A quick search for gay porn will reveal our bizarre obsession with straight men — “straight dude fucks his teammate,” “straight bro first time anal,” and so on. Where does this come from? Internalized homophobia, perceptions of masculinity, or our childhood fantasies of fucking the quarterback? Probably some compendium of all three.
Hetero-worship is real and makes gay men appear at times predatory and self-flagellating, but sometimes we’re on to something. Sometimes your “straight bro first time anal” dream meets reality when your straight friend is gay-curious. Gay and bi men are sensitive to our brothers in the closet because most of us were there at one point. We remember the fear of getting caught, the curiosity and confusion, the threat of exposure, the furtive glances.
Give curious straight guys some love. Here are 17 signs your straight friend is gay-curious.
I’ve answered many technical questions about gay sex for many straight men (“Actually, Joe, a handheld douche bulb is only going to clean the first chamber, so if you’re looking to get fisted you need to clean deeper”). During a litany of sex questions I’ll see that devilish shine in his eyes — desire, that dark animal lifting its head.
Many straight men will visit a gay bar, but gay-heavy gyms are different. During a recent tattoo appointment, my artist and I were talking about our gyms. He’ll go to a gay bar with his girlfriend and would appreciate gay men flirting with him as a compliment, but the gay gym? “Can’t go there. I felt like a piece of meat in the lion cage.”
When we’re on the DL or questioning our sexuality, we’re uncomfortable around our own kind, who might recognize us. When another gay/bi man looks into your eyes, you know. There’s a current, a note of understanding, compounded with fear of exposure.
Before I came out, I looked into the eyes of pharmacists, baristas, volunteer colleagues, fellow students, and countless workers behind countless registers and was understood as instantaneously and devastatingly as if I had been wearing “HOMO” in glitter letters on my shirt. Today I would totally wear that T-shirt, and sometimes younger men look at me — in coffee shops, at theme parks, in pharmacies — and then immediately look down. They know, and I know.
You know the look. It happens after the card game is over and you’re all fairly drunk and the rest of your friends go off to refill their drinks, and he looks at you. It’s the tired, exposed look of closeted queer people desperate for a life raft. That’s the moment you want to save him, rip him out of his life, and put him in a different one in which he could be free, but you can’t. Everyone needs their journey.
I don’t know why this is, but straight men don’t hug me often. My father did when I was younger, my best friend from high school has hugged me, but the rest shake hands. Hugging is intimate, something you reserve for sons and fathers, family members and best girlfriends. When a straight man hugs me, I raise my eyebrows.
His persona includes blog posts about how awesome Michele Bachmann is, a red MAGA hat, and Breitbart bookmarked on his computer. Closeted self-loathing is the not-so-secret formula behind the most vehement antigay politicians — so much so that when I meet someone with major beef with us, I pull out my phone to see if I recognize his headless, faceless profile on Grindr.
Let me explain. One of my friends, a self-proclaimed straight man, was fascinated by the fact that I was a fisting bottom. Rather than probe me for more information (pun intended), he turned my nontraditional sex practice into a repeat joke. Fisters know there are endless fisting jokes to be made, and most of us have heard them all. He took advantage of every single one. It was his “safe zone” sex joke, his way of using comedy to get titillating stories from me. Pretty soon it was obvious what was going on: He was aroused. No one was laughing and he was still trying to turn it into a joke. Finally I said, “OK, man, why don’t you fist a dude and experience it for yourself?”
Our truths become apparent in how we try to hide them. This is one of the most obvious signs that he’s gay/bi-curious — and one of the most important. It puts you in the role of confidante. Listen to him, talk about whatever you’re comfortable talking about, and talk in a way that invites him into honesty without backing him into a corner. You’ll know when you’re at that point in the conversation. Don’t ask him to reveal his interests because he might not be there yet. Instead, simply give him a platform to talk about “gay guys,” or “his gay friend,” etc.
I wish I could tell you where the line of physical intimacy is drawn between “straight” and “nonstraight,” but assuming there is one also assumes a fallacious line between sexual identities. Our bodies don’t select one over the other.
As Kinsey and other sexologists have revealed, sexuality is fluid and exists on a scale. Trying to fit him into “gay,” “straight,” or “bisexual” is puzzling and unrealistic, so it’s easier to gauge something you can measure — body contact, stimulus, touch.
If it’s very late and he’s on the couch next to you and leaning in close, put your hand on his shoulder. This is what I call the “marker” touch. Your high school football coach puts a hand on your shoulder as he sends you into the game. Your father puts a hand on your shoulder when you’re 12 and he’s introducing you to someone. When past boyfriends were having bad days, I put my hand on their shoulder — a paternal-feeling gesture that reads, “I got you, I’m here, it’s going to be OK.”
It sounds like a gay porn scenario itself, but a lot of “straight-to-gay” encounters happen over porn. You watch it with your buddies, then you happen to be jacking off together.
When a straight friend is gay-curious, I don’t recommend Kink.com’s 30 Minutes of Torture, punch fisting, or hot electro videos with poor submissives screaming in pain. I lead him to where most of us started — Xtube.com or any other gay porn tube site with obnoxious pop-ups and malware threats — and let him explore for himself. If he wants a more specific and sincere recommendation, I send him to my personal favorite — Treasure Island Media (cum dumps, anon loads, group orgies, oh my!). It’s a butt-pirate’s life for me.
Straight men seem to think we’re all bottoms. There’s an odd correlation in cultural myth between “gay” and taking cock up the ass — total power tops must be too terrifying to imagine. Guys open to same-sex experiences know better and will sometimes ask which way you lean. I read it as an obvious indicator, but maybe that’s just my own hope and desire acting up. When I was on the DL, I mostly topped because bottoming was “too gay,” and I was ashamed. Projecting my experience onto them, I assume other closeted gay/bi-curious men do the same. Desire — that dark animal lifting its head.