Can Someone Be Homosexual And Not Gay?

How gay are you?  Just a little?  All the way? Kinsey says you are … 

Now what if you are heterosexual?  How gay are you?  Apparently heterosexual men that fantasize about sex with men are not okay with any gay classification, but are accepting of the homosexual label while they are still married to their wives, having kids, and living the heterosexual lifestyle.

Are you confused yet?  It gets better. In a recent post from, Joe Kort Ph.D. writes …

Words are powerful.

They come with a truckload of baggage from the thousands of times we have heard and used them in various settings and cultural contexts. So when we therapists are confronted with male clients, often married ones, who come to us with deep conflicts about their sexual attraction to other men, we often find that they are willing to use the word “homosexual,” but eschew the “gay” label.

Why? Because “gay” implies an embracing of the gay lifestyle — gay bars, gay pride parades, perhaps multiple sex partners or even anonymous sex. Such clients often are in committed relationships with their wives, are fathers, and are members of a religion that labels same-sex attraction, especially if acted upon, as sin. Unfortunately, much of our nation’s politics have long exacerbated the problem, as well, shaming and vilifying homosexuality, leading legions of men struggling with sexual identity to internalize their homophobia.

For example, gay men in the Mormon faith are in moral conflict. Their only option if they want to remain active and “worthy” (meaning they can participate in Mormon rituals) is to stay celibate or enter a mixed-orientation marriage (which the church no longer officially recommends). 

Appropriate Therapy

How, then, should we seek to help these men who are mired in such internal conflict, whose religious or cultural identity trumps their sexual identity? During the’90s I became a “gay-affirmative therapist.” That is, I pressured men—even religious men like this—to come out of the closet. I warned them of the pitfalls of keeping their sexual orientation secret: a life of increased depression, pursuing a secret life in the gay underground with the danger of being caught, how attempting to suppress urges can often cause them to become even more obsessed with them. However, by doing so I eventually realized that by pushing them to come out, I wasn’t helping them. Being a gay man, I was trying to bring them to where I was at. But as my experience with such men grew, I realized that there is nothing wrong with them choosing to live in a way that doesn’t bring chaos into their family life. These men often tell me that coming out would result in them leading a life of depression, not staying in the closet. I still make them aware of the research that addresses the chance of depression and the dangers listed above, and often advise them to tell their wives, but most find that the risk is too high.

Some of these men are in the early stages of coming out. During this time a man doesn’t see himself as gay, only homosexual. The term gay is too affirmative, and they are not ready to accept it. I warn them that if they choose to stay in the closet and get married, over time their sexual orientation will continue evolving and the coming-out process will move to the acceptance stage, making it more of a struggle to keep a heterosexual life going.

I have treated many men who are Mormon, Orthodox Jews, Catholic and other religions that think of homosexuality as pathology. I have helped some to come out, and some have had to leave their religious affiliations either because they were kicked out or the pressure to go back into the closet was too strong, bordering on emotional abuse. This is a very difficult and traumatizing road for them. They often do lose their families, and become cut off and alienated. Therapy, then, becomes about helping them grieve the loss, and starting to build a new life, living in integrity within themselves. Their pain is excruciating, but I honor their bravery in risking losing everything to ensure they have a quality life as a gay man.

They may need, from time to time, to seek further therapy, but with the right therapist, one who has thoroughly understood the dangers of such practices of “reparative therapy” in which the therapist seeks to change the client’s sexual identity from gay to straight. Now outlawed in some states as well as condemned by most national mental health organizations and accrediting bodies, it has an abysmal record: 100 percent recidivism and too many suicides.

Because the labels “homosexual” or “gay” carry such a stigma, some of these men seek help for their “sex addiction” and see their homosexuality as an acting out of same sex urges. Some therapists make the mistake of diagnosing them with sexual addiction, because either the client or the therapist considers the term to be more acceptable. They push the client into the sex addiction model, which all too often treats men who struggle with “unwanted same sex attractions” as pathology rather than understanding from a sexual health perspective that they might be dealing with an unwanted sexual identity or are simply sexually fluid—neither of which are pathological. Being homosexual, gay, or having same-sex attraction is not sex addiction, and should never be treated as such. This puts the client at odds with their sexual orientation and only makes things worse.

I warn these men about any therapist who would try to change their sexual orientation or label it as an addiction, and to tell their therapist up front that they are not interested in either of these directions. If the therapist is unwilling to honor that request, then ask for a referral to another therapist.

Hetero-Emotional and Homosexual

The truth is that many men with “same-sex attractions” are successfully walking the narrow path between internal cultural and religious identification, and have good marriages. I think of them as being hetero-emotional homosexuals. Though they know they are sexually attracted to men, they are emotionally drawn to women. They fall in love with their wives, and because of that, the expression of love through intimacy allows them to have great sex and intimacy with their spouse.

