The lure of men who play for the other team

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By Carol Hilton

Straight men may want to explore their feminine sides this Valentine’s Day if they want to woo women.

Fairly often, heterosexual women re drawn to the romantic dead end of gay men.

“They’re attracted to psychologically androgynous men,” says Margaret Schneider, a professor at the University of Toronto and Ontario Institute for Studies in Education.

“Men don’t want to sit like couch potatoes and drink beer and watch the football game every Sunday,” Schneider says. “Men who are perhaps more nurturing, men who are better listeners than the average man, men who have interests in the arts.”

*Sally is a first-year Ryerson student who finds herself attracted to gay men for those reasons.

“Women and men often have a hard time communicating,” Sally says. “The guys I know who are gay tend to be artistic, very talented musically, into film and theatre, and that’s all the stuff I’m into.”

But that’s not the only reason Sally has fallen for gay men. “I just find them damned good looking,” she says. “It’s just my sore luck that they happen to be gay and not interested in me.”

But not all women who are attracted to gay men have such a healthy attitude.

A heterosexual’s attraction to a gay person can sometimes be a subtle form of homophobia, says Solomon Shapiro, a lecturer at U of T’s faculty of medicine and child and adolescent psychiatrist.

“This is especially true in situations where the person believes that they can convert,” he says. “At some unconscious level that person is not accepting that the person is gay.”

Straight guys who are attracted to lesbians don’t fall into the same dynamic, Shapiro says. They’re just hoping to fulfill the sexual fantastic of being with two women at the same time.

In some cases, women with histories of abuse of those who fear sexual involvement may feel safer attracted to someone who’s unavailable Shapiro says. On the other than, women with too many heterosexual admirers may seek out gay men for a break from all the testosterone.

“Friendships with gay men might be the place they discover they are treated with respect and valued for their personalities or for what they say,” Shapiro says.  

 

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