It all gets a bit complicated, but does it really need to be?
It may surprise you to learn that men were having sex with each other way back in Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome. There was no label to it, they were pretty much doing it because they had urges that needed to be satisfied and, unless they were married, having sex with a woman was out of the question.
So why, then, is it such a shock in the 21st century to hear of straight men having sex with other guys?
Many a ‘bro-job’, as the action is now affectionately known, has come into public play in recent times (a quick search on Craigslist will prove I’m not making it up). But it’s sparked mass confusion; namely due to the fact that many of us have trouble distinguishing between sexual behavior and sexual identity.
The problem is, society feels the need to put a label on people. Blonde, brunette, fat, thin, gay, straight. Many of these people won’t even dare venture down Bisexual Alley or Transgender Lane. It’s just ‘gay’ to them, but life isn’t that simple.
Chelsea Reynolds, a doctoral candidate at the University of Minnesota, explains “While guys who identify as straight may have sex with other men, this does not make them gay. Gayness, queerness and other LGBTQ identities are representative of complex desires, such as long-term partner preference, cultural belonging and political orientation”.
Then there are the double standards that rear their ugly head whenever this topic comes up. Why is it okay for women to experiment sexually with other women, but not for men to do the same? Talk about that one time you and your bestie got a bit tipsy and fooled around under the sheets and you’ll have the whole room in awe. If a guy attempted to follow suit, there’s no doubt in my mind he’d be doing so to an empty room. The fantasy is non-existent. Unfair, but true.
So why do they do it?
After a string of chats with men who seek out bro-jobs, there were two reasons I heard over and over. Firstly, sex with other men offers guys a no-strings-attached experience – a business deal of sorts. You don’t have to be a scientist to see why this is so appealing. In her research, Reynolds found these types of encounters often involve glory holes or blindfolds to keep the acts even more anonymous.
And secondly, it allows men to take on a different role. With women, guys often feel they need to be the dominant one in the bedroom, but being with other men is all about giving in to their submissive side. Sex therapist Dr Susan Block adds “the BDSM element can involve humiliation by means of another penis, a larger penis”.
The curiosity factor
“There’s also the curiosity bit – the desire to be with someone ‘who looks like me’,” explains Block.
“There’s also mutual masturbation. And then there’s the simple fact that males manifest their sexual excitement in much more obvious ways than women, and that’s something a lot of guys find arousing, even relieving.”
Thirty-four year-old marketing manager Paul* connects strongly to point two.
“No man can match the tenderness of a woman, and the incredible curves and soft skin they come with. On the other hand, no woman can take me in the dominant way men do,” says Paul.
“At the end of the day, it all comes down to whether I’m craving masculine energy or a feminine touch.”
It would be remiss not to mention the anatomical link here, too. The prostate is a very erogenous zone for men, and many women won’t go anywhere near it (no judgment).
When touched or rubbed (the way it would be in man-on-man anal sex), the pleasure that can result from it is actually more intense than what can be felt from straight P in V sex, or so I’m told.
For what it’s worth, I don’t care what you identify as or who you have sex with. However, I do believe a problem will arise if you are a straight married man having sex with other men behind your wife’s back. Be open about what you’re feeling, keep the lines of communication flowing, and figure out what works for you both.
*Surname withheld for privacy reasons.
GIF via giphy.com. Image via tumblr.com.
Comment: Do you think men who go down on other men are just gay, or is it more complex than labels?