Many Straight Men Feel Sexually Attracted To Other Men, But Why Can’t They Admit It?

Posted on October 21, 2016 in Cake News, Masculinity

Sexuality is fluid, and no matter how one might identify, experiencing attraction towards the same sex is absolutely valid. Even those who primarily experience heterosexual desire can be attracted to more than just the opposite gender – it really shouldn’t be cause for concern. But unfortunately, because patriarchy gives rise to harmful notions about what’s “masculine” and what’s not, cisgender heterosexual men do not find it easy to admit or even accept the fact they can be attracted to other men (even though it’s completely okay to be). But cisgender heterosexual women, however, find it easier to come clean about experiencing same-sex desire. Why is this so?

On the 18th of October, Twitter user @mentalexotica set out to explore and try to answer this very question, trying to build a conversation around male sexual desire, and the various factors that forbid men from expressing it. In a series of tweets, she made some important points, and received a whole host of interesting and engaging responses from the men on her timeline.

She First Started Off With Some Simple Questions:

And Got Some Genuine Responses From Men:

But Some Responses Explored A Different Angle:

Many of these showed that these men were hesitant to explore or verbalize the occasional desire they experience towards other men because of this same fear of breaching the kind of toxic masculinity they have been conditioned to internalize. This kind of a masculinity drives home that heterosexuality is the only form of expressing desire and anything otherwise disturbs the status quo.

By Now, She Was Curious:

…And This Lead Her To Explore Masculinity In Greater Detail:

 She Also Spoke About How Men Recoil From Fellow Male Affection:

And Made An Important Comparison Between Female and Male Same-Sex Relations:

Woman-on-woman love is often fetishized by the (straight) male gaze and seen as erotic. This stems from internalized sexism, and is yet another way of objectifying female bodies and female desire. But man-on-man love, in comparison, is seen as demeaning, is seen as ‘deviant’, because it is seen as a challenge to traditional gender dynamics. This is, indeed, a disturbing double standard.

What came out of this exercise was not just candid confessions from men who were forced to re-evaluate how they view their sexuality, how they deal with same-sex attraction, and how much of that is controlled by patriarchal conditioning. More importantly, it threw up questions about how men see other men, and how these responses can be deeply problematic. This was a dialogue that men in India (a country where notions of masculinity are truly toxic) sorely needed, and it was heartening to see so many men open up. This, indeed, is an important first step towards encouraging Indian men to be more comfortable with expressing emotion and desire.