By Rick Clemons for YourTango.com.
By no means am I the pot calling the kettle black. After all, I was once one of those not-gay-straight-guys who enjoyed having not-gay sex with other not-gay-straight-guys (as well as just gay guys). I know, you might have to re-read that a couple of times, so I’ll just wait for that to sink in. Oh forget it! Let’s get to the point.
There’s a hidden epidemic, well actually two, raging in our society, mostly with men, but to some degree with women as well. First, there’s a rash of closeted affairs happening, which is probably no great surprise to anyone given the divorce rates. Second, there’s a higher than expected amount of male-to-male (M2M) affairs happening, and society, gay men and straight-but-I’m-not-gay men are all ignoring the ramifications of pretending it’s not happening.
I’m not here to ruffle the proverbial feathers of the idea that what two consenting adults do behind closed doors is their business. Oh no, no, no. I enjoyed the entire trilogy of 50 Shades too much to be that holier than thou. However, what I’m noticing as I work with gay men, and men coming out of the closet late in life, is that there’s a shortage of commitment, honesty and authenticity. Almost as much of a shortage as there are Tops in the gay community. That was probably TMI for some of you, but please read on so you get where I’m going with this.
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Let’s start with commitment. This is a double-edged sword that cuts both ways. When a gay guy knowingly hooks up with a “straight guy,” who’s avoiding commitment? Actually, both men. The straight guy who’s in a relationship with a woman is avoiding his commitment to the relationship. We all get that, and call it infidelity or cheating. On the other hand, the gay guy who is romping between the sheets with oh-so-fine-straight guys may be avoiding commitment as well. Think about it. When they date or hook up with married men, there’s almost no potential for it to lead to anything serious.
Now let’s chat about the “H” word — honesty. We’ve already addressed the infidelity issue, which holds hands nicely with honesty, but what about being honest with yourself? For the guy who’s playing straight, but sure likes to jump into bed with other men, there’s not a lot of room for being honest with himself about his true sexual attractions or orientation. Of course, let’s place blame where blame is due. It’s not cool to be gay, especially if you’re a man, so once again, society plays the Ace card and contributes to more men staying in the closet and having secret and dishonest man-on-man encounters. And alas, for the gay man who’s hooking up with these straight guys, the question becomes, “Are you being honest with yourself and really enjoying these encounters, other than for the 3.5 minutes that they last?” A healthy and honest relationship with yourself will do wonders to relieve the stress that — consciously or unconsciously — is wreaking havoc with your self-esteem, self-love and sense of guilt and shame.
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Finally, we come to one of the biggest hot button words of the day — authenticity. I get it. This word seems to get thrown around more than trash on the streets of New York. Again, I’m not pointing fingers at anyone, because that would make me a hypocrite. Nonetheless, if you’re going to hook up gay man to straight man and vice-versus, for crying out loud do it from an authentic space. I know the concept of authentic hooking up sounds a little crazy, but it’s really not. If this is your way of getting your rocks off, then admit it to yourself. The more you try to hide this truth from yourself, the more layers there are to the masks you hide behind, and the less likely you are to be in alignment with your core values and beliefs. If you can admit, from an authentic place, that you like hooking up and having sex with men, and this type of behavior is in alignment with who you are at your core, then what is there to be ashamed of and what have you got to hide? Could it be the wife and kids? Or maybe you’re hiding the truth about why you never date any gay guys — because you’re addicted to straight men.
What I’ve witnessed, speaking from personal and professional experience, is these scenarios have more of a lose/lose and “screw you too” tragic ending. Just go take a gander through your local Craigslist personals, “Men Seeking Men” and count the number of times you find the words “on the down low.” Or better yet, check out Dr. Seth Stephens-Davidowitz’s study in The New York Times that shows that a large percent of gay men are closeted, and then tell me what I’m saying is crazy.
Now men, before you decide to call me traitor, I’ve written this for the greater good of all concerned. I’m tired of seeing anyone having to pretend to be something they’re not, and that includes everyone, gay or straight.
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Living a life bound by the shackles of dishonesty, lack of commitment and false behaviors, is not living; it’s dying a slow, miserable death, feeling that you are not good enough. Yes, holding that guy in your arms, if even for a moment of time, is fulfilling. But nothing compares to living a life of integrity and truth.
It’s time for our planet to embrace diversity and let people be themselves. And the old adage will still hold true: what two people do in the privacy of their own home, behind their closed bedroom doors is their business, and theirs alone.
This article originally appeared on YourTango.com: Be Straight With Yourself: You’re Gay (Or At Least Bi-sexual).