Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Sexual Abuse linked to High Risk Sexual Behavior in new study

This article from EdgeBoston.com reviews a study linking sexual abuse to high risk sexual behavior. This is my point repeatedly on Straight Guise which I link heterosexual men to childhood sexual abuse for their engaging in sexual activity with other men.

This paragraph is very important from the study as it relates to Straight Guise

The result is you are not in good shape to be making healthy
decisions."Sexual abuse trauma has other diverse and negative effects on the
interpersonal skills needed to negotiate safe sex. Men with sexual trauma
histories are also more likely to get raped in adulthood or find themselves in
abusive and violent romantic relationships.

__________________________________________________

Men who engage in risky sexual behavior with other men report much higher rates than average of experiencing severe childhood sexual abuse, according to a new study in the November issue of the International Journal of Child Abuse & Neglect.

According to the study, about 20 percent of men who have sex with men are sexually abused as children, a rate similar to that found among heterosexual women. The difference is that 80 percent of gay and bisexual men, compared to 20 percent of heterosexual women, who are sexually abused report experiencing "severe" abuse, often involving violence.

Both men and women who are abused as children tend to engage in what researchers define as "high-risk" behavior as adults, which includes unprotected sexual encounters.This research is based on a 2002 survey of approximately 1,000 gay and bisexual men in San Francisco and extends earlier work conducted in 1996 which surveyed several thousand gay and bisexual men in San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York and Chicago.

The results of the two surveys confirm that approximately 20 percent of gay and bisexual men have a history of childhood sexual abuse. In the more recent study, researchers point to the high prevalence of sex abuse being a major contributing factor to psychosocial conditions that have sustained the HIV epidemic over several decades. In 2002, the HIV rate for men who have sex with men in general was about 26 percent. However, that HIV rate jumped to 34 percent for men who report a history of childhood sexual abuse.

"Thirty-five percent is the HIV rate you find in Sub-Saharan Africa," said Joseph Catania, a professor of public health in the College of Health and Human Sciences at Oregon State University and lead author on the study. Catania has worked in public health for more than 25 years on issues related to infectious diseases and sexual health. "This is a chilling number that shows we must deal with the sexual abuse issue.

"The effects of childhood sexual abuse are pervasive for both men and women. Studies show that abuse victims have more school-related problems as teens, a variety of sexual health problems including teenage pregnancies among girls and high rates of sexually transmitted diseases. People who experience severe trauma may have life-long challenges in relationships, work and health. That sexual abuse increases risk for HIV infection is not surprising, but what has not been well understood is how it contributes to this and other types of health problems. Having a better understanding of how this happens will guide efforts at prevention and treatment.In the recent study, investigators found a subset of men who have been sexually abused that tend to "mentally check-out" during sex, Catania said.

"They experience a severe form of coping that involves disassociating from the present, a form of mentally retreating to a safe place until something awful passes. This happens to people who have experienced other types of trauma as well. From a disease prevention perspective it may be quite debilitating," he said."In addition, we found some of the men with abuse histories use drugs or alcohol excessively when they have sex. The drug and alcohol use is also a means of coping with emotional issues around sexual trauma, but it may also be another means of mentally escaping from the present when it involves sex.


The result is you are not in good shape to be making healthy
decisions."Sexual abuse trauma has other diverse and negative effects on the
interpersonal skills needed to negotiate safe sex. Men with sexual trauma
histories are also more likely to get raped in adulthood or find themselves in
abusive and violent romantic relationships.


In 2002, the HIV rate for men who have sex with men in general was about 26 percent.Catania said the reason both gay and bisexual men and heterosexual women tend to have similar rates of experiencing childhood sexual abuse is that perpetrators are often male authority figures or men who have access to children and are in a position to take advantage of a childhood infatuation or crush.

"During the early stages of sexual development, gay and bisexual youth, just like heterosexual youth, will form emotional attachments in the form of crushes or infatuations on adult authority figures.

The difference is that gay and bisexual youth form these attachments with same gender adults," Catania said. "And adult males are much more likely, by a large margin, to be perpetrators of sexual abuse than are adult women."Based on their findings, the researchers came to three conclusions.

First, the complex challenges faced by men with severe childhood sexual abuse experiences may limit the effectiveness of typical short-term HIV risk reduction programs; more intensive treatment maybe needed.

Secondly, Catania said clinical psychologists and psychiatrists with patients who have sexual abuse histories should routinely consider issues of sexual health; patterns and types of sexual partners may be useful markers for identifying more problematic cases.

Finally, Catania said public service messages directed at removing the stigma of childhood sexual abuse may increase use of health and mental health services."When it comes to HIV and sexually transmitted infections (STIs), current intervention strategies focus on intervening early on before men become infected, which is a significant challenge, or intervening after they have become infected to prevent further spread of the disease to other sex partners," Catania said.

According to Catania, these interventions tend to be brief and very focused. He said this type of intervention does not serve men with histories of sexual abuse since their problems are more pervasive and complex. "There is a lot of social stigma around sexual abuse, particularly for men," he said. "An important next step then is to reduce the stigmatization of men who are confronting these issues and provide them with the help they need."

Researchers from the Center for AIDS Prevention Studies at University of California San Francisco contributed to this study.

A copy of the study can be found at:
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=ArticleURL&_udi=B6V7N-4TVY5FX-2&_user=576687&_rdoc=1&_fmt=&_orig=search&_sort=d&view=c&_acct=C000029364&_version=1&_urlVersion=0&_userid=576687&md5=22f368250ee9c0e2f6783563d0fc9356

About the OSU College of Health and Human Sciences:

Emphasizing a holistic approach to optimal health and disease prevention, researchers focus on nutrition, physical activity, the psychology of aging and improving the health of children and older adults, public policy, access to health care, and maximizing environmentally friendly materials and structures.


Thursday, November 13, 2008

Sexual Disorientation: Am I Gay, Bisexual, Straight or Somewhere in Between?

So many men who read Straight Guise tell me that my discussions of straight men who have sex with men ( SMSMs) confuses them because before coming out, gay and bisexual men are often in denial and convince themselves that they are 100% straight.

I even receive e-mails, some of them hostile, from gay men who accuse me of keeping gay and bisexual men closeted by citing the ways in which men might still be straight and have sex with men.

They often write, in effect, “If I had read Straight Guise during the years I was in denial and lying to myself, I’d have felt comfort in thinking I was straight and gone on leading an inauthentic heterosexual life.”

For them, staying closeted was fraught with lying to themselves that they were essentially straight, with simply a “kinky” side or that their sexual interests were just that—sexual—and not about their identity. They now have great remorse over the lost years when they could have lived as openly gay men. The trauma of staying closeted was so painful that it strikes a nerve to learn that it’s possible to go through all that and still be straight.

I understand their strong reactions: The trauma of suppressing their identity is so profound that reading Straight Guise can prompt symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, reminding them of their horrible experiences of being closeted and of all the deprogramming it took them to understand they were truly gay.

To me, that all makes perfect sense: I, too, had to go through the very same coming out and deprogramming process as a gay man during my coming out years!

No doubt, the experiences I address in Straight Guise parallel the experiences that every gay man—and some bisexual men--can relate to. Secrecy, shame, hiding, lying, self-hate and self-blame are the very things straight men who have sex with men present in the therapy room.

Differences Between Gay, Bisexual and Straight Men Who Have Sex With Men

There are major differences between SMSMs and gay and bisexual men. Straight men who admit and come out as having sex with other men are usually not anti-gay or homophobic. They do not tell their therapists or people they trust, “I hate fags!” In fact, they usually have gay friends, support and affirm lesbians and gays they know and the gay civil rights movement in general.. They’ve often have read books on coming-out process to see if they are going through that process themselves and to understand what it is to live as a gay man.

