If a guy sucks your dick does that make you gay?  Fred, 16

Fred, there is a huge difference between sexual behavior and sexual orientation.  Behavior refers simply to what one might do with their genitals, while orientation reflects how we feel.  Someone can find the other sex erotically interesting to play with, but in their heart of hearts they only generate feelings of passion and love to their same sex (and certainly vice-versa).  Moreover the whole culture of homosexuality is a social construction.  The ways that gay/queer people dress, think and present themselves erotically varies hugely around the world.  

In Polynesia there are males called Fa’fa’fine who engage in receptive anal sex with other males.  These other males are simply regarded as men; men who could as easily penetrate women vaginally as they penetrate Fa’fa’fine anally.  Thus the Fa’fa’fine do not typically form long term relationships with their sexual partners as gay men in the Western world do.   

In the highlands of Papua New Guinea, tribal peoples including the Ettoro and the Sambia require pre-adolescent boys to ingest the semen of older males (by engaging in oral sex).  These peoples believe that a boy requires this semen in order to develop into a man.  Boys engaging in this activity are not considered gay.  It is simply something their culture expects them to do to.  Anthropologists refer to such activity as a rite of passage in that by engaging in it they transform from boys into men. Interestingly, the Sambia believe that if a boy receives oral sex from an older male, he will stop growing into a man.

I have sexual feelings for both sexes, but I mostly think about and want to have sex with women.  I enjoy having sex with men, but anal sex does not interest me very much. When I tell my straight friends that I’m bisexual, they tell me that I’m probably a gay person still in the closet.  Do bisexuals really exist?  Might I be one of them?  Jerry, 48

Jerry, labels such as gay, straight and bisexual are all cultural constructions.  In cultures such as the Sambia of Papua New Guinea where preadolescent boys are required to engage in oral sex with mature males such designations do not exist.  While your straight American friends contend that engaging in oral sex is an indicator of “gayness,” in other cultural settings, it  certainly is not.  There are countless numbers of “straight-acting” American men who enjoy sharing oral sex with each other and have no interest or appetite for being publicly associated with the queer world.   

The renowned sexologist Alfred Kinsey created a 0-6 scale to code human sexual behavior with 0 being completely heterosexual and 6 being completely homosexual.  Research seems to indicate that the majority of humans if it weren’t for cultural and religious pressures would fall somewhere in the middle--around 3.  And bonobos, being unfettered by such pressures all are perfect Kinsey 3’s.  As for the numbers of humans that are exclusively attracted to the same sex, having absolutely no appetite for the other sex, it is only about one percent.

As for who you are, I’d say you are honest.  Men who seek the sort of connections that you do have been known to advertise on places like Craigslist in search of “straight acting” men who seek to share pleasure with other’s like themselves.

Gay, Bi, Queer &Trans