The real reason straight dudes have gay sex but still identify as straight

Desire and identity are two things that are often linked but don’t always have to go hand-in-hand. At least according to Robert Burriss, Ph.D.

Burriss is an evolutionary psychologist who studies human attraction and teaches at Basel University. In a new piece published by Psychology Today, he explains the difference between desire and identity. “A person can identify as straight but still desire or engage in sexual contact with persons of the same gender,” he writes.

He points to a recent study by Arielle Kuperberg of the University of North Carolina and Alicia Walker of Missouri State University, which looked at the sexual encounters of college students. The real reason straight dudes have gay sex but still identify as straight The study was conducted over the course of six years and surveyed about 24,000 adults.

Of that 24,000, around 800 reported that their most recent hookup was with someone of the same gender. Of those 800, 96 (12%) were straight-identifying men who engaged in gay hookups, and 2oo (25%) were straight-identifying women who engaged in lesbian hookups. It may not a huge number, but it’s certainly not insignificant either.

Digging even deeper into the study, researchers observed:

  • Of the 800, 29% said they had engaged in at least one same-sex experience before.
  • 22% said it was their first gay experience, and of that 22%, 70% said alcohol played a factor in the hookup.
  • 12% of women and 7% said they regularly attended religious services.
  • 9% said they didn’t enjoy the hookup.

The real reason straight dudes have gay sex but still identify as straight Burriss says the study is helpful in understanding why people might engage in gay sex yet still identify as heterosexual, again going back to that idea of desire versus identity. “Some are likely to be enacting social scripts and conforming to expected behavior,” he writes. “Others are likely to be exploring their sexuality and are either unwilling to adjust their identity to match their behavior, or feel that that their behavior does not fit within their identity.”

He continues, “The majority of these students are unlikely to be ‘closeted’ or secretly gay. Some will no doubt transition to a gay, lesbian, or bisexual identity, but others will continue to identify as straight.” Burriss says further research tracking the college students into the next phases of their lives is now needed to get a more complete understanding of what impact desire plays on a person’s longterm identity.

Related: Straight guys absolutely cannot stop having gay sex, study finds

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