Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Straight Men

I admit, I have a fetish for straight men, because straight men are not gay.

What?  That doesn't make sense.

I know it doesn't.  But it's true.

How many times have I paused to watch a handsome man interact with his wife and young children?  Young daddies, a gay friend and I used to call them.  Years later, I still stop to look at them--their heterosexuality confirmed by the presence of children.  Is there anything genuinely sexier than watching a straight man push a baby stroller?  If there is, I'd like to see it.

Straight men have an allure all their own, one gay men can't hope to have.  Sure, lots of gay men are handsome, even beautiful, and lots of them have killer bodies. I take a look at them, as everyone does, because you can't help yourself.  I look at extraordinary physical beauty in men...and women.  It's not because I'm gay I can't appreciate a beautiful woman.

But gay men try too hard.  They aren't as natural as straight men.  In general, their hard bodies aren't earned through tough, physical labor--they're created and honed at the gym.  Not the same at all.

Straight men are assured of their masculinity.  Long-time readers of my blog know I've had issues with my masculinity because I'm gay.  My guess is many gay men do too.  But straight men come by their masculinity honestly.  They don't have to pretend they're masculine by wearing funky facial hair, or unusual leather outfits, or riding a Harley Davidson.  Straight men are just masculine…because they're straight.  Being straight makes them masculine.

Young daddies have a softness to them, even a vulnerability.  When they're with their children, they're not afraid to be warm toward them, to cuddle or hold them close, to connect with them, physically and emotionally.  Gay men want to cuddle and hold only when they want something from you.  Otherwise, they have no use for you at all.  Is there anything colder than a gay man who's not interested in you?

Straight men don't have to work at who they are.  They just are.  Their whole being speaks of the ease with which they are men.  While gay men seem to have to put a lot of effort into who they are, perhaps to like themselves more, or to appear more attractive to other gay men, or to hide their gayness.  It all feels phony and flashy and pretentious.  

Then there's the whole gay fantasy of having sex with a straight man.  Is it a conversion thing--do we secretly hope to bring them over to our side?  I don't think so, because if that happens, then they weren't straight to begin with.  Then you're dealing with the whole gay thing, just in different clothing.

For me, the fantasy of having sex with a straight man has to do with being validated by him.  No other straight man has ever validated me, accepted me, made me feel I belong, that I'm all right, I'm a man, despite my sexual orientation. No gay man will be able to validate me in quite the way I need it (not even my partner).  So, for me, it's less about the fantasy of having sex with a straight man and more about the emotional intimacy.  That's where true acceptance comes from. 


  1. Strange as it sounds, I do hear where you are coming from - which is somewhat embarrassing to admit.

    However, is it something that has been driven from society or is it truly out of sexual desire? The straight-man complex seems to be the kryptonite of a few guys I know.

    I think what releases these feelings, at least for me, is having meaningful friendships with heterosexual men. Sexual desire melts away once you truly get to know someone who doesn't share your interest (or it destroys you).

  2. Actually, come to think about it, my partner's book of poetry is all about this, "4172 Words". It's linked off his blog if you're interested, just click on my name. Cheers.

  3. Thanks for your comments, Tales. I think one of the key lines in my post is validation is "...less about the fantasy of having sex with a straight man and more about the emotional intimacy."
    Your point about having meaningful friendships with straight men as an antidote is an extremely good one, and, believe me, one I've thought about many times in the past.
    But the problems around that concern having little in common with straight men (that is, not sharing an interest in cars or sports or women, for example), and straight men feeling too insecure to befriend me or having no interest in getting to know a gay man (which, if I recall correctly, I wrote about some time ago in another post).
    My guess is few gay men have close, meaningful friendships with straight men. Although we share a gender, I believe we have too many differences to make it work. And, even if we had more in common, I don't believe straight men are comfortable being close to gay men, physically or otherwise, because of the guilt by association thing.
    It's an interesting dilemma, and one I'm sure many gay men feel.

  4. What I lack is intimacy, emotional or physical, with any men that aren't straight. I find that emotional intimacy and trust just flows out of straight men in my direction - almost all of my closest friends are straight men. If they aren't, then they are lesbians or straight women (or somewhere in between). They are beautiful people, too.

    There is something completely honest in what you say about them though. They are natural in a way that I can't be. They don't need to fit in, and certainly don't need to put effort in - they are the "in". But I find very few of them are insecure with having a gay friend - at least in my age bracket. Any younger, then yes. Any older and I am convinced that the gap in understanding sexualities is almost too grand to overcome...

    I have actively been trying to meet more gay men and become good friends with. But they come off as phony. And I want somebody who is as comfortable with themselves as I am with myself - willing to improve themselves through hard word, but not self-deprecating.

    I made a goal earlier this week to spend a couple weeks this summer volunteering with Habitat for Humanity. I decided I want to build a house. So that I can get muscle that isn't ripped out of a magazine but is a result of sweat and grease and stinks of raw. Muscle that speaks of experience rather than time devoted to a gym - and that, in the meantime, is contributing to a valuable goal. Its a good mix - something practical and spiritually validating...

  5. What a great comment, Neal, and thanks for contributing it.
    What you describe surely demonstrates a difference between generations. I'm certain virtually all out men in my age range do not have straight male friends. As a rule, older straight men are too insecure with themselves to spend time around gay men for the reasons I specified in my comment above. That's too bad. Little do they know how much they could help to validate gay men like me, and how much they could learn from us. I'm glad it's different for your generation. Perhaps we really are making progress, albeit incrementally.
    I wish I could tell you my experiences with gay men have all been good. Unfortunately, as you suggest, many are phony and insecure themselves. Count yourself lucky to be comfortable with who you are. You are the rare species.
    Your idea to volunteer for Habitat for Humanity says so much about you and your generous spirit. You are wise and mature beyond your years for realizing what a benefit your contribution will make to other people and to yourself. And, of course, the added advantage will be how your physical efforts will help you look and feel better as well.
    Good job, Neal. I shouldn't have to tell you this, but you are a fine young man, who will make your partner very lucky one day. Hang in there, it will happen.
    Thanks again.

