Monday, October 15, 2007

Sen. Larry Craig to be on Matt Laur Primetime October 16, 2007

NBC confirms Matt Lauer will interview embattled Sen. Larry Craig Tuesday October 16, 2007. The interview will air in a Matt Lauer Reports primetime special. Excerpts will also run on the Today show Wednesday morning. Lauer will also interview the Senator's wife, Suzanne Craig, who will be speaking publicly for the first time about the incident and the events that followed.

While I don't believe he is innocent of his foot tapping and intent to have sex with another man, I also don't believe he is gay.

I have had hundreds of heterosexual male clients have sex with men and the only thing homosexual about it was the sexual act. Nothing more.

Research is starting to support that sexual acts can be distinct from romantic love. In other words, one can have sexual acts with another human being and it can be void of any romantic and affectional feelings.

Men have intuited this all along. Myself included, we men know that there can be sex for release, sex for love and sex for both. So then why is it such a stretch to believe that men having public sex in restrooms with other men are only doing it for sexual release and nothing more.

Researcher Lisa Diamond tackles the issue of sexual desire and romantic love. Diamond, a researcher and Associate Professor Psychology and Gender Studies Department of Psychology at the Univerisity of Utah wrote an article called, Emerging Perspectives on Distinctions Between Romantic Love and Sexual Desire in Current Directions in Psychological in 2004 stating:

Sexual desire typically denotes a need or drive to seek out sexual
objects or
to engage in sexual activities, whereas romantic love typically
denotes
the
powerful feelings of emotional infatuation and attachment
between
intimate
partners.
Okay so we kind of know this. But in her research she says:

Furthermore, extensive cross-cultural and historical research shows
that
individuals often develop feelings of romantic love for partners
of the
‘‘wrong’’ gender (i.e., heterosexuals fall in love with same gender
partners
and lesbian and gay individuals fall in love with
other-gender partners, as
reviewed in Diamond, 2003). Although
some modern observers have argued that
such relationships must
involve hidden or suppressed sexual desires, the
straightforward
written reports of the participants themselves are not
consistent with
such a blanket characterization. Rather, it seems that
individuals are
capable of developing intense, enduring, preoccupying
affections for
one another regardless of either partner’s sexual
attractiveness or
arousal.
What I find of most interest in that excerpt from her study is this:

Although some modern observers have argued that such relationships must involve hidden or suppressed sexual desires, the straightforward written reports of the participants themselves are not consistent with such a blanket characterization.

So this explains why it is possible for gays and lesbians to heterosexually marry and truly fall in love with their spouses. They are not manufacturing it they truly are romantically and affectionally attached to their spouses.

Diamond goes onto say in her article:
Why do the majority of human adults fall in love only with partners to whom
they
are sexually attracted? One reason is obviously cultural: Most
human
societies have strong and well-established norms regarding what
types
of feelings and behaviors are appropriate for different types of
adult
relationships, and they actively channel adults into the ‘‘right’’
types
of relationships through a variety of social practices.

I understand that Diamond's study is about romantic love more than sexual desire. But is it too far of a stretch that one can have sex with someone of the same gender and that is all it means--that they had sex with someone of the same gender?

Physical release. Physical touch with another man. The men who come to my office having engaged in these sexual practices with other men tell me they have no desire to be in a relationship with another man, wake up next to another man, or fantasize about anything about another man. When they do the sexual behavior it is impulsive, erotic and a release.

Are there closeted men in those restrooms? Yes. Are they gay men there? Yes. Are there sexually addicted gay and straight men in there. Yes. So why can't we consider that straight men are in there with their own set of issues themselves without it having anything to do with homosexuality or bisexuality.

Isn't that what we are doing to men like Craig? Trying to push him and men like him into cultural boxes so we can all rest easy and match him with what he does sexually to identify him.

We don't know him. But, shouldn't he be the judge?

Diamond, L. M. (2004). Emerging perspectives on distinctions between romantic love and sexual desire. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 13, 116-119.


6 comments:

Anonymous said...

I would agree Joe,
It is such a common human character trait to try to put others into our own little pigeon holes in order to justify our own behaviors. For years I felt pressure from pro-gay organizations to label myself as gay because I recognized my attraction to other men. Today I am realizing this could not be further from the truth and I am dealing with much resentment towards those who tried to do this and continue to do it. I do however realize that it is important for my own recovery to be able to let go of these resentments.

Jon said...

By it's very definition, "homosexual" is sexual attraction with a same sex partner. Nothing else, nothing more, nothing less.

The definition has nothing to do with "romance".

I think this is one of the biggest fallacies of the GLBT community where we are still, obviously, confused about the difference between "sex" and "romance". We continue to struggle at many levels that sex *IS* romance, *IS* intimacy . . .

