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[BISEXUAL PROPAGANDA] How to Have Gay Sex Without Being Gay

IMAGE: via Vice

We spoke to Jane Ward, author of ‘Not Gay: Sex between Straight White Men,’ about the gay sex straight white guys have been having for centuries.

By Hugh Ryan | 8 August 2017

VICE — Jane Ward’s new book, Not Gay: Sex between Straight White Men, is an investigation into “no homo” culture, which charts the many ways in which straight white men explore, explain, and excuse their sexual behavior with other men. So readily visible are the pieces of evidence she amasses, and so surprising are her conclusions, that reading Not Gay is like doing a Magic Eye puzzle for the mind: All the dots you’d never before put together suddenly snap into place, allowing you to see just how hot for other men some straight men are.

Each chapter in the book explores a different framing device that our culture uses to understand sex between straight white men: frat house or military hazing rituals, boys-will-be-boys summer camp circle jerks, or the “situational homosexuality” of sailors at sea, for instance. Women, Ward contends, are allowed (or, increasingly, expected) to be more sexually fluid and “open,” while the concept of the “down low” has prompted many recent discussions on the supposed sexual fluidity (and duplicity) of men of color. But straight white men are generally held up as the paragons of our sexually normative culture, oriented in one rigid direction, unwavering and in fact disgusted by any other kind of sexuality.

In particular, Ward pays close attention to the ways in which white straight men justify their own sexual behaviors with other men. She neatly breaks down common defenses given to “explain” such actions. For example, sexual contact between men is often seen as a kind of heterosexual bonding if the participants loudly declare how disgusting the activity is (think frat boys “forced” to insert things into each others’ assholes—a frequent occurrence in the pages of Not Gay). Yet she points out that many straight men openly express disgust about women’s bodies, showing that disgust and desire can easily exist in the same moment.

Ward is not arguing that these men are “really” gay or bisexual (though some probably are). Instead, her point is that what makes these men “not gay” isn’t their actions, nor the complicated and contradictory emotions that are involved in those actions, but rather, their commitment to straight, normative life. The very same behaviors and feelings these men exhibit might, in someone less invested in normality, have given rise to a gay, bi, or queer identity.

VICE called up Ward to discuss sexuality, normative culture, bro-jobs, elephant walks, “crossing the line,” and the dozen other bizarrely named and carefully orchestrated rituals that white straight guys use to get inside each other’s cargo shorts. […]


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