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Sexuality

Sen. Larry Craig—Straight or Gay?
by Joe Kort, MSW ©2007 All rights reserved.

While I don't believe Larry Craig is innocent of his foot tapping incident in a public restroom nor is he innocent of his intent to have sex with another man. And I also don't believe he is gay.

I have had hundreds of heterosexual male clients have sex with men and the only thing homosexual about it was the sexual act. Nothing more.

Research is starting to support that sexual acts can be distinct from romantic love. In other words, one can have sexual acts with another human being and it can be void of any romantic and affectional feelings.

Men have intuited this all along. Men know that there can be sex for release, sex for love and sex for both. So then why is it such a stretch to believe that men having public sex in restrooms with other men are only doing it for sexual release and nothing more.

Researcher Lisa Diamond tackles the issue of sexual desire and romantic love. Diamond, a researcher and Associate Professor Psychology and Gender Studies Department of Psychology at the University of Utah wrote an article called "Emerging Perspectives on Distinctions Between Romantic Love and Sexual Desire" in Current Directions in Psychological Science  in 2004 stating:

Sexual desire typically denotes a need or drive to seek out sexual objects or to engage in sexual activities, whereas romantic love typically denotes the powerful feelings of emotional infatuation and attachment between intimate partners.

In Diamond’s research she also says:

Furthermore, extensive cross-cultural and historical research shows that individuals often develop feelings of romantic love for partners of the ‘‘wrong’’ gender (i.e., heterosexuals fall in love with same gender partners and lesbian and gay individuals fall in love with other-gender partners, as reviewed in Diamond, 2003). Although some modern observers have argued that such relationships must involve hidden or suppressed sexual desires, the straightforward written reports of the participants themselves are not consistent with such a blanket characterization. Rather, it seems that individuals are capable of developing intense, enduring, preoccupying affections for one another regardless of either partner’s sexual attractiveness or arousal.

What I find of most interest in that excerpt from her study is this:

Although some modern observers have argued that such relationships must involve hidden or suppressed sexual desires, the straightforward written reports of the participants themselves are not consistent with such a blanket characterization.

So this explains why it is possible for gays and lesbians to heterosexually marry and truly fall in love with their spouses. They are not manufacturing it they truly are romantically and affectionally attached to their spouses.

Diamond goes onto say in her article:

Why do the majority of human adults fall in love only with partners to whom they are sexually attracted? One reason is obviously cultural: Most human societies have strong and well-established norms regarding what types of feelings and behaviors are appropriate for different types of adult relationships, and they actively channel adults into the ‘‘right’’ types of relationships through a variety of social practices.

I understand that Diamond's study is about romantic love more than sexual desire. But is it too far of a stretch that one can have sex with someone of the same gender and that is all it means—that they had sex with someone of the same gender?

What makes these straight men have sex with other men? Physical release. Physical touch with another man. The men who come to my office having engaged in these sexual practices with other men tell me they have no desire to be in a relationship with another man, wake up next to another man, or fantasize about anything about another man. When they do the sexual behavior it is impulsive, erotic and a release. They are attracted to the sexual act , like a fetish. They do not desire the man.

Are there closeted men in those restrooms? Yes. Are they gay men there? Yes. Are there sexually addicted gay and straight men in there. Yes. So why can't we consider that straight men are in there with their own set of issues themselves without it having anything to do with homosexuality or bisexuality. 
Isn't that what we are doing to men like Craig? Trying to push him and men like him into cultural boxes so we can all rest easy and match him with what he does sexually to identify him.

We don't know him. But, shouldn't he be the judge?

Diamond, L. M. (2004)." Emerging perspectives on distinctions between romantic love and sexual desire." Current Directions in Psychological Science , 13, 116-119.

For more information go to www.straightguise.com.

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