Wednesday, August 13, 2008

"What if You Just Thought You Were Gay"

I'll start this post off with a little joke that made me laugh (or if you prefer, "it brought the lulz"). "I like my women like I like my coffee...I don't like coffee." That's how Dan Rothenberg used to start his comedy routines when he was a gay comic back in the day. The only problem is that he's straight now, and not because he hated being gay.

If you've been reading this blog, or really most of the blogs on my blogroll, you should know about ex-gays and what the term means. Generally speaking, these are people that have decided (usually for moral or religious reasons), they no longer want to be gay. So, they work to either change their orientation, reduce their same-sex attractions, or simply avoid sexual contact with the same sex. I'm being simplistic, but you get the idea.

I've been researching, studying, and reading all about the ex-gay lifestyle (good one, huh?) for something in the neighborhood of 5 years now, and I'm fairly familiar with it. But, Dan Rothenberg, and lots of other guys out there, according to Details Magazine Online, turn out straight without ever going the ex-gay route. I guess you could call them formerly gay, or maybe just straight. The article over at Details discusses 4 former gays that never really were ex-gays. These aren't folks that tried to be straight or sought out some religious or political organization to help them solve their same-sex desires--they simply discovered that they were attracted to women and not men one day.

The idea sounds a bit weird to me, if for nothing else because I'm one of those Kinsey 10 people...I have no attraction to the opposite sex at all, as much as I've tried. And, of course, the first thing that came to mind for me was bisexuality. The author over at Details, though, dismisses that idea, saying the men were, in fact gay.

Intriguing, to say the least, but then I read on, and the bisexual dismissal started to sound just a little fishy. Even if I let the bisexual idea slide, experimentation, rather than orientation, seems to be the most likely reasoning to explain this phenomenon.

Let me explain:

The first person in the article (the comedian I mentioned above) "discovered" that he was "a bit of a boy magnet" in his early 20's after performing his stand-up routine in a gay area of San Francisco. He goes on to claim that he found hooking up easy for the first time in his life. So, before his 20's, it sounds like he'd never leaned gay, but realized he could get some action if he were. The article mentions the comedian is 35 and married for 7 years but realized 5 years before that that he probably wasn't gay. That made him early 20's when he thought he was gay and 23 when he decided he wasn't. Not a real strong argument for gay turning straight. Sounds more like straight guy experiments, realizes it's not for him, and then goes back to being straight again.

The second guy isn't quite as easy to categorize, but he did say that he was "all about girls" until he hooked up with his first guy. Basically, he hooked up with a guy for whatever reason, and liked it, but he was never not attracted to girls. Most gay guys don't describe themselves as being "all about women."

The third guy describes chasing women post-college as a "chore" and realized when he went to gay bars he "got hit on like crazy." According to the story, he convinced himself that dating men would be easier than dating women, so he gave it a shot with 2 guys for a couple of months each. Basically, he decided it wasn't for him and he went back to women. Experimentation strikes again.

The fourth guy says he thought he was gay from early on but had to fantasize about women to achieve an orgasm. I'm not really sure what was going on with him, but not being able to have sex with a man pretty much means you're not gay, regardless of what you've convinced yourself.

So that's the article in a nutshell. I'm not claiming that no one has ever thought they were gay (or even been gay) and then all of the sudden realized they were straight (hey, I've seen plenty of stories where it happened the other way around), but let's not go jumping the gun here. We can't forget that bisexuality happens and experimentation happens. Whether or not you agree with "trying out" both sides, just hooking up or even dating the opposite sex, doesn't immediately mean you're gay, as much as this articles seems to think it does.


At 25/8/08 12:34 PM, Blogger Jason said...

I agree with you, I had 4 friends in college, all "bisexual" but none of whom dates the same-sex anymore. In fact, 3 out of the 4 are married to the opposite sex.
None of them considered themselves gay, even though both females each had a serious relationship with a woman.

People dismiss bisexuality because they don't understand it, not because it's not a legitimate option. The author even dismisses because the men weren't going back and forth between women and men like alternating shoes. It doesn't work like that, not for most bisexuals, anyway. I read a lot about bisexuals when I thought I might be bi instead of gay, and one of the things is that some people are bisexual over the course of their lives and it works much like these men's stories. They're into men for awhile and then find a great woman. Perhaps later in life these men might end up with men again, maybe not.
I'm not counting out that people can't suddenly shift, but these stories don't seem like abrupt shifts, these men appeared to always have some sort of honest interest in women.
The thing about bisexuality, and I have no data, just 4 people's lives to show this ---- they're most likely going to end up in a heterosexual relationship. The gay community is small, the odds are simply stacked in favor of a bisexual finding a opposite-sex partner.

At 17/9/08 10:26 PM, Blogger Fin De Fichier said...

I guess Details has to sell magazines, but really, this is news? How many gay men have fathered children at some point in their lives, either because they were pretending to be straight, or had a night of fooling around with a female friend for the heck of it? Most cases are the former, but the latter is definitely known to happen. I bet at least one and possibly all of those featured will get a hankering for dude sex again in the future, though.


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