Gay Men and Straight Women

Gay Men and Straight Women

John R. Ballew, M.S., L.P.C.

Is there a natural attraction between gay men and straight women?  A lot of people think so.  The sassy gay friend has become something of a staple in film and television.  (Not to be confused with the sassy black woman friend.) The reality goes way beyond that; many gay guys count straight women among their confidants and best friends and vice versa.  So what’s this all about?

From the perspective of gay men, women offer intimate friendship that is generally free from the complications of sexual interest.  Other gay men are potential boyfriends, and that can complicate potential friendship.  Straight guys can give mixed signals and turn into objects of unrequited love.

Friendships with women can be simpler and free from that tension – at least from the men’s side of the equation.

And while gay men and straight women may not be romantically made for each other, they share a common romantic interest:  men.  Whether it’s recounting the foibles of dating or sharing erotic advice, there’s a common interest.

For straight women, gay men offer male friendship that’s free from game playing.  Women can relax and be themselves with gay men in a way that’s usually not possible with hetero men.  That’s especially true for women who may have strong, confident personalities, or who may not fit the conventional paradigm of female beauty.  Characteristics that intimidate some straight men may be highly appealing for gay men.

Friendships between gay men and straight women can be wonderful – as long as all parties involved are clear about the situation and not using friendship as a way of avoiding the risks of deeper intimacy.  Gay men whose friends are predominantly women (or straight men, for that matter) may be avoiding situations where they are likely to be end up in a primary relationship.  Gay men who socialize with women as a way of passing for heterosexual are using women to remain in the closet.  I don’t need to tell you this is a bad idea, right?

What about women who form romantic attachments to gay men?  If the men in question are known to be gay, then any romance exists only in fantasyland.  Gay men may look appealing as friends, but a gay guy is never going to be genuinely available for a committed relationship with someone other than a man.  The exception to this is the situation where a gay man and a straight woman are both single and willing to stay that way; in that case, a type of non-sexual intimacy can be enduring.

Some women find that they’ve dated – or even married – men who turned out to be closeted gay men.  That can surprise women who believe popular stereotypes and expect gay men to be easy to spot.  These women may be attracted to the lack of pressure they experience from someone who’s not that interested in heterosexual sex; while some gay men may have sex with women if they are sufficiently motivated, most aren’t very interested in it.  In fact, gay men may look like “perfect gentlemen,” more interested in a woman’s mind than her body, and that can be both appealing and confusing to women seeking male companionship.  That’s especially true because society’s heterosexism causes people to naively assume that everyone we meet is straight until proven otherwise.  It may not even occur to some women that their perfect gentleman is gay as a goose.

And in both friendships and dating relationships, clear communication is important to keep expectations clear and to avoid making assumptions.

Site last updated April 15, 2014 @ 2:39 pm; This content last updated May 12, 2011 @ 7:52 pm