Their fantasy and masturbatory life is geared toward men, but that doesn’t mean that they can’t have sex with their wives. Some people may label them as bisexual, but they are not because they not attracted to women sexually. They are attracted to one woman, their wife.

Men who identify as having sexual and romantic interest in other men but choose to live heterosexually deserve the right to self-determine how they want to live. It is a therapist’s responsibility to block their bias and support these clients—or any clients for that matter—in the direction they want to go, not the direction we think they are supposed to go.

The bottom line is that there is an incredible range of human sexuality, and we are increasingly recognizing myriad ways to negotiate the sometimes confusing pathways our urges put us on. The words we use to define ourselves can help us to come to terms with and more fully embrace our identity.  –

Was that a lot to swallow?  Believe any of it?  Did Joe Kort Ph.D. explain away the whole term bi but they're married to women, but not attracted to them?  That closet door must be broken by now. 

So many of us were not comfortable with being gay.  I know I wasn't for years.  Is this Joe Kort Ph.D. giving these scared men some shelter or a way out of being gay?

Are these men heterosexual with homosexual masturbatory tendencies? 

But they are not bi or gay because that is "too gay?"

What are your thoughts Instincters?

h/t :  Joe Kort Ph.D.   and

15 thoughts on “Can Someone Be Homosexual And Not Gay?”

  1. Wow. Apparently, according to

    Wow. Apparently, according to Billj, we're all "a bunch of pussies."

    is that like the Louis CK bit about "a bag of dicks"? Anyway…

    I've never believed in bi-sexuality. It'd be completely true if I were to say "I'm bisexual, because even though I've slept with men my entire post-puberty life, if I were to find a particular woman attractive, I'd sleep with her." Again, that would be 100% true in my case. (I'm a gay man.) What it fails to recognize is the fact that I have never, nor will ever find a woman that I believe attractive enough to have sex with. But again: if I did, I'd give in to my lust and have sex with her. It's an absurd argument with no purpose other than to explain why a self-hating homosexual would insist they're bi-sexual instead of homosexual

    I've always thought that if you're a man, and you think about other men when you masturbate; you're a homosexual. It doesn't matter whether you're married to a woman. Whatever sex you imagine having sexual relations with determines your true sexuality. It is not behaviour-based. Instead, what's truly in our mind that determines our sexuality. A homosexual can go his entire life only sleeping with women. However, if his masturbatory fantasies exclusively involve men, and men only; that guy? He's gay. 

    (And getting hung up on the semantics of the word "gay" vs "homosexual" is nothing more than homophobia, plain and simple.)

  2. What I find ironic is the

    What I find ironic is the need of so many, evident in the comments to ths article, who identify as gay to insist all others must adhere to that construct or else they are somehow living in delusion or repression. Clearly this is a two-fold means on their part of stigmatizing those who refuse to acquiesce or adhere to their preferred conceptualization of sexual identify, and to reaffirm their own mental schema used in reconciling the differences between identity and orientation. What I find ironic about this is that these are most likely the exact same individuals who proffer notions of gender-fluidity and assert that gender is a construct. But somehow, mysteriously, sexual identity is not (?) Mainly because observing gender as a construct helps broaden the constructed LGBT paradigm, while making distinctions between 'orientation' and 'identity'  could be construed as hindering the overall implicit purpose of that cultural paradigm.

    In fact, sexual orientation and sexual identity are not equivalent. One is inherent. The other is a construct. Homosexuality is a sexual orientation. Gay is a socio-sexual identity. And one who is homosexual need not be "closeted," "shameful," or "repressed" to recognize this and arrange their life differently than those who adopt the label of Gay. It is quite possible that for some who once identified as "gay," living as an out-of-the-closet, open homosexual within gay culture for years is the precise reason for their wish to disassociate from that sexual identity label while still having no desire to hide. renounce. or repress their homosexual orientation.

    • Was that an actual post,  or

      Was that an actual post,  or do you just need an outlet for showing off your vocabulary?

      • Why are you being so petty?

        Why are you being so petty? His comment was very understandable, and actually quite brilliant. The vocabulary he used was the kind most people could understand, if they took the time to read it.

        This is what he was saying: Those who identify as "gay" dogmatically insist that other guys into guys do the same thing. If they don't, the "gay" men will then claim that those guys are trying to deny reality (e.g. being into guys), even though all sexual identities are social constructs. This is based on a need to reaffirm their viewpoint or mental schema, however flawed it might be, and to discredit and disparage any who don't do so. Ironically, these are the same ones who insist that gender is a construct, even though the idea of gender is thousands of years older, and has a biological basis. They do this because it reaffirms the mental schema that makes the "gay" label possible. 

