“Straight-baiting” has always fascinated me. If you don’t happen to know this term, it’s the act of tricking a heterosexual individual to engage in homosexual activities. The porn is super profitable, and it’s also a “dating” technique, though “pursuing” tactic may be more appropriate.
But what is so desirable about scoring with a guy who’s not attracted to other guys? It takes more work. It is not likely to happen. And it doesn’t bode well for a lasting and fulfilling relationship.
I myself used to long for a straight guy to “fall” for me back when I was searching out those attractions.
Perhaps it was the ultimate compliment. If a guy with no SSA desired me, then I was the epitome of sexuality. If a straight man could love me, any man could love me.
Perhaps it was a validation of masculinity. A straight guy’s sexual reception of me would mean I was truly a man. My long quest for accepting my own gender would be satisfied with who God had created me to be.
Perhaps, though, I had a longing for something natural that betrayed me. My longing for brotherly and fatherly love was left unfulfilled.
I began to believe that straight guys would not love or accept me without sexually related reasons.
The combination of all these things surely warped my view of sex. My view of nonsexual relationships between guys was also warped. I couldn’t “just be friends” with a guy without considering the possibility of sex. I had to be ready in case it became available; every male relationship had to be judged by that sexual factor.
Even after becoming a Christian and attempting to leave this mindset, I still held the residue of this view. Until recent years, this view dominated my life. In all honesty, relationships from the past year or so are some of the first that I have been able to not sexualize.
I praise God for that. No matter who you are or what lifestyle you pursue, sexualizing every relationship is unhealthy, detrimental to yourself and others. It will harm rather than help. And it only allows friendship to go so deep before you or the other individual begins feeling the pangs.
Knowing this now, it saddens me greatly to know how strong and widespread “straight-baiting” is. Our culture has become so sexualized that healthy male friendships struggle to be accepted without the presence of sexual attractions.
I pray this is a tide that can be turned before regular friendship itself becomes endangered.
Do you also struggle with sexualizing straight males and fantasies of straight-baiting? How do you de-sexualize other males and turn them into friendships that are healthy and true?
* Photo courtesy Transformer18, Creative Commons.
I never “straight-baited”. It was worse for me in many ways, because I was coveting them. They had everything that I didn’t. They were macho. It seemed they could get an girl. They could play any sport. I resented them because I wanted to be them. I married my wife because I was coveting (I do love her, don’t get me wrong) and I paid for it with marital strife and infidelity with my exboyfriend. I remodeled my house, doing all the work myself, overcompensating, because I thought that this what a straight man does. I never even bothered with the sports thing as the whole thing baffles me.
That desire to be them can definitely be a bad feed to many desires. I understand what you mean about resenting them at times- it’s as though God kept them from something but let me get taken over by it and it didn’t seem fair. But I am continuing to work through that false perspective. I pray you continue to as well, Bradley!
While this hasn’t been a part of all of my male friendships, I have struggled with sexualizing some of them. Only in recent years have I begun to learn and experience that close relationships in safe communities with trusted brothers are possible and real.
For me what has helped the most are strong boundaries (emotional and physical), honesty, seeking abstinence from pornography, and above all seeing men as the wonderful beings they are, created in the image of God Himself.
Thank you for sharing, Bradley. Those close relationships are difficult but worth the effort. I am glad you have been able to develop some of those.
I’ve pretty much heard it all, but straight-baiting is new to me. But I have definitely been guilty of straight baiting many times in my past. Most recently, I have a ‘straight’ friend at work (though I think he’s very bi-curious) who is the closest to a bromance I’ve ever had. He was a gym rat who constantly sought affirmation and validation from other men on how he looked, dressed, etc. I think he is one of those who is so obsessed w/ working out and the male body and physique that he actually started to blur the homo attraction/sexual lines a bit..? I admit I crushed pretty hard on this dude and like a typical straight boy he broke my heart many times b/c he didn’t act or respond to some of my advances like I wanted him to. But I do know he liked me and needed me to validate him and needed my friendship and my constantly throwing bouquets in his direction. In turn I would occasionally get that closeness and touch and affection I so yearned for from him, though not as much as I wanted. The high point of all this was when we made a deal about something at work, and he lost his end of it. His part of the bargain was letting me kiss him. It was nice. Obviously very experimental and nervous from his part, but hot damn it was great 🙂
In the end, however, we realized our relationship was highly toxic and while we’re still friends we’re not as close anymore. But there’s a part of me that will always love him and I’ll never forget that first kiss night (Jan 28, 2015). 😉
For the longest time it was my goal to become close to a straight guy or group of straight guys. I wanted to feel accepted and masculine like them and be like them. For me there was never a fantasy of having any sexual interactions, I just wanted to be accepted as one of them. I pursued them for a long time but just got nothing but rejection and disinterest at being friends with me. I believe a lot of it has to do with the current cultural belief that men don’t need good male friends. The few straight friends I did make were cool, but being emotionally close to them was another thing entirely which frustrated me immensely.