Whatever shame and self-hatred these SMSMs are coping with does not arise from homophobia, but from their acting on impulses that are incongruent with their heterosexual orientation.

In other words, they are experiencing something like an addiction, a mood disorder, a chemical disorder or some other compulsion that causes them to go against their own will, repeatedly, and is interfering with their life. They cannot accept it, not out of denial regarding their true identity, but because it is not their true nature the way it would be if one were truly gay or bisexual.

True, some SMSMs are anti-gay and homophobic, straining their masculine muscles to ward off any trait that may appear gay or effeminate. This, too, parallels the dynamic gay men display who resist their homosexual identity and so “protest too much” to attempt to disown that there is anything gay about them. But these are not the SMSM’s who seek treatment and who I write about on the Straight Guise website and blog.

Another difference is that gay and bisexual men recall having sexual interests and crushes on other males during their childhoods, teen years and even in college. Heterosexual men who have sex with men do not have these type of memories. They might have memories of having sexual experiences with other males—some of which are a result of sexual abuse—but it is not erotic for them as is their recall of interest in females once they hit puberty. For them they have always been sexually and romantically interested and aroused by women. Their sexual behavior with other men is episodic, situational, spontaneous and momentary. For gay and bisexual men, the sexual desire is enduring and is connected to a romantic, affectional and psychological desire to connect with another man.

How do I know if I’m one of the SMSMs,
or if I’m truly gay or bisexual and in the closet?


I can’t know for sure what is true or right for you. Only you will discover that as you read and experience things related to sexuality. But I can tell you some things that I’ve learned from my 24 years of treating men and their sexuality issues:

1. Gay men enter the coming out process and recognize their identity not
when they have sex with other men but when they fall in love with other men. Men
can rationalize that their sexual behavior is a bit “kinky” or different but
when he begins to feel romantic desire for another male—in addition to sexual
desire--he then has to consider it is more than just about sex.

2. For
closeted gay men their depression and anxiety arise from being out of integrity
within themselves and from living an inauthentic life related to their identity.
This “out of integrity” dynamic is also true of SMSMs—their behavior goes
against their true orientation—but it is not related to their identity. SMSMs do
not feel compelled to--nor desire to--have a romantic relationship with another
male.

3. No matter how much they read about or investigate the gay
culture, it never feels like a true fit for them. SMSM’s feel a desire only for
the sexual acts with other men. Typically, gay and bisexual men will say they
enjoyed the other guy and whatever they did with him, while the SMSMs enjoy the
sex alone. The other man is irrelevant.

Of course, gay and bisexual men
also have encounters that are only about sex, where the other man is
irrelevant—an insignificant other. It’s also common for heterosexual
men to have sex with women just “to get their rocks off.” The woman is
irrelevant.

But for these gay, bisexual and straight men, that is not always true or
the norm. They will have periods of genuine romantic interest in the person they
hook up with. However, SMSMs never feel any interest in the other male as a
person--only for the sexual act between them. The encounter is strictly sexual, often involving a heightened sexualization of
a certain act, fetish, sexual scene or part of the body.

4. If a man
having sex with other men is authentically gay, his identity will eventually
surface, whether or not he wants it to. When a gay or bisexual man calls me for
therapy and wants to stay closeted and remove any shame or guilt they have about
their homosexuality, I always warn him that the more he talks about his
homosexuality, the harder it will be to keep himself closeted. Ultimately, his coming out process will get activated. He will want to come out and
won’t be able to hold back his identity.


It is reductionistic to assume that having sex with the same gender, in and of itself, makes someone gay or bisexual. That seems to be the worst form of homophobia, contributing to the myth—seized on by reparative therapists and others heterosexists—who define homosexuality as merely sexual behavior.

Being gay or bisexual entails much more than just sex. If a gay or bisexual man never engaged in sexual behavior for the rest of his life, he would still be gay, because that is his identity, not a description of how he behaves.




Sunday, October 5, 2008

On Being Jewish and SSA (Same Sex Attracted)

There is an article in AISH.com which is a website on Judaism and Spirituality. I have been reading their material for years and much of it is very good.

There is an article called, The Straight Path Home: My personal struggles with homosexuality. The essence of it is that the writer, "David" does not feel that homosexuality is right for him nor does he see himself as a gay man. He writes:



I didn't have to "change" anything. The definition of teshuva is returning
to one's true self, one's soul. The sexual attraction I felt to other men was
not my true nature; it was an attempt driven by my yetzer hara, my baser self,
to satisfy unmet needs, a symptom of missed developmental opportunities and
distorted perceptions


Most of it is good in terms of his struggle with SSA and his Judaism. I write on this very blog about how men exist who act out homosexually and are not gay. The problem with "David's" article is that he believe that all those who struggle with SSA's are not right and cannot lead healthy lives as gay men. This is not true as I have seen differently in my own life and amongst my clients who ultimately come out as gay.

However, there are definitely many men who struggle with SSA's and never come out--nor should they--because either they are not gay and the SSA's are a result of other problems or they are innately homosexual but living a gay affirmative life would be fraught with problems.

The place the author is misguided--and anti-gay--is when he paints a broad brush about all men who struggled with SSA is here:

I grew up in what psychologists call a "triadic family" -- it is so
common in the backgrounds of men who struggle with homosexuality that it has a
name. A distant or belittling father, an emotionally smothering or needy mother,
and in the center a boy with nobody to guide him on the path to manhood. A boy
for whom manhood has become dangerous, threatening, distant. A boy who grows up feeling different from other boys and men, yet yearns to connect with them, with
his own masculinity.


As a therapist I see many men coming from this type of background that are not gay at all--nor are they struggling with sexual issues of any kind.

This believe that this family dynamic is "so common in the backgrounds of men who struggle with homosexuality" is old-school thinking from the 1960's and false. In addition it doesn't address lesbianism at all.

I have treated straight men and women with family dynamics exactly like this and, again, their suffering does not include anything related to homosexuality. It is like the old theory that Schizophrenic children were the product of "refrigerator" cold mothers. That is, until we discovered that Schizophrenia is genetic and the mothers were detached from these babies because the babies could not attach to her. Psychiatry and Psychology had to reexamine that false dynamic created around this.

Then the author addresses JONAH, which he feels helped him. However here is what JONAH is really about:

JONAH

Jews Offering New Alternatives to Homosexuality (JONAH) is a Jersey
City-based Jewish “ex-gay” ministry. The organization adheres to NARTH’s archaic
reparative therapy model and promotes the work of the International Healing
Foundation’s Richard Cohen, a discredited fundamentalist Christian therapist and
former Moonie who was expelled for life from the American Counseling Association
in 2002.

JONAH perpetuates the unwise idea that gay people should marry,
even if they are not attracted to their opposite-sex spouse. According to an
article by Rabbi Joel Beasley posted prominently on JONAH’s site: “But even if
their innermost desires remained unfulfilled, it does not matter. It may never
become clear why some people do not feel predisposed to marrying someone of the
opposite sex. The obligation remains.

Marriage is meant to teach people
how to rise above their own selfish needs in order to give to a partner who is
both psychologically and physiologically different.” This idea of marriage at
all costs is cruel and unfair to the gay individual struggling to accept his or
her sexual orientation. But, it is just as harmful for the spouse, who will
likely find an unsatisfying marriage that may end in heartbreak and divorce.

JONAH is so wedded to its interpretation of doctrine that it seems to
have little regard for the feelings and legitimate needs of people – including
children - who would suffer inside such catastrophic marriages. In the same
article by Rabbi Beasley, crass stereotypes are used to oppose same-sex unions
and promote heterosexual marriage: “Same-gender marriages might have been too
easy. As one essayist put it, male couples would have been able to sit around
and watch ballgames all day; female couples would have been able to sit down and
really talk about one another's feelings. But marriage is meant to challenge
each of the partners.”Perhaps, the biggest concern that most Jews have about
JONAH is that it appears to be a front for converting Jews to Christianity.

