Sexual identity can be complicated and identity in general can be a sensitive topic for some people. It makes sense why one’s identity and the social risk of being misunderstood is hard for many people to grapple with. Most people just want to be seen for who they are without having to explain themselves or deal with judgement and shame from others who don’t understand. When it comes to other people’s sexual identities and preferences, there is often an instinct to want to immediately label and put someone in an easily identifiable box that makes sense; however, what if something you learn about other’s doesn’t make sense within your specific worldview? Can we sit with that discomfort and still accept everyone has the freedom to be do what they want?
This week’s episode of the Modern Intimacy podcast features Dr. Joe Kort, board-certified clinical sexologist and psychotherapist, explains why some straight men enjoy sleeping with other men, while still identifying as straight. He discusses the identity confusion that can sometimes come up around these sexual preferences and how he helps clients accept their desires without pathologizing, shaming, or labeling them.
Why Do Some Straight Guys Have Sex with Men?
Before answering the question “Why do straight men have sex with men?”, it’s important to set a president: sexuality is fluid. What sexual fluidity essentially means is that a person’s sexuality is flexible and can change overtime. This means that a straight man can have the desire to have sex with other men, lesbians and gays can have sex with opposite-sex partners, and so on. Sexuality isn’t a static state of identity for everyone, some find they vacillate between various sexual orientations and preferences versus staying within one lane of desire.
Since sexuality is fluid, it releases the definitive label many people feel they have to place on themselves, oftentimes so others can understand them better. Many people feel pressured to express identities in a way that people can understand as there can be so much judgement around gender identity, sexual orientation, and sexual preferences.
Men and women, as well as those of any gender identity are capable of aligning with sexual preferences that may not match up completely with their expressed sexual orientation. It’s not impossible for someone to have a sexual attraction towards someone of the same sex and simultaneously be sexually and romantically attracted to those of the opposite sex as well. There is nothing wrong with experiencing both, though because of sex negativity, many can feel they are “not normal” or told they are repressing their “true” sexual identity.
Repression of Sexual Identity and Sexual Preferences
It’s possible for men who understand themselves as straight to feel safer to hide an LGBTQ+ identity to protect themselves from judgement, however, this is not the situation for every straight man who has sex with other men. There is messaging that someone “has to” be gay but is repressing their authentic sexual identity. This can be harmful to these men because they know themselves best and when they are told they must be hiding from themselves, it can make them feel there is something “wrong” about themselves, when there is nothing to pathologize or deem problematic about their sexual preferences.
Society tends to have its judgements about sexual identities and preferences that are outside of the norm. Sexuality can be multidimensional and much more complex than wanting to have sex with one type of person. There is also usually much more judgement flown at straight men who engage sexually with other men, whereas straight women hooking up with and experiencing sexual attraction to other women is usually labeled as “experimenting” and sexualized.
Due to rampant homophobia and toxic masculinity, a lot can be at risk socially for straight men who are open about having sexual relations with men. Heteronormative gender roles contribute to a culture that otherizes and judges sexual orientations other than heterosexual, especially if someone is located in a part of the United States or other area of the world where LGBTQ+ folks are heavily discriminated against.
Moving Towards Sex Positivity & Acceptance
We don’t have to agree with or understand others’ sexual preferences in order for them to be valid. If straight men are consensually and enthusiastically engaging in sex with men and still identify as straight (or identify as fluid/nothing at all), everyone is entitled to express and explore sexuality the way that is most authentic to their desires and needs. If you’ve ever heard the phrase, “don’t yuck someone else’s yum,” it can be a great reminder that what one person finds appealing isn’t going to be for everyone, and that’s not only okay, but normal given we have a robust society made up of nuanced and complex individuals.
For those who are attempting to understand their own sexual desires and preferences and feel they are bumping up against shame and self-judgement, know you are entitled to sexual exploration in whatever way is most fulfilling. When we accept our own sexual preferences and the preferences as others, a more sex positive and inclusive society can flourish.
Dr. Joe Kort is a psychotherapist, clinical director, and founder of The Center for Relationship Health in Royal Oak, Michigan, a board-certified sexologist, an author of 4 books, a lecturer and facilitator of therapeutic workshops.
Dr. Kort specializes in marital problems and conflicts; mixed-orientation marriages; male sexuality and sexual health concerns; “compulsive sexual behavior,” out-of-control sexual behaviors; sexual identity issues; childhood sexual abuse; LGBTQIA Affirmative Therapy; Male Sexual Fluidity and Imago Relationship Therapy.
Dr. Kort can be found on Instagram, TIkTok, Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn @drjoekort, and his website iswww.JoeKort.com
Dr. Kate and Dr. Kort discuss Straight Men having Sex with Men: About this choice, the reasons why, and effects of.
- Talk about some of the reasons a straight man would engage in sex with another man
- What would you tell a straight man who has had these thoughts or has had sex with another man?
- What would you tell people who say this action defines a person’s sexuality?
- How might this impact other people in his life?
- If the man is in a relationship with a woman, what might the repair process look like?
And so much more on this topic.