Homophobes Aroused by Gay Porn

Homophobia 2You’d think homophobic men would be the least likely to get aroused by homoerotic images.

Think again.

Researchers at the University of Georgia surveyed young men on the degree of homophobia they felt, as measured by their self-described levels of aversion to gay men, and specifically, the intensity of “dread” they experienced interacting with them.

Then they wired them up and showed them gay porn, lesbian porn, and straight porn. Eighty percent of the homophobes experienced arousal at the homoerotic screenings. The non-homophobic men did not.

Are these men unconsciously deceiving themselves? Or are they consciously trying to draw attention away from their homosexuality?

Who knows?

One gay man told a story about attempting the latter. Writing for Scientific AmericanJesse Bering said,

Stop homophobia

Stop homophobia

My earliest conscious tactic to hide my homosexuality involved being outlandishly homophobic.

When I was eight years old, I figured that if I used the word “fag” a lot, and on every possible occasion expressed my repugnance for gay people, others would obviously think I was straight. But although it sounded good in theory, I wasn’t very hostile by temperament and I had trouble channeling my fictitious outrage into convincing practice.

Maybe it helps to be mean and angry, too.

Jesse went on to cite the Freudian concept of reaction formation which occurs when repressed desires become manifested in sharp emotional reactions and hostile behaviors toward the thing desired.

Plenty of gay homophobes screech against the so-called “sins” of the orientation, but end up outed, anyway: Evangelical Ted Haggard, George Rekers of the Family Research Council, and anti-gay megachurch pastor Eddie Long, to name a few. The whole scene is reminiscent of the homophobic gay man from American Beauty attacking what he feared — his own gayness.

“Thou dost protest too much,” to paraphrase the bard, Shakespeare.

Really, who are you trying to convince?

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About BroadBlogs

I have a Ph.D. from UCLA in sociology (emphasis: gender, social psych). I currently teach sociology and women's studies at Foothill College in Los Altos Hills, CA. I have also lectured at San Jose State. And I have blogged for Feminispire, Ms. Magazine, The Good Men Project and Daily Kos. Also been picked up by The Alternet.

Posted on January 18, 2016, in feminism, LGBT+, men, pornography, psychology, sex and sexuality and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 18 Comments.

  1. This is really interesting and i’m glad someone has done research on this! 🙂

  2. This is contradicting.
    When there is a study abou female sexuality and heterosexual females are aroused by lesbian porn then there is always noted the distinction between sexual arousal and orientation, saying that heterosexual women can be aroused by lesbian porn without being lesbians.
    Now that these men seems to be aroused by gay porn, why do the researchers conclude that they might gay because of it?
    After all arousal and orientation are different things, aren’t they?

    • I’m guessing that you don’t mean that this study contradicts itself. You mean that this study contradicts earlier studies that showed that men who labeled themselves as straight were aroused by straight pornography and that men who labeled themselves as gay were aroused by gay pornography.

      This study is actually different. It specifically sought out men who we’re really homophobic. And the more homophobic a “straight” man showed himself to be, The more aroused he was by gay pornography. The less homophobic a straight man showed himself to be, the less he was aroused by gay porn.

      • I was referring to the conclusion of this study vs the Meredith Chivers study

        If a straight man is aroused by gay porn then he has to be gay [isn’t that what everyone thought? ]
        But if a straight woman is aroused by lesbian porn then she isn’t lesbian, she is still straight

        See the double standard?

      • There could be a double standard. But the point here is that these are homophobic men who are aroused by gay porn. The other study didn’t check to see how homophobic the women were. And I’m guessing that they weren’t homophobic even if they were aroused by naked women. Based on how women describe themselves on the internet, or on my blog, for instance.

      • It’s homophobic straight men vs. not-as-homophobic straight men, not straight man vs. gay man.

      • I would agree with you but read again the original post.
        It questions these men’s sexuality, asking if they are trying to draw attention away from their homosexuality?
        Ok, so these homophobic men are aroused by gay porn.
        Could that possibly mean that they are homosexual in denial?
        If arousal has nothing to do with sexual orientation then why does the original post questions these men’s heterosexuality?
        Read again the original post, it makes a correlation between being aroused by gay porn and sexual orientation

      • Yes, the point of this post is that homophobic men, who are actually gay, seem to use homophobia to disguise their gay sexual orientation.

        So it would be interesting to see if homophobic women, who are actually lesbian, use homophobia to disguise their lesbian sexual orientation.

        And then compare the genital reaction of these homophobic lesbians with non-homophobic women who identify as straight. Based on Chiver’s research, I would imagine that you would get a genital response among women, whether they were homophobic or not. It would be interesting to see if there’s any difference between the two in terms of strength.

        But women’s sexual arousal does seem to be more flexible than men’s, maybe due to both cultural and biology.

      • Couldn’t it also be a matter of the forbidden becoming more attractive in our sub-conscious. Severely homophobic men seem to be (to me) brought up in a sub-culture that encourages fear of homosexuality in men. It is also forbidden. To my mind it seems as though that combination would do something to your sub-consciousness in terms of making the whole thing more attractive. Just wondering.

      • Who knows? But one can be drawn to forbidden fruit in ways that are not sexual, right? Maybe someone should do a study.

      • If these homophobic men who were aroused by gay porn didn’t identify as gay then how did the researchers reach to the conclusion that they were actually gay trying to hide their homosexuality?
        Did these men who participated in the study admit eventually being gay?

      • I’m pretty sure they said they were straight. And the conclusion of the researchers was actually not that they were gay. Their conclusion was to point out that homophobic men are often aroused by homosexual sex acts. One possibility, then, is that these are gay men who are ashamed of their sexual orientation and trying to convince themselves or others that they are not gay. Like the guy who tried that technique — no one I quoted in The article. A friend of mine had a gay friend who did the same thing for a while. So it’s certainly a possibility.

  3. Makes sense the psychology of lashing out at what we’ve been taught to disown about ourselves. Hopefully the world is a better place where people can own their authentic desires and not have to punish themselves and others for it.

    • Hope so. Studies like these actually seem to be helping. Men are beginning to worry that if they come across as too homophobic, People will think they are gay. The irony: homophobia working to diminish homophobia.

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