphreys (who died in 1988) illustrated that various signals — the foot tapping, the hand waving and the body positioning — are all parts of a delicate ritual of call and answer, an elaborate series of codes that require the proper response for the initiator to continue. Put simply, a straight man would be left alone after that first tap or cough or look went unanswered.
I would disagree with her last statement that, "a straight men would be left alone after that first tap or cough or look went unanswered".
Rather, an uninterested man would be left alone after that first tap or cough or look went unanswered.
I love how the author of this Op-Ed piece ends her story:
...let’s stop being so surprised when we discover that our public figures have their own complex sex lives, and start being more suspicious when they self-righteously denounce the sex lives of others.
The referrals are usually deeply closeted homosexual men who do not self-identify as gay. They are in the early stages of coming out deeply repressed. They are usually married, with children and hold highly prestigious jobs. Others are not gay nor do they desire sex with men. The main reason is for sexual release and lack of judgment during the sexual act. They are not fantasizing or longing for a man the way they would women.
The main reasons are that they are re-enacting early childhood sexual abuse, physical abuse or are interested in certain sexual acts which they are afraid to tell anyone--especially their wives. Others are bisexual and closeted about their homosexual side. Other reasons exist as well which, again, have nothing to do with homosexual orientation.
I have heard repeatedly that the police informally call the operation Bag-a-Fag. This form of prejudice and hatred is repulsive of course. More ignorant to me is that the police force or anyone else believe that these are only gay men in the stalls of these bathrooms.
To the left is the police officer who arrested Sen. Larry Craig. From the tapes played on television he sounded professional and appropriate which is what I would hope would be the case. However my clients tell me over and over that the police officers who arrest them call them homophobic names and deal with them in contempt.
When my straight clients have been caught having public sex they either get a "tap on the car door" or a "flashlight on them on the beach" and told to go somewhere private with the police officer smiling affirmly.
Because these are men having sex with men the belief this is about gay men and it is not.
In the article, So Many Men's Rooms, So Little Time Why men like Larry Craig continue to to court danger in public places. By Christopher Hitchens on Saturday, Sept. 1, 2007 Hitchens starts out well talking about a popular piece of research by Laud Humphrey;
In his study of men who frequent public restrooms in search of sex, Laud Humphreys discovered that 54 percent were married and living with their wives, 38 percent did not consider themselves homosexual or bisexual, and only 14 per cent identified themselves as openly gay. Tearoom Trade: Impersonal Sex in Personal Places, a doctoral thesis which was published in 1970, detailed exactly the pattern—of foot-tapping in code, hand-gestures and other tactics—which has lately been garishly publicized at the Minneapolis-St Paul airport men's room. The word "tearoom" seems to have become archaic, but in all other respects the fidelity to tradition is impressive.
The men interviewed by Humphreys wanted what many men want: a sexual encounter that was quick and easy and didn't involve any wining and dining. Some of the heterosexuals among them had also evolved a tactic for dealing with the cognitive dissonance that was involved. They compensated for their conduct by adopting extreme conservative postures in public. Humphreys, a former Episcopalian priest, came up with the phrase "breastplate of righteousness" to describe this mixture of repression and denial. So it is quite thinkable that when Sen. Craig claims not to be gay, he is telling what he honestly believes to be the truth.
But then he moves to this:
However, this still leaves a slight mystery. In the 1960s, homosexuality was illegal in general and gay men were forced to cruise in places where (if I can phrase it like this) every man and boy in the world has to come sometime. Today, anyone wanting a swift male caress can book it online or go to a discreet resort. Yet people still persist in haunting the tearoom, where they risk arrest not for their sexuality but for "disorderly conduct." Why should this be?
He is assuming that gay men are in these stalls after he just cited research that showed that most of the men are not self-identified as gay.
The truth is that these men have numerous reasons why they sexually act out with men.
So to Hitchens and others who have the same question as to why should this be, the reason is that any form of adult male to male affection and male contact other than sports is prohibited. This is not a gay thing, it is a guy thing!
Saturday, September 1, 2007
These Straight Guise are not inclined to tell their female partners about their sexual behavior, of course, because they are concerned they will lose the one person they love most. Women often say that men keeping their sexual desires and behaviors a secret is an example that they’re not in love anymore. But the opposite is often true—because a man cares so strongly for his wife, he wants to protect her feelings. This is not very comforting for the spouse who feels (and has been) betrayed. For a woman, her self-worth, sexual and mental health all suffer.