The belief about men not needing good male friends is definitely a false one. Everyone needs close friends, and close friends of the same gender are vital. I know it took a long time for me to overcome this cultural mandate, but it is one that is worth it. And when you can form those emotional bonds, Brian, you’ll find it is worth the frustration and work.
Though the idea of straight-baiting somehow turns me on, I never really had the desire to do it. Maybe because I had always despised straight guys for having ‘normal’ lives then here I was struggling with SSA. Since then, I never wanted straight guys to think any less of me. I never wanted to appear like a weak sub-standard man in their eyes. As a result, I placed the competition (a self-made one) in an environment where it would be most advantageous on my part: the battle of brains. I always showed straight guys how mentally superior I am to most of them. I wanted them to know that I am not the guy they can mess with.
Deep down, it all boils down to the idea of acceptance. I wanted them to see me as someone equal or even better. I wanted their praises and their compliments. This is where I find common ground with SSA men who straight-bait heterosexual men. They long for acceptance from ‘normal’ guys too.
That is a great point about seeking acceptance. Truly, all people are looking for acceptance and we seek it in different ways. Depending upon our stories, we look for our acceptance in different ways.
Call me naïve but, God as my witness, I’d never heard this term before, until reading your article a couple of days ago, Dean. So I’m glad that you also explained what straight-baiting is.
Like I said, that was a couple of days ago. I didn’t comment then, because it is disturbing to learn about something so blatantly negative, and to also see glimpses of one’s own reflection within the accounting of what’s being described… ugh!
Granted, I’ve never even once set out on a quest to intentionally “straight-bait” any friend… or anyone, for that matter. But I still saw sobering glimpses of myself in what you’ve described here. All I had to do to describe “me” was alter the wording slightly…
“Perhaps it was the ultimate compliment…”
“Perhaps it was a validation of masculinity…”
“Perhaps I had a longing for something natural that eluded me… my longings for brotherly and fatherly love unfulfilled…”
“I felt like other guys didn’t love or accept me without something more… something physically tangible…”
“My view of non-sexual relationships between two guys was warped. I couldn’t ‘just be close-friends’ with a guy, without desiring a more intimate, physical affection from him…”
“And I judged each ‘close’ relationship by the level of physical intimacy that was shared…”
At it’s worst, this is sexual manipulation of another person, and sexual self-deception of ourselves. At best, it is an expression of our legitimate and unfulfilled, masculine emptiness, caught somewhere in between “gotten way out of hand” and a “focused obsession”… But it’s still a form of manipulation.
In fair honesty to myself, I did talk openly about my desires for mutually shared, masculine intimacy and affection, with my most recent OSA “best friend.” And he willingly agreed to share such affection with me. But I also remember how easily I’d get depressed and full of anxiety over the friendship, if I felt like he was avoiding me, or if I didn’t receive some sort of tangible, physical affection from him.
Now I can see how “high maintenance” I tended to be within all of my insecurities—and that was probably way more often, than not. It must have been an incredible burden for him to put up with me as long as he was willing to. That kind of emotional dependency obviously put an incredible strain on our brotherhood and friendship, since he eventually did “kick me to the curb.” Gosh, I loathe myself right now!
Somewhere in all of this, though, I’m still confident that there is a natural and Biblical balance to be found…
There’s nothing “sinful” about men sharing non-sexual, affectionate physical expressions of love toward each other…
There’s also nothing inherently “sinful” about realizing that I do desire to receice and share such intimacy in close friendships.
However, any form of manipulation is indeed sinful…
And, anytime something within a relationship becomes an idol, that is also sinful.
And somewhere in the Christ-focused center of these, I’m still convinced, is a wonderful kind of “David and Jonathan” friendship that can indeed exist between two men, when they both mutually work toward it. And I’m unashamed to soberly admit that I still long to find such a friendship, Dean.
Thank you for your thoughts, fellow Dean! I thought this term might have been more familiar- but I am somewhat thankful that it is not. And I resonate with you about longing for that close friendship, the “David and Jonathan” friendship. I know God knows my desires and I trust Him in that.
I use to really struggle with this as well. I had a straight friend in college who I use to hangout with from time to time. I found him very attractive and he was the object of my fantasy for a while. It was cool to have a guy share my interests, wanted to hangout and play video games, and start working out with. We didn’t get super close and didn’t develop a deep relationship. It was pretty casual. But I couldn’t help having feelings for him. I us to read a lot of “literotica” and fantasized over sexualized friendships and played scenarios in my mind of how I could make it come about. I never tried to press the issue or manipulate at all. I knew the firm reality of his heterosexuality and never felt I had an open door for something more. Even if something did happen, I’ve always known that it would make any kind of friendship in the future awkward and uncomfortable.
All in all, straight-baiting is just plain selfish.
You are right, Caleb- it is just plain selfish. Doesn’t make the temptation lessen, but it is good to face it head on and call it what it is. Praying we both continue to find victory over this kind of selfishness.