While sexual activity often (and hopefully -grin-) includes the components of emotional and/or rational "romance" or even "love" and is often meaningfully intimate, more likely, in many gay cultural settings, it does not . . . random sexual interaction between two men in a stall in a men's room, would probably not include such "romance". But, the sexual attraction is there . . . base animal attraction, but there nonetheless.

My first encounters with other men (aside from the boyhood explorations), were in men's rooms and I met my first long term relationship in a men's room. So, I do not discount those occasions as real. Yes, times have changed and there are other places for us to mingle and meet now. But, for the closeted "hetro" wanna-be who cannot resist the inner urges and drives of who they really are and have been all their life, those men's rooms are still somehow attractive. And there are always those of us who are waiting for just such weaknesses to respond to their foot-tapping.

Is he gay? Who knows. For myself, I hope not, simpleton coward that he seems to be. But, is he homosexual? Yes. To some degree. By the strict definition of the word. Without doubt.

For as long as we and those who would represent us in the press, continue to be misguided, we will continue to be maladjusted in our relationship bindings . . . of all kinds.

Jon Markle
Raleigh

Benjamin said...

It's also a human character to discriminate against an entire group of people for any number of reasons, and this discrimination affects attraction and desire (i.e., when I'm told, either consciously or unconsciously, that a certain group of people is bad, wrong, or dirty, that affects my feelings toward that group). I would argue that desires and attractions always come with "filters" and that such filters play out in many ways.

Rather than "declare" Mr. Craig straight or gay, I believe that the best position is an agnostic one, or at the very least, to state that he's "straight identified." This gets at the fact that we can never fully know Mr. Craig's motivations, desires, etc.

Nevertheless, to act as if the personal isn't the political is to err as well. Mr. Craig and men of his political ilk have long been responsible for all sorts of discrimination against gays and other homosexually identified people. Moreover, there's a long history of homophobes getting discovered (e.g., Roy Cohn, J Edgar Hoover, and Joseph McCarthy). And whenever such hypocrisy is exposed, it serves a useful purpose.

I would argue, Joe, that until homophobia and heterosexism are met with a critical mass of social disapproval, it's woefully premature to speak about homosexuality without fully acknowledging that it's socially preferable in a myriad of ways to be heterosexual/heterosexually identified.

Furthermore, to anonymous, I would mention that pro-gay organizations are no match for the years of constant indoctrination you received (and continue to receive) from society about heterosexuality. Rather than blame the pro-gay organizations, an easy target I might add, you should also direct some of your anger at straights as well. Otherwise, you're just playing "kick the dog."

Benjamin said...

Jon, you're correct about your assessment of homosexuality. However, I think that the romance/sex confusion isn't something unique to GLBT "community." Otherwise, this Craig episode wouldn't have the traction it does.

Homosexual behavior is, indeed, different from homosexual attraction and identity. Still, I can't help but wonder what Joe Kort means when he states that this website isn't about "homosexuality"? Of course it is! It's just that it's for those who narrowly define it in terms of behavior only.

Anonymous said...

I don't know anything about Craig's orientation, but I agree that there are factors other than orientation that compel straight men to have sex with othr men. One of these factors is the desire for shame and humiliation. A man who was verbally and sexually abused by a male authority figure, especially his father, as a child could be acting out on his compulsion to be shamed and humiliated by abasing himself to another man. To a heterosexual man, one of the most degrading and humiating things he could do is to perform a sex act on another man. This is an act of self-abuse that the actor's "inner child" believes he deserves, that he is somehow at fault for being abused by the authority from his childhood, and that submission to another man is really all he is good for. It is not a sexual attraction, it is a need for guilt and shame, that compels his behavior.

please do not take this as being critical of homosexuality; I believe that love and a healthy sexual relationship between two people is blessed regardless of thier orientation, which is, incidentally, none of anyone else's business. But for a straight man anonymous sex with another man is a curse, not a blessing.

I'll shut up now. Thanks for listening.

ghot said...

These are wonderfully thoughtful and intelligent musings, and some true depth into, As a gay man and part of GLBT community, It is only human, and part of evolution I suppose, that as since Stonewall - not so long ago we began to define, or seek to define ourselves with deep commitment to our inner truth, and being set free. THE LARGEST THING ABOUT THE LARRY CRAIG ORDEAL, - GAY OR NOT - THIS DUDE IS RUNNING AROUND THE COUNTRY AND LEGISLATING AND PREACHING SHAME, AND DISCRIMINATION AGAINST HOMOSEXUALS, AND EXPRESSING DISGUST WITH "SUCH ACTS"!.. AND AT THE SAME TIME SEEKING OUT MAN TO MAN SEX IN A PUBLIC RESTROOM = and, bejesus, hell, the man must be really driven for the rush to be such a public figure and take such chances in such a visible and public place. My biggest beef with him, is frankly, his hypocrisy- places himself in the the lowest category of human beings.