I wanted to reprint this yet again since this topic remains current and valid…
I was trying to put my thoughts together on a review I was doing of Amber Green’s Bareback. Then it occurred to me that I had spent the entire review simply relating a general issue I have with some Gay Romance stories when it comes to using the old Straight To Gay Male Character Story Arc.
So first let’s put some of my own personal opinions about male sexuality in regards to Bisexuality and Homosexuality out on the table here…
The Northwestern University in Illinois and the Center for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto created probably one of the most controversial reports recently in a little study they did with self-identified “Bisexual men”. Taking a group of these “Bisexual men” they proceeded to wire their dicks up and showed them both male-male and girl-girl and then male-girl porn. Well Gee Whiz! Guess what? They found that 75% of these guys responses mostly mirrored the Gay male control group.
Oh My God! Does that mean that the other 25% were closeted Straight guys?
Well not in my opinion, I think those guys were most likely quite happy with the ease that Gay guys have in getting laid on a regular basis, that’s all. Why buy the bull when you can get the horns for free?
See, I don’t find this study all that radical to my, most likely pessimistic, view of the world as long as it is taken with some common sense and the knowledge that it in no way fully explains the human side of the equation.
There is a strong dichotomy in men (Gay-Bi-Straight) between physical sex and emotional love.
Repeat after me… MEN ARE PIGS!
For the price of a couple of shots and a six-pack of beer and the promise of a discreet blow job or a quick fuck with no potential ramifications they will pretty much do anything sexually you might want to do, man on man sex, the affair with the secretary, the wild weekend orgy.
BUT… When it comes to who they want to meet dear old mom and dad… WELL That’s a whole different can-o-worms.
The Northwestern study simply misses that one key thing in how men think about sex. From my point of view Bisexual experiences are just about access and opportunity, helped out if there are no possible social consequences, which means ultimately nothing emotionally to the typical guy, and are as common as dirt for the young adventurous randy male.
Bisexual emotions on the other hand are probably, in adult males at least, the most rare of occurrences. I’m not gonna say it can’t happen, I am gonna say don’t go holding your breath when trying to find this special male animal. There would most likely have to be a lot more complexities to the situation for that to happen.
I forgot to mention that women were also tested and that they are more likely to be truly Bisexual. No DUH!
So as the article states Women are from Venus AND Mars, Men are from Venus OR Mars.
So add all we know the commonly known and institutionally enforced Bisexuality like in the military or prison and the sexual experimentation of teenagers and what you get with this line of thinking is that 75% of the guys in that study were from a homophobic background and are simply in the normal process of coming to terms with being great big, man loving, queens. They are claiming to be Bisexual because of self denial.
This my friends has a whole bunch of people upset and very bitter. Now in my nasty little piggy mind that indicates someone’s getting close to some truth there.
Just don’t talk about this too much because it’s yet another sensitive issue for those more conservative insecure macho men. If sex is transitional but preference is permanent or genetic then no matter how over the top you perform in bed with a woman if you are not emotionally available to them but are always there for your buddies, um well… Which leads us to that wonderful cliché “It’s all just a phase they are going through.”
So what am I getting at in regards to the old Straight To Gay Male Character Story Arc?
Simply smacking any old Straight male character with the whole “Surprise you are a Gay Romance Hero!” story line is fucking bull even if he is secretly Bisexual. The Hero should always have been more intimate emotionally with men besides whatever sexual experiences he has had. So in other words making someone Gay because of sex alone does not do it for me. (Contemporary Romance wise, Paranormal Romance you can carefully use several magical ways to get out of this quandary.)
If you honestly want to write this type of story you should make it clear the “Straight” Hero has an awareness that this has always been the way he “felt” despite whatever takes place sexually.
It’s like what the Oracle said to Neo in The Matrix…
Being the one is just like being in love. No one can tell you you’re in love. You just know it. Through and through. Balls to bones.
The Hero who is supposedly always been or acted straight should have a clue that he has never had emotional fulfillment with a woman because he has always been closer with his male buddies. There has to be some form of self awareness in order to make the leap into falling in love.
He should not just wake up after getting a really incredible blow job and decide he wants to be Gay.
Much like that 25% in the study guys who like great sex are just guys who like great sex and they are not HEA material in my book.
Sex is transitional but preference is permanent or genetic gives you a rich emotional patchwork to explore with your character. So why shorthand this aspect with a couple of quicky Gay sex scenes? That does not convince anyone who has thought this whole transitional process through or in my case experienced it.
Being Gay is a form of self awareness of who you really want emotionally, it happened with me very young but I have met guys where it took time to sink in. There are tons of Gay fathers out there. It’s not a condition that suddenly happens without short circuiting a huge amount of socially and religiously encouraged denial. Talk to any Gay guy who was married and had kids, so he had Straight sex right, but now swears he is 100% Gay and he most likely will tell you he always was Gay. Nothing about confronting that condition could possibly happen over night.
I am only pointing out a particular problem and I am in no way trying to single out Amber Green here and I am not making any accusation of any type of homophobia at all.
I also find the whole “Straight Women writing books about Gay Men for other Straight Women” explanation given typically for when a story fails in this way suspect. Would anyone have the nerve to say they are White Women writing books about African Americans for other White Women?
I do not think so, I could be wrong though.