While there are a few obligatory Jewish resources on the organization’s
website, the majority of the books recommended to readers are written by born
again Christian authors. Works offered on the site by Richard Cohen, Joe Dallas,
Jeff Konrad, Alan Medinger and John Paulk are deeply sectarian and consider
believing in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior a crucial component in “overcoming”
homosexuality.

JONAH even pushes a book co-written by Wheaton College’s Stanton Jones and
Pat Robertson University’s Mark Yarhouse entitled, “Homosexuality: The Use of
Scientific Research in the Church's Moral Debate.” For Jews who attend
Synagogue, not church, this reading list may seem a bit peculiar, if not
downright offensive. It is debatable whether JONAH’s real mission is to create
ex-gays or ex-Jews. Like other ex-gay organizations, JONAH keeps no statistics
and offers the promise of change without any documentation of success.

The group relies on anecdotal stories and promotes a therapeutic
approach that is not supported by any mainstream medical or mental health
organization.


So I hope that those who read Straight Guise can understand that while there is help available you must ensure that you are receiving the correct help that does not include hateful information and ways of an organization the ways in which JONAH, NARTH and any other reparatative therapy organization does.

There is nothing wrong with someone who has unwanted interests and behaviors toward sexual experiences with other men. There is something very wrong with those who say that man has to be gay or could never be gay. There are many things between this and the man needs to have the right to search this out himself.

A great book on homosexuality and Judaism on this topic is:




The author states that there is nothing in the Torah which states that homosexuality is wrong and bad. It does state, however, that if it is not your "true" nature and identity than, perhaps this behavior should be stopped. Back when the Torah was written people did not understand that homosexuality could be an identity the way we understand today.

Monday, September 8, 2008

No Sympathy for the Sex Addict: New York Times Article

WHAT SELLS A scene from “Choke,” about a sex addict.

By ALLEN SALKIN
Published: September 6, 2008


THE distributors of “Choke,” a forthcoming film about a sex addict’s struggle to overcome his demons, have been handing out a strange promotional gift at preview screenings. Attached to a bookmark, the gift is a set of beads typically used as a sexual toy.
“Not for small children,” the bookmark warns.

In “Blades of Glory,” last year’s ice-skating comedy, Will Ferrell’s character attends a Sex Addicts meeting where the 12-step serenity prayer has been rewritten: “God, grant me the serenity to not have sex with my friend’s girlfriend, the courage to go home tonight without having sex with my friend’s girlfriend, and the wisdom to walk away from my friend’s smokin’ hot girlfriend.” Many of the meeting participants, unhealed, wind up coupling in the bushes outside.

Move over, tubby; take a break, old maid, there’s a new straw man available for theatrical ridicule: the sex addict. Even as Hollywood has learned, slowly, not to mock the handicapped or brand all Middle Easterners as terrorists, and has turned a more sensitive eye toward alcoholics and drug addicts, it has shown little tact in portraying people diagnosed with sex addiction.

Which is why experts in the field took heart from the announcement last month by the actor David Duchovny, who plays a sex-obsessed writer on the television drama “Californication,” that he was seeking treatment in real life for the disorder. “I have voluntarily entered a facility for the treatment of sex addiction,” Mr. Duchovny said in a statement released by his lawyer. “I ask for respect and privacy for my wife and children as we deal with this situation as a family.”

Robert Weiss, the director of sexual integrity services for the CRC Health Group, a nationwide behavioral health provider, said it can be difficult to find sex addicts willing to tell their stories, change the clich├ęd images of the condition and explain that there are effective treatments.
“It’s exciting to see someone for the first time come out and say ‘I am a sex addict and I am going into treatment,’ ” he said

Many of those who might have put a sympathetic face on the condition — choose any person whose sexual behaviors seemed to defy all reason and, once exposed, cost him or her a career — have not stepped up to do so.

Nevertheless, there have been a few sex addicts willing to discuss their battles. The author Susan Cheever has a book coming out in October called “Desire: Where Sex Meets Addiction” in which she discusses her struggle with obsessive relationships. The comedian Russell Brand, the host of the MTV Video Music Awards on Sunday, admits in his memoir, “My Booky Wook,” that he is a sex addict who received treatment at the Keystone Center in Chester, Pa.

“One day,” he writes, “I had to write a victims’ list — a litany of the women I’d wronged as a result of my sexual addiction. I felt like Saddam Hussein trying to pick out individual Kurds.”
Sex addiction is defined as “any sexually related, compulsive behavior which interferes with normal living and causes severe stress on family, friends, loved ones and one’s work environment,” said Patrick Carnes, the author of the pioneering 1983 book “Out of the Shadows: Understanding Sexual Addiction” and creator of the Web site sexhelp.com. Addicts often vow to stop behaviors such as hours-long sessions with Internet pornography, infidelity or criminal sexual activity, and cannot.

Comments on the Web about Mr. Duchovny seeking treatment show that not everyone is willing to accept that compulsive sexual behavior can be an addiction.

“How do they cure someone’s craving for sex?” asked a commenter on the gossip Web site justjared.com. “Lol this is funny,” wrote another. “I love it!”

A few mental health professionals still argue that sex addiction is not a real disease. “You cannot be addicted to yourself,” said Roger Libby, a relationship therapist in Seattle. “You have to have a substance external to yourself like alcohol or drugs to be addicted.”

Sex addiction is not listed as a disorder in the current edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), the bible of psychiatric disorders, but it is being considered by a work group on non-substance-related addictions for inclusion in the next edition, the DSM-V due in 2012, said Dr. David Kupfer, chairman of the DSM-V task force with the American Psychiatric Association.

Treatment for the affliction aims not to remove sexual desire but to reconcile a person’s sexual behavior with the positive values the person already holds, Mr. Weiss said. Since as much of the brain’s pleasure-causing chemical dopamine is released during orgasm as during the consumption of alcohol, Dr. Carnes said, it is also possible to view sex addiction as a chemical addiction.

Throughout the country, there are sexual recovery 12-step meetings where the real serenity prayer is read and those who believe their behaviors have become unmanageable share experiences.

One participant, who asked for anonymity in accordance with the program’s traditions, said he was offended by the sex toy promotion at ”Choke.”

“It’s like if they made a movie about alcoholism and they were handing out shot glasses or a movie about diabetes and they were handing out sugar cookies,” said the man, who is in his 40s and works in publishing.

What made him seek help was a pattern of “rapidly diving into one romantic entanglement after another, sometimes more than one at a time, without getting to know a person,” he said.

Michelle Hooper, the senior vice president for publicity and promotions of Fox Searchlight, the distributor of “Choke,” defended the sex toy handout as “provocative and funny, like the film.” The movie does occasionally nod to the seriousness of sex addiction, especially in a scene at a 12-step meeting where a man, who has been jailed and had his teeth knocked out for stalking, testifies that the program helped him stop and save his life.

The fact that pop culture is making jokes about sex addicts is a sign that awareness of the condition is percolating in mass consciousness, Dr. Carnes said. Some films are taking it seriously, such as “Love Sick: Secrets of a Sex Addict,” which was shown in April on the USA network.
Not that everyone is ready for a sober look at sex addiction.

“A commenter on the Web site imdb.com who was dissatisfied with “Love Sick” griped “I expected there to be more sex scenes in a movie about sex.”

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Ideas for Teleseminars

I am planning a series of online teleseminars which will be podcasts and able to be downloaded in mp3 formats.