  6. I am enjoying this dialogue. I have some younger straight male friends and some older straight male friends, but I agree that this is unfortunately rare. These individuals are genuine, open, accepting men and I am lucky to know them. Finding anyone in this world with whom to share emotional intimacy is a challenge. In fact, I too find it more difficult to connect with gay men; I feel that there are a lot of layers to shed when looking for their true nature (and I'm not talking about clothing!)

    I do understand your appreciation of the "young daddy" image. When we see anyone acting outside a societal stereotype, it is intriguing. An emotional straight man, a naturally rugged gay man (Tales), a hip and socially aware grandmother, a 10-year-old with the uncanny ability to communicate at an adult level. The key here is that these individuals are natural and not forcing a characteristic they cannot own.

    I think there are definitely straight men out there who would be interested in having a meaningful relationship with a gay man. In the future, I hope to see more of them come out - not from the closet, but from the woodwork!


    Way to generalize, bro! Towards the end your post seemed to make sense but from the beginning to just before you start talking about the fantasy of having sex with straight men, it seems like you are confusing facts vs. your projections/society's memes.

    It is pretty insulting when you say gay men try too hard, as if you know what goes on inside the mind of every person who goes to a gym or just makes an effort to look good by their own standards. And you label them as some sort of 'masculinity posers' because SOME gay men (and some straight men too! surprise!) wear leather -which I guess is an allusion to BDSM- and/or ride a Harley Davidson and/or grow a beard. I'm not saying that doesn't happen, that 99% (not a real percentage) of personal ads on gay dating sites are all from "straight-acting" men, but that does not represent the totality of gay men.

    There's also the issue that somehow straight men are masculine simply because they are straight, which really sounds like in your head, straight men produce more testosterone than gay men or something ridiculous like that. Also, you find men with babies sexy, I guess something like the fact that they produced offspring gives you a boner, this seems rather silly. You are connecting two obvious sources and tangling the wires, daddy issues + sexuality, thing is, a man with a baby is not 'sexy', you just perceive it as such.

    The part where you talk about the fantasy of sex with a straight man I agree with, though. It's normal if not common for you or anyone really (me included) to feel like that, like sex with a straight man will somehow validate you/your sexuality/your identity/anything you want it to validate. The thing is it really doesn't, and you don't really need it. It'd be like women feeling validated for being women because men desired them.

    What I'm trying to say is, your perspective is certainly your perspective and that's fine, I'm not going to tell you how to think, but the generalizations all around this post are really not cool. You perpetuate negative stereotypes against gay men while reinforcing straight privilege by placing straight men as having a certain something gay men will never achieve, that is, masculinity; at the same time, you also reinforce it by condoning the idea of straight-validation and referring to it as "true acceptance".

  8. I'm not sure why the comment from another person who goes by the name of Anonymous didn't appear attached to this post, and not just in my email box, but I knew I had to share it with my readers.

    When I wrote and some time later published this post, I knew I could get myself into trouble for making gross generalizations. And that someone might be offended. I wouldn't say Anonymous was offended, but he took issue with some of what I said, and I understand why.

    Anonymous, I agree with much of what you wrote, and I have no intention of defending my words. They merely represent how I feel, what my experience with other gay men has been, what my perceptions are, what my insecurities are--and not fact or truth. Perhaps all I wanted to do was get out what I thought, what has been a part of me for a long time, and generate a little interest, which is what I succeeded in doing.

    I have just one final observation. The comment from Anonymous was well written and not at all disrespectful of me or my blog or what I say in it. So, in the future, please don't choose to be anonymous. It really is all right to have an opinion on something and to own it, as long as you don't go off on the writer (which you didn't) and remain respectful. Enough said.

    Thanks for reading my blog and leaving a comment. I appreciate it.

  9. Neil, what a well-thought out comment. Thanks for your contribution to my blog.

    I'm going to take a stab in the dark and say perhaps one of the reasons why you have close friendships with some straight men is because you don't appear gay yourself. Or because the straight men you are friends with don't think you look gay (even though you may have told them you are). Or the straight men you associate with are truly secure with themselves, which might be a younger generation thing.

    At any rate, my intent with my blog is always to provoke thought, and I believe your resulting comment demonstrates that. Thanks again and, by the way, great last line.

  10. I just found this, referred to it via Facebook. The singular biggest flaw with Mr. Modien's self-loathing thesis is his implied notion that "straight men" -- and gay men -- are all some sort of monolithic whole. This gay men/straight men dichotomy bespeaks of more of a neurotic conflict within Mr. Modien than anything corresponding to actual reality. He might take note, for example, that there is a growing explosion of gay male couples raising families, and that "young daddy" you see in a public park see being cuddly and affectionate with his infant son might just have a husband at home. It's the 21st century, Mr. Modien, and times have changed!

  11. Ricardo, the content of my blog consists of my opinions only. I don't presume to speak for everyone. What I've tried to do is use this forum to take a closer look at how I feel, and why I feel that way. Always, my hope is to understand myself better and, hopefully, to help other gay men understand themselves better, too.

    The beauty about writing is that when you speak your truth, you inevitably speak the truth for others as well, and you often give them a much needed voice. These are the gay men I hope to reach. If my words didn't resonate with you, and you don't have the same issues or opinions as I detail in this post, so much the better.

    Thanks for your interest in my blog, and for taking the time to leave a comment. I appreciate it.