According to a new report, men who sometimes sleep with other men are opting not to label themselves as bisexual because that’s “too gay.” What they’re picking instead: mostly straight.
Ritch C. Savin-Williams, a professor of development psychology at Cornell University, is releasing a book titled Mostly Straight: Sexual Fluidity Among Gay Men which explores this trend.
In an article for Time magazine, Savin-Williams explains, “To the uninitiated, mostly straight may seem paradoxical. How can a man be mostly heterosexual?”
“Yet the evidence suggests that more young men identify or describe themselves as ‘mostly straight’ than identify as either bisexual or gay combined.”
Savin-Williams cites a government poll conducted between 2011 and 2013 which discovered that 6% of men aged 18 to 24 described themselves as being attracted to “mostly the opposite sex.”
In that poll, men were asked to choose one of three labels — straight, bisexual or gay — and 75% said they were straight because bisexual seemed “too gay.”
For his book, Savin-Williams spoke to a group of “mostly straight” men to get a better understanding of them:
The mostly straight man belongs to a growing trend of young men who are secure in their heterosexuality yet remain aware of their potential to experience far more…
Perhaps he’s made out or he wants to make out with a guy friend. He’s participated in all-male group masturbation or is willing to receive oral sex from an attractive guy he’s just met. But it’s unlikely that he has had penetrative sex with a guy, though he might be willing to if the right guy or circumstance appeared.
He might have had an intense guy crush. But to fall passionately in love with a guy is too much, though he might have quite strong feelings and cuddle with a best friend.
Savin-Williams reveals that same-sex attraction makes up around 5% to 10% of a “mostly straight” man’s sexual and romantic feelings. The remaining 90% to 95% is dedicated to the opposite sex.
This isn’t the first time we’ve learned that people are co-opting new phrases in order not to be labeled as gay or bisexual. One website explains the term “G0Ys” — a term for gay and bi men who don’t like to call themselves gay or bi because a “vile, shameless & vocal minority has given ‘gay’ a bad name, a la ‘guys in high-heels with dildos stuffed up their asses.'”
Another report explained the term “androphile” created by Nichola Chinardet who thinks “‘homosexual’ is a bit clinical, and lots of people use it negatively,” while “‘gay’ has a certain lifestyle attached to it,” which he doesn’t recognize himself in.
Chinardet doesn’t relate to what he calls “the clichés you could attach to the ‘gay’ scene.” He’s a club photographer who says that unless he’s working, “I don’t go clubbing. I don’t like shopping.”
He came up with an alternative term to describe himself as a man who finds other men sexually attractive: androphile. He created the term with his knowledge of the Greek language, putting two words together – the prefix “andro,” meaning man, and “phile,” denoting love for something.
We’ve also reported on the occurance of “heteroflexible” men engaging in “bud-sex,” a type of encounter that reaffirms the participants’ heterosexuality by framing their same-sex sexual activity as “helpin’ a buddy out,” relieving “urges” or having sex without sexual attraction..
Basically, it seems like men who like having sex with other men will do anything to not label themselves as gay.