I need suggestions from those of you who read this blog in terms of what you would like me to address. Please list things you would find helpful for me to include and I will try to do so in a podcast.

You can put your ideas under the comments section of this blog or email to me directly.

I look forward to your ideas and thoughts.

Warmly, Joe Kort, LMSW

Friday, September 5, 2008

Sex with the City: An introduction teleclass about Sexual Addiction

September 8
8-9PM EST


Sex with the City: An introduction teleclass about Sexual Addiction for men.

{This is also an opportunity for wives and female partners as well as therapists to understand sexual addiction in men.}

Sexual addiction and compulsivity is on the rise for men—and for women, particularly with the expanding Internet bringing ease to sexual hookups and online porn. Because of sexual shame, people often are afraid to talk about their sexual acting out behaviors and clinicians are not sure what to do once the sexual behavior is reported.

This telelcass will help those struggling with whether or not they have a sexual addiction or not and accurately assess and get help.

Participants will be learn what makes sexual behaviors an addiction and what to do to stop the behaviors. It will give direction to help men recover from out of control sexual behavior. Treatment planning often involves assessing the clients erotic mapping and ritualized sexual behavior.

The secret logic of the sexual fantasy and behavior can provide the nonsexual map to recovery.
Various modalities of therapy along with the most recent research of effective medications for this disorder will also be addressed.


What is a telephone bridge line?

A telephone bridge line is a central calling place where each participant phones in. Joe Kort will lead the class and do some lecturing followed by answers, questions and discussion by the participants.

You will have the opportunity to participate as much or as little as you want and your identity will remain completely anonymous to other participants.

Fee: $25.00

To register for the class click here. After you register you will receive the call in number and pin number to join the class.



Monday, September 1, 2008

Lesbians who are aroused and enjoy watching gay male pornography

Many people who read this blog have a hard time understanding how a straight male could enjoy gay male porn.

I have uploaded an article entitled:

Hot Man on Man Action (And the Lesbians Who Love Watching It) by Elizabeth F. Stewart from In the Family Magazine, Summer 2000.

By clicking on the link and scrolling down you will find the article.

I believe this article clarifies how and why sexual orientation does not always line up with sexual preferences. Most people would say that lesbians would be turned off by gay male pornography if they are truly lesbians. However, the author of this article makes some important points about the lesbians who do enjoy gay male porn:
  • The "players in the gay male porn are all very hot and the focus is on the sex"
  • Lesbians who enjoy anal sex
  • Men "cannot fake arousal"
  • What "the viewer sees is real"
  • Gay male sex is seen as "nastier," more "down and dirty," and "forbidden".

My own judgment about why anyone who is not gay or bisexual would be attracted to gay male pornography is that the male porn stars are usually engaged in a mutual, reciprocal and power balanced act in which no man is being abused, objectified in a humiliating or demeaning way and both seem to be wanting the other to enjoy the sexual act.

This is unlike much of straight porn where usually the male is dominant and the woman is submissive and there only to please the man and her pleasure is for the enjoyment of the male--not her own.


Thursday, August 28, 2008

Straight Guise: Treating Heterosexual Men Who Have Sex With Men


Upcoming Talks on Straight Guise by Joe Kort, LMSW

AASECT Sponsored Talk for Mental Health Clinicians


DATE: November 1, 2008

COST: $40 (which includes 2 AASECT CE’s and 2 Michigan Social Work CE’s plus a continental
breakfast)

WHERE: Center for Sexual Health at University of Michigan Health Systems

Ann arbor, MI
East Ann Arbor Health Center
4260 Plymouth Road Ann
Arbor, MI 48109 just off the highway (us 23)

Contact: Sallie Foley salliefoley@gmail.com


Straight Guise: Treating Heterosexual Men Who Have Sex With Men
Joe Kort, LMSW


1. Description of Training

When a male client reveals he fantasizes about having sex with men, is caught looking at online gay porn and in gay chat rooms, and possibly is having sex with men, the tendency is to label the client as gay or bisexual. However, for many of these men this is not about either. A variety of reasons exist as to why men seek other men for sex which are not about a gay identity.

Therapists, being politically correct, often believe the man is in denial about his homosexuality or bisexuality and move him in a direction toward coming out gay when--in fact--he is not. This presentation will discuss ways understanding the male client’s interest in sexual contact with men, and helping him decide what course of treatment is best for him.

2. Bibliographic references for talk:

A. Mending A Shattered Heart: A Guide for Partners of Sex Addicts
A Gentle Press edited by Stephanie Carnes, Ph.D. with chapter by Joe Kort, LMSW called Straight Guise: Is My Partner Gay?

B. Psychotherapy Networker Magazine

Gay Guise: What To Do When Your Client Has Sex With Men, But Is Straight was a
case study article for therapists working with men who have sex with men (MSM) and
are heterosexual.

C. On the Down Low: A Journey into the Lives of “Straight” Black Men Who Sleep with Men
by J.L. King

D. Beyond the Down Low: Sex, Lies, and Denial in Black America by Keith Boyken

3. Objectives for talk:

  • Understand the psychological meanings of the arousal template of the straight men who seek sex with men (MSM's) who are not gay or bisexual.
  • Learn to help the client communicate an understanding about his sexuality and to understand what the behavior means for him.
  • Address the fears, homophobia, anxieties and insecurities of these clients about their sexual behaviors and interest in engaging in sexual activity with other men.

Boyhood Shadows: A Documentary of Sexually Abused Men


A documentary titled Boyhood Shadows is soon to be released about males who have been sexually abused as children.

If you are a regular reader of this blog you know that many of the straight men I treat men who have sex with men were sexually abused as children and are homosexually imprinted in terms of behavior--not orientation--as adults.

Monterey County Rape Crisis Center has created a full length, groundbreaking documentary on Male Sexual Victimization. A website for the film is up ( http://www.boyhoodshadows.org/ ), the film has been submitted to Sundance and other big film festivals.
Watch the trailer it will make you cry. It had that effect on me! This is a very important and silenced topic that the producers are bringing forward!

I received word of this film by an AASECT member Stephen L. Braveman who was part of the creation of this much needed film. His contact information is below.


Stephen L. Braveman, M.A., L.M.F.T., D.S.T.
Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist
Certified Diplomate of Sex Therapy
AASECT Certified Supervisor
Gender Specialist
494 Alvarado Street, Suite A
Monterey, CA 93940
Phone: (831) 375-7553
http://www.bravemantherapy.com/
stephen@bravemantherapy.com



Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Inside the secret world of the straight guise

My blog was featured in a story in the Village Voice by Tristan Taormino about straight men who have sex with men.

I really appreciated the journalist featuring my beliefs about why straight men have sex with other men and thought she did a fine job. She also pointed out the very thing that I have tried to ask myself--why is this okay for females but not for males? Read what she has to say.

Straight Men Who Have Sex With Men
Inside the secret world of the straight guise
By Tristan Taormino
Tuesday, July 29th 2008


Once again, a female singer has a hit song called "I Kissed A Girl"; I saw Katy Perry perform it on network television the other night. As she danced around in her cute yellow dress, I thought: "Wow, singing about lesbian smooching was pretty racy when Jill Sobule did it—same title and subject, different and better song—in 1995 on MTV." Now it's ready for prime time? Well, it's been almost 15 years. Plus, the whole idea isn't that threatening anymore.

If a straight woman confesses she's messed around with another woman—even had full-blown sex with her—most people are quick to shrug it off. She was drunk. She's experimenting. At most, maybe this means she's bi-curious. But it's no big deal. Women have a lot more leeway to explore their sexuality with other women without questioning their orientation or setting any alarms off. On the other hand, society doesn't make room for men to do the same. Can you imagine the flip side of this scenario?