Discretion versus Disclosure
What should the female partner do upon learning this information? It is easy to label the Straight Guise as gay and/or bisexual and for him to do so himself, but the truth might be that he is neither. Understanding this can help save marriages and increase understanding, compassion and empathy for one another.
If he is gay then telling his wife and being honest with himself can begin the healing for them both.
When Straight Guise come out of his closet the straight spouses go immediately in. She often blames herself for her male partner’s wanderings and needs help to avoid drawing the conclusion that there was something wrong with the marriage. It may or may not have something to do with problems in the marriage but the majority of the reason is about the man himself.
Most extramarital affairs, whether the couple is straight or gay, result from one or both partners’ inability to achieve and keep intimacy. While these factors affect many heterosexual marriages, the Straight Guise’s predominant motive for “straying” is to find his true identity and reveal it to himself. Straight Guise typically cheat or act out because they’re repressing part of themselves. Their conflict is about their “identity,” not about their ability to love and bond with their partner. It is not the result of marital problems.
Typically the female spouse feels as though she did something to cause her husband to seek out affairs with men. As readily as she claims total responsibility for the state of her marriage, her male partner is willing to blame her as well, often claiming that she wasn’t responsive to his needs. Once both partners understand that the acting out is probably about issues of identity, not dissatisfaction; and once the man begins treating his female partner as a partner rather than as an adversary, they can begin to resolve their relationship.
Gay? No. Homosexual? Maybe
He is homosexual, by his own guilty plea after being arrested for public loo trolling on June 11, 2007 (Craig’s Waterloo, this scandal’s basis). But being gay requires, at the barest minimum, self-identification and acceptance of a same-sex orientation.
This is what Straight Guise is all about.
Homosexual is a sexual orientation. Gay is an affirmative identity.
Plenty of men--and women for that matter--understand that their sexual orientation is homosexual. However, how they self-identify can be very different.
The reason this is so controversial is twofold. Gay men--such as myself--would never dream of not fulfilling their core authentic selves and they shouldn't.
However, in my practice I see many men and women who understand that they are homosexual and do not want to live as a gay man or lesbian. Who am I or anyone else to tell them they "should" live that way.
For many their religious beliefs, ethnicity, personal values, family ethics are too strong for them to go against. For these folks, living an out gay or lesbian life would mean depression even though most psychology would predict a life of depression not doing so.
But we are talking about two different things--being in the closet and being out. The homosexual men and women I treat who do not want to be self-identified as gay or lesbian are not in the closet. They recognize and accept that they have homosexual urges, feelings and desires and that if they choose to do so they would be gay or lesbian but they choose not to do so.
This is different than reparative therapies or any other program which tells its members they can change from gay to straight--turn their homosexuality into heterosexuality. This is hogwash!
Organizations such as the American Counseling Association, the American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological Association, the National Association of School Psychologists, and the National Association of Social Workers have all denounced these reparative attempts.
These reparative therapies only lead to a life of depression not because they are suppressing their core selves but because they are being taught to hate and reject who they are at their core and lied to that change is possible.
Living heterosexually and being homosexual is possible as long as shame and self-hate are not part of the equation.
Those reading this would say, "Well, isn't that living in shame if you are homosexual but choose not to live that way?"
Try telling that to the man who is 62, married and loves his wife and does not wish to live a lifestyle of gayness. Or tell that to a women who was raped repeatedly and sexually molested by men throughout her childhood who decides to self-identify as a lesbian even though she knows she is straight.
These folks may, through therapy or other means, come out and work through their issues. But perhaps they won't, don't, or do not wish to?
Historically I would have said yes to this but have treated too many men and women who would suffer living out as gay men and lesbians. They would lose their families, marriages, children, religious groups, jobs, and other factors which for them the stakes are too high and would ruin their lives.
I am not condoning secret lives or living on the downlow.
The answer is not to shame these folks so that like Larry Craig they go to bathrooms or get on the internet and have anonymous sex. The answer is to understand them and help them understand themselves and to make the best decision they can for themselves and for their loved ones.
Politics, personal agendas, religious beliefs, reparative therapy camps aside, people should have the right to self-identify as they wish without putting other sexual and romantic orientations down as a result.