No, I don't mean Bon Jovi topping the charts with a new rock anthem called "I Made Out With a Guy." Let's say one of your male friends confesses: "I was at the club last night with Bob. The music was pounding, I had a few shots, and his hair just looked so good, so we made out, and I jerked him off in the bathroom." For most people, there's really only one response: "Dude, you're gay." Maybe, but maybe not.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, more than three million men who self-identify as straight secretly have sex with other men. Although there's been some mainstream dialogue about African-American men who have sex with men "on the down-low," there hasn't been much talk about white guys who do it. And there are plenty of them out there.

Take a brief scroll through one day's worth of "Men Seeking Men" posts on New York City's Craigslist, and you'll find dozens of listings like "Str8 Guy Needs Great Cocksucker" or "Handsome Masculine Married Irish Guy Seeks One or Two Hung Married Irish Buddies Who Want Head and Maybe More."

From the super-brief to the incredibly detailed, some posts offer interesting explanations:

Though I have always been hetero, I also have had a fantasy to anonymously suck cock and swallow his cum.

I am a married white male forty-six, six-one, one-ninety—a goodlooking, successful, Ivy-educated guy who finds himself in town alone this week. Not interested in changing my life in any major way, but do feel the occasional need to deal with this side of my nature.

I am married . . . looking to provide no reciprocation needed or wanted oral service for VERY masculine, verbal straight/bi/straight acting men. My clothes do not even have to come off. This is about YOUR pleasure . . . not mine.

These examples articulate some of the reasons why heterosexual men get it on with other men: for anonymous, no-strings-attached sex; to explore homoerotic desire without a gay identity or relationship; or to fulfill a fantasy, including one of dominance and submission.

"When these straight men have sex with other men, it is not about an attraction to the other man—it is about an attraction to the sex act," says Joe Kort (joekort.com), a licensed therapist in Michigan. "When asked about what they enjoy, it is never the actual man, but instead his body parts, the sexual behavior they engage in." Many of Kort's clients (who are overwhelmingly white) are straight men who have sex with other men (SMSM). He's even created Straight Guise (straightguise.com), a website dedicated to the subject.


He cites dozens of explanations for SMSM behavior: "Some have been sexually abused and are compulsively re-enacting childhood sexual trauma by male perpetrators; some have sex with men because it's easier and requires fewer social skills than those required to have sex with women; some are 'gay for pay'; some like the attention they receive from other men; some like anal sex, which they're otherwise too ashamed to talk about or engage in with their female partners."

He acknowledges that some of these men may be bisexual or closeted gay men, but in his experience in treating clients over an extended period, many of them are not. He believes that when it comes to sex, identity and orientation, preferences, fantasies, and behavior do not always neatly line up in one category. More often, they are complex and even contradictory.

Mike, whom I found on a personals website, is 44, married, and works on Wall Street. He has been having sex with men for four years, and says he likes the closeness and the male bonding. Plus, "It's just less complicated than with women. We're both there for sex, and that's it." John, 35, also works in finance, identifies as straight, and is dating several women. But he mostly enjoys getting blowjobs from men: "There are less emotional complications for me. Many men will do things some women will not, and many men give better oral sex. I think men will exercise their hunger for sex and not deny that they are horny more so than women. They feel comfortable sexually bonding." Both men admit that their female partners don't know about their behavior; in fact, their families and friends don't know.

Unlike some psychology professionals who want to pathologize these men, treat them for sexual addiction, or "cure them" of homosexuality, Kort approaches his clients without an agenda. He also unpacks some of the cultural baggage that contributes to this phenomenon: "They are interested in the sexual contact with other men.

They are working through issues of father hunger, lack of touch from other males, and the need for contact with other men on deeper levels that women enjoy with each other and men do not. Some of these men tell me they meet other men and really just want to be held and talk to the other men, but that the men they meet want it to be sexual, so they go through with it but really don't want to. Ironically, since men are not allowed to touch—except for a pat on the butt in sports—they use the sexual realm to find ways to touch each other and receive touch."


Monday, July 21, 2008

Bisexual Sex Addicts: A Typical Story

Here is a good clinical example by another therapist of how non-gay men who have sex with men can be the result of sexual addiction and be driven by father hunger.

The author is Jerry Goodman. I know him through SASH (Society for the Advancement of Sexual Health) which is an organization for sexual addiction and compulsivity.

Jerry has been an LCSW (Licensed Certified Social Worker) psychotherapist for approximately 30 years, the last 18 of which he has specialized in treating male sex addicts. In the early 90’s, with his wife, Margaret, he developed the Counseling Affiliates Sexual Addiction Treatment Program in Houston. In 1991 Jerry took one of Patrick Carnes' early sexual addition training intensives for therapists and continued to follow Carnes’ literature, lectures, workshops and personal counsel. Finally when professional certification became available, he obtained the Certified Sex Addiction Therapist certification (CSAT) in 2001. The following year he received the Supervisor/Consultant Certification for assisting other therapists in obtaining the CSAT. Jerry draws not only on his years of training and professional experience but also on his years of personal recovery

Sex addiction help
Houston Counseling Affiliates

2620 Fountainview, Ste. 250
Houston, TX 77057


Here is a case example that involves MSM.

A Story about Bisexual Sexual Addiction

The following are excerpts:


It was unanimously decided that he was not a repressed homosexual but that he
had long been addicted to sexualized re-enactment of his childhood trauma with
his father which had prevented him from completing some of his psychic
development, leaving him in doubt of his masculinity. This was part of the
anxiety and inner turmoil that he had acted out over and over. He was told that
the neurologically programmed addictive response would probably stay with him
but that with the willingness to work a strong recovery program and to do some
significant psychological work, he would be able to control the addiction rather
than the addiction controlling him, allowing him to have the life he and Laura
wanted. Laura also learned that she needed to participate in a recovery program
and to do psychological work to help her with the effects Manuel’s problem had
had on her and to resolve her own issues which she learned had played a part in
unconsciously attracting her to Manuel.

Later in the article the therapist writes:


"These patterns are clear evidence of sexual addiction despite the unavoidable
presence of cultural influence which probably accounted for the sexual identity
doubt expressed to Carlos when he said he had wondered if he was gay. Ultimately
the professional treatment ruled out repressed homosexuality, and even prior to
that there was a good indication of a heterosexual identity in that he felt
genuine love, which could be assumed included romantic and sexual love, for
Laura."

And finally he ends with this:

No doubt Manuel will have an attraction to males his whole life that was set in
motion as a child by the rejection and criticism from his father. In a sense the
rejection by his primary masculine role model prevented him from developing a
secure concept of himself as male. Therefore, the attraction to males probably
has an element of unconscious searching for unfulfilled fathering and
symbolically taking into his psyche the masculinity he had partially distanced
himself from in childhood in reaction to his father's harshness. This “quest,”
like all other patterns of experience that occurred in his psychological
development were neurologically programmed as part of his psychic “map” or
template, and therefore a permanent part of him.

For the entire case example click here


High Sex Drive is Associated with Increased Sexual Attraction to Both Women and Men

In my private practice and coaching I have noticed that straight men with a higher sex drive tend to be more willing to be sexual with other men which this study by Richard Lippa talks about. I have also noticed that gay men with high sex drives are more willing to have sex with women and can be satisfied with them.

I wrote about men with high sex drives at joekort.com in an article called, "Are you a sexually high T or low T?" and "Am I a sex addict or a high T?"

This study is important as it is not about sexual orientation as much as it is about sexual drive and behavior.

____________________________________________________________

Information about the sex drive and same- and other-sex attraction study
in the April 2007 issue of the Archives of Sexual Behavior


The complete reference for the article is:

Lippa, R. A. (2007). The relation between sex drive and sexual attraction to men and women: A cross-national study of heterosexual, bisexual, and homosexual men and women, Archives of Sexual Behavior, 36, 209-222.

Abstract:
Recent research suggests that, for most women, high sex drive is associated with increased sexual attraction to both women and men. For men, however, high sex drive is associated with increased attraction to one sex or the other, but not to both, depending on men's sexual orientation (Lippa, R. A., 2006, Psychological Science, 17, 46–52).

These findings were replicated in a very large BBC data set and were found to hold true in different nations, world regions, and age groups. Consistent with previous research, lesbians differed from other women in showing the male-typical pattern, that high sex drive is associated with attraction to one sex but not the other. Bisexual women and men were more similar to same-sex heterosexuals than to same-sex homosexuals in their pattern of results.

The correlation between same-sex and other-sex attraction was consistently negative for men, was near zero for heterosexual and bisexual women, and negative for lesbians. Thus, same-sex and other-sex attractions were, in general, more bipolar and mutually exclusive for men than for women. The current findings add to evidence that sexual orientation is organized differently in women and men and suggest a biological component to this difference.

A brief description of the study:
The higher women’s sex drive, the more they desire both sexes. However, the higher men’s sex drive, the more they desire either one sex or the other, depending on their sexual orientation. These are some of the findings presented in a new study by California State University psychology professor, Richard A. Lippa, published in the April 2007 issue of the Archives of Sexual Behavior. The findings were based on data collected from over 200,000 people who responded to an Internet survey posted on the BBC Science and Nature website.

For most men, a higher sex drive simply intensifies their existing sexual orientation, Lippa reported. The common-sense view is that heterosexual men with high sex drives are very interested in women, and gay men with high sex drives are very interested in men, and this is indeed what the BBC data showed. The unexpected result was that women seem to be more intrinsically bisexual in their sexual attractions. Whereas men tended to be either-or (heterosexual or gay), women had more shades of gray.

Lippa, a prominent gender researcher, said that the data from the BBC Internet survey suggests that the observed differences between women and men may have biological causes, because the results were very consistent across a number of countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, India, Malaysia, and Japan. Results were also consistent across a number of world regions, including Western Europe, Eastern Europe, and Latin America, and they were equally true for people over and under 30 years of age.

Lippa’s analyses of the BBC data showed that most women were considerably more attracted to men than to women, and thus it is incorrect to label most women as “bisexual.” However, many more women than men expressed some degree of attraction to their own sex. In the BBC survey data, 90 percent of women labeled themselves as heterosexual, 7 percent as bisexual, and 3 percent as lesbian. In contrast, 91 percent of men labeled themselves as heterosexual, 4 percent as bisexual, and 5 percent as gay. Thus, nearly twice as many women as men identified themselves as bisexual, but almost twice as many men as women labeled themselves as homosexual.

Lesbians were the only group of women who did not show the "high sex drive leads to increased attraction to both sexes" effect. Instead, they showed the pattern typical of heterosexual men. For lesbian women, high sex drive was associated with increased attraction to women, but not to men. Why lesbians differed from other women is not clear. Lippa speculated that the difference might result from the effects of prenatal hormones, particularly androgens, which include male hormones such as testosterone. Some social scientists argue that sexual orientation is influenced by prenatal variations in sex hormones like testosterone.

Lippa served as a research consultant to the BBC Internet survey, which was developed for use in the BBC documentary Secrets of the Sexes. He is a Professor of Psychology at California State University, Fullerton.

This article appeared in a special section of the April 2007 issue of the Archives of Sexual Behavior, guest edited by Richard Lippa, devoted to studies that analyzed data from the 2005 BBC Internet survey. Results from this survey were presented in the BBC One documentary, Secrets of the Sexes. About a quarter of a million people across the world responded to the BBC survey, which investigated psychological sex differences--how men and women differ in their cognitive abilities, personality traits, sexual attitudes and behavior, mate preferences, and attitudes. For further information about the BBC studies and their results, see the BBC Science and Nature website.






Anal HPV common in Heterosexual men

This article is an important one for the men I talk about on this blog.

These men are most likely getting Anal HPV because they are on the down low and having sex with other men.

This Reuters Health, July 2008 is proof that these men exist.

________________________________________________________________

Anal HPV common in hetero men
Last updated: Monday, July 21, 2008

Roughly one in four heterosexual men have anal human papillomavirus (HPV) infection and, in many cases, a cancer-causing type of the sexually transmitted wart virus is present, a study shows.

Certain strains of HPV, which can be transmitted from male to female partners, are responsible for most cases of cervical cancer. Although much is known about HPV infection in women, this is not the case in men.

Only two studies have reported anal HPV prevalence in heterosexual men," Alan Nyitray, from the Arizona Cancer Center in Tucson, who led the current study, told Reuters Health. "The first study from Amsterdam recruited men in an STD clinic. The second from Sao Paulo recruited men who were husbands of women with confirmed cervical HPV infection. Our study is different in that we primarily recruited men from two universities, in addition to the general community."

In their study of 222 men, the researchers found that the prevalence of HPV in the anal canal was 16.6 percent. The prevalence of HPV around the anus (the "perianal" region) was 21.3 percent.

High anal cancer prevalence 'unexpected' in heterosexual men. Surprisingly, Nyitray noted, the prevalence of cancer in the anal canal is much higher than was reported in the Amsterdam and Sao Paulo studies, even though subjects in these studies were from seemingly high-risk groups. "This prevalence wouldn't be surprising for men who have sex with men, but for heterosexual men it was unexpected," Nyitray said.

Roughly one third of the men with anal HPV infection harbored a type that can cause cancer, the report indicates.

"There are a number of questions this study raises," Nyitray said. "For instance, how was HPV transmitted to the perianal region and anal canal of these men" and "how persistent are the infections," which are likely to affect the risk of anal cancer. – (Reuters Health, July 2008)

Sunday, July 20, 2008

More MSM Finding Partners On Internet In Chicago, Contributing To Increase In Syphilis Cases, Report Finds

Every once in a while I think it is important to remind those reading this blog about the risk of HIV exposure and other STD's.

The following article talks about a report from Chicago in which men who have sex with men who meet from the Internet are experiencing a higher rater of STD's.

___________________________________________________________

In the MedicalNewsToday.com, a story appeared about an increasing number of men who have sex with men in Chicago are finding sex partners on the Internet, helping to fuel a rise is syphilis cases among the group, according to a report recently released by the Chicago Department of Health, the Chicago Tribune reports.

The number of syphilis cases in Chicago remained around 300 cases annually for about 10 years, and until 2001, most cases were recorded among heterosexuals. In 2007, 331 syphilis cases were reported in the city, 71% of them among MSM, the Tribune reports. According to the Tribune, one concern related to the increasing number of people diagnosed with syphilis is that they also are HIV-positive. Among heterosexuals diagnosed with syphilis at Chicago clinics four years ago, 6% were HIV-positive; however, last year, 15% were HIV-positive, the Tribune reports.

For the report, William Wong, medical director of the health department's division of sexually transmitted infections and HIV/AIDS, conducted confidential interviews as part of the health department's routine disease-surveillance activities. Wong said that for the first time, more MSM said they met sex partners online than in places such as bars.

He added that 34% of men diagnosed with syphilis in 2007 at clinics run by the health department said they met their sex partners on the Internet, compared with 33% who said they met their partners at bars or clubs. "Prevention does work, and the reductions over the last 10 years among women and the heterosexual community are an important advance," Wong said, adding, "We are making progress.

But syphilis is still around, and there's still work to be done." Deborah Levine -- executive director of the Oakland, Calif.-based Internet Sexuality Information Services -- said that although the Internet is not the cause of the increase in syphilis cases among MSM, it increases the risk of disease transmission. "If you go to a bar in a night, there might be 200 or 300 people there," Levine said, adding, "You can go on multiple Web sites in a night and potentially meet thousands of people.

The speed and sheer numbers allow for more possibilities for passing around infections." Wong noted that although the Internet has created new challenges, it also offers opportunities for intervention.

The health department has added more information about syphilis to its Web site and started posting banner ads on other sites. It also has launched a new site, called "inSPOT," which is administered in partnership with ISIS.

The site allows men to send e-mails anonymously notifying their partners that they have been exposed to an STI (Shelton, Chicago Tribune, 7/14). Reprinted with kind permission from http://www.kaisernetwork.org/.

You can view the entire Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report, search the archives, or sign up for email delivery at http://www.kaisernetwork.org/dailyreports/healthpolicy.

The Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. © 2008 Advisory Board Company and Kaiser Family Foundation. All rights reserved.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

SO YOU SAY YOU’RE STRAIGHT: The one in five hidden homosexual heterosexuals

A book proposal by the late Dr. Neil McConaghy was given to me by the author's daughter, Dr. Finola McConaghy, and placed on StraightGuise.com with permission. She was unable to publish this book and found Straightguise.com and asked if I would be willing to add it to the literature on the website which I accepted.

While at times dense and difficult to read as many academic books are, Dr. Neil McConaghy does a thorough job in researching SMSM's and presenting it in a scientific fashion.


SO YOU SAY YOU’RE STRAIGHT:
The one in five hidden homosexual heterosexuals

Introduction

Chapter 1. Who is homosexual? The false
homosexual/heterosexual dichotomy

Chapter 2. Sissiness, tomboyishness, effeminacy, butchness and
the homosexual heterosexuals

Chapter 3. Theories of causes of sexual orientation and the
homosexual heterosexuals

Chapter 4. Why homosexual heterosexuals conceal their
homosexual feelings: homophobia, biphobia and
sissyphobia.

Chapter 5. Psychological health and homosexuality. Is there a role
for treatment of homosexual feelings?

Contact Dr. Finola McConaghy at the address and phone below:

Dr. Finola McConaghy, Ph.D.
281 Cabbage Tree Rd.
Grose Vale NSW 2753
AUSTRALIA
Phone 0427 427 477
finola.mcconaghy@naturevet.com.au
All rights reserved.



Sunday, June 8, 2008

iPhones and Sexual Addiction

Since Straight Guise looks at sexual issues I receive many emails from men who suffer from a sexual addiction and cannot refrain from sexually acting out. They use various computer programs to block them from going to porn sites on the Internet with their home laptops and desktops.

However they are finding ways to use the iPhone to sexually act out and go to these site with which they cannot connect on their home computers. So far there are no Internet filters (after clicking Internet filters scroll down to where it says Internet filters on the page it takes you to) for the iPhone.


I did find a site which has parental controls for the iPhone called Sentry. Here is what is on Sentry's site:


We’ve put the iKnow in the iPhone!

Your iPhone can now be a window into your child’s online activities
anyplace, anywhere, anytime. Sentry Parental Controls is adapting its
award winning parental control software to use with an interface designed
specifically for the iPhone browser. Sentry At Home, our intuitive, easy to use
program in conjunction with your iPhone provides a powerful tool that allows you
to instantly receive real-time alerts on your iPhone if inappropriate computer
behavior occurs on your child’s computer. You can even lock or shut down
your child’s computer remotely right from your iPhone.

The way this can work for sexually addicted and compulsive people who cannot refrain from using the iPhone to sexually act out is to place these parental controls onto their iPhone. Then select a sponsor, therapist, partner and/or friend who knows and understands your struggles and who you can be accountable to. Then if you go to the sites or chat rooms which are inappropriate they will know and keep you accountable.



Sunday, June 1, 2008

Does Everyone Think You're Gay?

A nice article appears this month in Details magazine on the concept that For some guys, no amount of evidence to the contrary can kill a certain rumor.

The article was written by by Mike Albo.

Albo starts the story about a friend of his named Gary who is often mistaken for gay when he is 100% straight. He talks about celebrities such as John Travolta and Tom Cruise who have never been able to shake off the rumors even when their lives clearly point to a heterosexual orientation.

This is a good conversation as I have known many clients and men (and women) in my personal life who have this same issue.

The author writes:

Gary's what I like to call a "stray," a straight guy who sends out gay
signals like he's shaking a tambourine even as he proclaims himself—and in fact
is—100 percent heterosexual. The characteristics that define a stray as such
vary widely. Maybe it's a melodious laugh. Or a fastidious shirt-and-tie combo.
Or an effusive signature salutation ("Oh my god! I'm totally psyched to see
you!"). But more often the thing about a heterosexual guy that makes everyone
assume he's a homo is almost impossible to pinpoint. He may talk up his love of
ladies more than Bret Michaels does, he may have a wife and kids, but people
always react the same way: "Really? No, wait—really?"

This phenomenon shouldn't be confused with that of actual gay men who
masquerade as straight. And we're not talking about the metrosexual, that
embodiment of a played-out consumer megatrend that involved slim-cut pants and
moisturizer. Every guy in America knows how to clip his nose hairs and make his
outfit go from day to night. Those skills aren't what make a heterosexual man
read gay. So what does?

Science has tried to figure this out. Researchers have studied
behavioral traits like "hip sway" and "voice quality" and even physical traits
like hair-whorl patterns and finger-length ratios. Richard Lippa, a professor of
psychology at California State University, Fullerton, and the author of Gender,
Nature, and Nurture, says that no one trait can be used to determine someone's
sexuality. But, he says, "I think the one thing we can conclude from the
existing research is that both scientists and laypeople can judge people's
sexual orientation at better-than-chance levels based on behavioral
traits."

That's not what the perpetually mistaken-for-gay man wants to hear. He
wants the word spread that people are often wrong when they play Guess the
Orientation. He wants his having a girlfriend or being married with kids to be a
sufficient indicator that he doesn't like to sleep with men. But you can't stop
the gay rumor once it starts. Strays are often tagged and classified in the
workplace, where, out of curiosity and sheer boredom, colleagues pick each other
apart with forensic specificity, zooming in on the wedding-ring-wearing guy in
sales who likes his limbs tanning-booth bronzed, or the highlighted assistant
who claims to be hot for Scarlett Johansson.

Alex (not his real name), a
website editor in San Francisco, has watched one of his bosses groom himself
into stray territory. "He mixes protein shakes, has lost 150 pounds, wears
Kenneth Cole, and is a member of Equinox," Alex says. "He has lots of female
friends, and he talks about being attracted to them—but the women think of him
as a friend."



Some people, in my judgment, want to believe that these folks are gay and that they are in denial to confirm that their "gaydar" is correct. Others want to catch these individuals in a lie to "out" them and make the confess. Others still have ideas of what it means to be gay or straight and if rumors exist and even if evidence that these folks have has same sex behaviors than it must mean that they are truly gay and closeted.

This blog is about recognizing that it is much more complicated.

What do you think?

Monday, May 26, 2008

bi-curious?


bi-curious?

There is an interesting thread going on at afterellen.com regarding what constitutes bi-curious and bisexuality. It is worth reading. The following is an excerpt:

I think a person can identify as bisexual without ever having sex. If you're
attracted to men and women; I'd paint you bisexual.

So where does the bi-curious part come in? Is it a legitimate orientation?

I know some people would call bisexuality a phase, I do NOT agree with that
notion. But I do think bi-curious is a phase. It seems like the 'still
questioning' period before a person actually comes out. It seems like it's the
fantasizing, flirting, contemplating that a person does before they come to
terms with their true sexuality.

It seems to be a term reserved for straight people who always wondered what
it would be like to be with someone of the same sex. But can it be used for gay
people who wonder about being with someone of the opposite sex?

Is it fair to use the term for people who are honestly questioning their
sexuality and also use it for people who just want to experiment or are in it
for shits-n-giggles?

I've seen the term used for straight women who find out you are genuinely
attracted to women; so they treat you like they would treat any other man.
Basically, flirting and making out just so they can feel wanted and get some
attention. *no, I'm not stereotyping all straight women. I'm talking about
attention wh*res.*

If you've already had sex or a relationship with someone of the same gender,
is it logical to still identify as bi-curious? If you're found frequently making
out with people of the same sex, are you still bi-curious?

I'm trying to get some clarification because I've heard people use the term
bi-curious for things I would consider bisexual or straight women who just want
some extra attention.
This may sound like a stupid question that's already
been addressed. I'm just trying to dispel some of my ignorance.


GUYS ON FILM | Straight up gay porn for some actors

Regardless of whether or not people believe that straight men can be sexual with other men and still be straight, it seems that venues such as gay porn films and websites such as:

(WARNING BEFORE CLICKING THESE SITES ARE GRAPHIC)

"Straight Guys for Gay Eyes"

"Straight College Men"

The point is that there is a lot of ignorance that straight men can have sex with other men and still be straight. The same way gay men can have sex with women and still be gay.

Here is an article that talks about some of this.

Media Credit: Alexis Johnson
GAY FOR PAY Jeffrey Escoffier shows a clip of a gay porn film to attendees.


"Some directors think that it is better to have straight men in gay porn," said
Jeffrey Escoffier, who writes about gay culture, politics and history. "They
have less trouble getting erections."

Last night at 19 University Place,
Escoffier discussed gender and sexuality in porn while specifically focusing on
his work studying the "gay for pay" phenomenon in which straight men perform in
gay porn films. From his interviews with people in the industry, Escoffier has
found that 25 to 40 percent of porn actors are "gay for pay."

"To become
a porn star and to be a top, you have to be able to get an erection, and you
have to be able to fuck," Escoffier said. "In gay porn, erections are very
important, real penetration is very important and having a real orgasm is very
important, and in ways it is not in straight porn. Every porn set is filled with
stories of the hours spent waiting for an orgasm or for an erection."

In
addition to physically sexual problems that may arise, openly straight men
performing in gay films also results in a different kind of film, filled with
specific sexual symbolism and greater meaning, Escoffier said.

"The ass
is commonly emphasized because it is symbolic of the newest figures and those
most in need of sexual redefinition," Escoffier said. Additionally, boundaries
of sexuality and decency are continually pushed because "in porn, there is the
demand to produce ever more perverse sexual fantasies to keep people engaged and
watching."

Escoffier then showed a clip from the first hard-core gay
porn film that portrayed full nudity and gay sex.

But "gay for pay" is
not merely a career option; it is also an economic strategy. Actors get paid
more for filming a gay porn scene than they would for straight porn, Escoffier
said. Ultimately though, actors in gay porn make less annually because gay porn
makes up a much smaller portion of the sex industry.

Additionally, "gay
for pay" introduces social discourse issues of the ambiguity and defiance of
what might be deemed "traditional" sexual preferences and identity into society.
Escoffier, the author of "Passport to Fantasy" and a visiting scholar for the
NYU Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality, cited one prominent porn star
in illustrating this point: "[The porn star] claims he is 'gay for pay,' but in
the course of his career, he discovered that his favorite way to be fucked is on
his back by a trannie or a girl with a strap-on. Now, how would he be
classified?"

Toward the end of the event, Escoffier considered the lack
of mainstream media coverage that the porn industry receives.

"The porn
industry is at least as big as the world of professional sports, but there are
no pages in the newspapers for it," he said. "There is no way to become known or
recognizable, and there is especially no way to talk about it without it
becoming taboo."

Are you in a bromance?

The following article talks about the usage of the new word "Bromance" when two straight men have loving and even romantic feelings toward one another.

The importance of this word and this concept of "mancrushes" is to dispel the myth that for a male to love and care about another male does not have to make them gay or bisexual. If it does that is fine but if their sexual and romantic identities are heterosexual then the new word for the millineum is "Bromance"

Read on and then tell me what you think can two straight men love each other and not be gay or bisexual? What if they have sex once or on occassion does that make them gay or bisexual?

Here's to 'bromance'
Katherine Bindley

Columbia News Service

Mar. 24, 2008 12:05 PM

In a 2007 episode of NBC’s hospital-based comedy Scrubs, the show’s two
main characters, J.D. and Turk, break into a musical duet proclaiming their
mutual affection. "Guy love. That’s all it is,” the song goes. "Guy love, he’s
mine, I’m his.

There’s nothing gay about it in our eyes."Turk and J.D. are two
straight male doctors who are, without a doubt, in a bromance, a relationship
defined as "the complicated love and affection shared by two straight males,”
according to urbandictionary.com.

From Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid to Good Will Hunting, popular
culture is filled with examples of straight guy love. The sitcom "Friends” often
crafted jokes around the ultra-tight nature of Joey and Chandler’s relationship,
and in the 2005 film "Wedding Crashers,” Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson seemed to
have something more like a tortured love affair than a friendship.

To read more click
here
.

Then an article appeared in the Huffington Post called "Bromance comes out of the closet"

Homosexuality, of course, used to be known as the love that dare not speak
its name--until, thanks to the gayification of pop culture, it became the love
that wouldn't shut the hell up. Now the man crush (a heterosexual male's
feelings of platonic love for another man) and the bromance (when those feelings
are reciprocated) are coming out of the closet in a major way. This has been
brewing for a while (remember those "I love you, man" Bud Light commercials?),
but it reached a high point in the already-classic drunken exchange in last
year's Superbad (which also coined bromance), in which Seth tells his buddy, "I
just love you. I just wanna go to the rooftops and scream, 'I love my best
friend, Evan!'"

The fact that some guys now not only admit to same-sex infatuations
without suffering a paralyzing identity crisis but announce them amounts to a
seismic cultural shift. Until recently, if a heterosexual dude wanted to reveal
something about his inner self, the safe (i.e., non-gay-seeming) option was to
take a stand about, say, The Killer versus Hard Boiled. Now he can hold forth
about his taste in men.

And finally in Time Magazine acknowledged the Bromance with their article on the movie "Superbad" with the article title Superbad: A Fine Bromance

Today we have the summer's last major comedy: Superbad, produced by Apatow
and co-written by Rogen. It's about a pudgy, mouthy slob named Seth (Jonah Hill)
and his quieter, slightly more kempt buddy Evan (Michael Cera) who want, with
variously intense degrees of desperation, to get laid before they graduate from
high school. At the end of a night of wacky hijinks, the lads do wind up in a
sleeping bag, exchanging intimacies with...each other.


Why don't Apatow and
Rogen just do the honorable thing and tell the world they're gay? It would save
them a lot of time wasted pretending their movies are about young men growing up
and finding the right young woman. It would also save movie critics from having
to find new ways of saying, about their maxi-raunch comedies, "Oh, but at heart
they're really sweet."


And while Hollywood is being honest about the new
strain of guy-meets-guy comedy — bromance, the word writer Dave Carnie coined to describe the strong emotional attachment of one man for another — maybe Will
Ferrell and Adam Sandler should come out of the closet too. In Ferrell's movies,
male merging beats female interest to a pulp, and his latest, Blades of Glory,
allows him several opportunities to stick his face in Jon Heder's crotch.
Sandler's summer hit, I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry, took guy-guy
friendship to its logical conclusion: two firefighters get married. At least
that seemed as far as boy-meets-boy comedies could go, until Superbad's
cuddle-up scene.