        Furthermore, I think that this is important to keep in mind, as the commenter said: "It is quite possible that for some who once identified as 'gay', living as an out-of-the-closet, open homosexual within gay culture for years is the precise reason for their wish to disassociate from that sexual identity label while still having no desire to hide. renounce. or repress their homosexual orientation." Amen. That describes a sizable number of men. 

        In fact, the word "gay" is actually very contradictory, as you can read here: 


  3. Labels are tricky. Alot of

    Labels are tricky. Alot of friends label me as bisexual but I don't. I have a fetish for female orgasms but that's as far that goes. I am sexually attracted to both but emotional attracted to guys only. I label myself on who I date, not who I can have sex with. So I understand conpletely when a straight guy says he's straight but could have sex with guys. It all depends on "how" a person labels oneself. 

  4. I think years ago, it was

    I think years ago, it was said that gay is more a lifestyle, homosexual the orientation, but it's not the case that much today, and I don't think there was ever the intention of having a distinction. People who were closeted often made that distinction, but seemed to make the distinction less as they came out. However, the "gay" community is a mixture of all kinds of people, even people like me who are not artsy, not a twink, not a bear, not a gym bunny, not a Daddy, not a drag queen, not effeminate, not straight acting, not super masculine and muscled, not a leftist liberal, a Log Cabin Republican, a go go boy, or any other subdivision of the gay community, but does not look down on any of these subcategories and is both gay and a homosexual.

  5. This article actually

    This article actually supports something I've thought for years: take the 'u' out of guy, replace it with an 'a', and you get something so different that it could be called the anti-guy, a man who lives his life in pursuit of the utter fabulousness of it all!  Fashion!  Divas!  And above all else Her Materialness!

    Gay Pride parades are the contemporary iteration of the Circus comes to town, only it's no longer the bearded lady but rather the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence!  Then the drags, the leather boys with their arses hanging out of their chaps . . .

    It is to avoid these associations that strongly masculine-identified, decidedly un-fabulous guys who happen to be attracted to other guys actually prefer to remain in the closet, and will continue to until the the 'gay scene' ceases to be so strongly associated with dramatic queens.

  6. Gay and homosexual are

    Gay and homosexual are synonyms. If someone is sexually attracted to people of the same sex, both words apply equally accurately.  If you're gay but don't want others to know, at the extreme marrying someone to whom you're not physically attracted, then you're in the closet.  You're still gay, though.

    It's never occurred to me that gay men in— ahem— mixed orientation marriages (I'd have used the word "sham") can actually be in love with their wives.  I have never even considered the idea that I could fall in love with a woman (why would I?) but I hope for the sake of all the gay men who feel obligated to marry women that it's true.  It would make what I'd think would be a horrible situation a tiny bit more tolerable. I can't even begin to think about have sex with a woman. Yikes.

    All that said, it's the 21st f——-g century.  Marry someone you're attracted to and really love.  If your family and friends value conformity more than your happiness, then I would submit that it's time to surround yourself with a different group of people who do want you to be happy.

    There's someone out there for each of you, guys. Go find him, and when you do, don't let him go. I can't even remember what life was like before I met my husband. Our wedding day was the happiest of my life.  If someone has a problem with it, I just couldn't care less.

    • I forgot to add that I find

      I forgot to add that I find the last paragraph to be a non-sequitor. There is indeed a range of human sexuality, and it includes heterosexuals, gays, bisexuals, and transexuals. None of those facts have anything to do with gay men feeling culturally obligated to marry women. That phenomenon falls into the category of cultural bulls–t. 

    • “Gay” and “homosexual” are

      "Gay" and "homosexual" are not synonyms:

      “Actually, there is no such thing as a homosexual person, any more than there is such a thing as a heterosexual person. The words are adjectives describing sexual acts, not people. The sexual acts are entirely normal; if they were not, no one would perform them.” — Gore Vidal

      I often think "Gay" has little if anything to do with sexuality, but rather describes a life lived in the pursuit of the shear fabulous of it all.  If you think Oscar night is Christmas, New Years, and the Forth of July all rolled into one, then you're probably gay.  I've met men whose sex-drives belonged in the set of imgainary numbers, but who were nontheless toujours gai!

      • Um… no. And unless you’re

        Um… no. And unless you're exactly 50-50 bisexual, or 100% asexual, you know better.  

        I can't even conceive of having sex with a woman, but greatly enjoy men; I am therefore gay. Or if you're a fan of syllables, I'm (a) homosexual. (Because while we're giving pedantic grammar lessons, it's also a noun.) 

  7. I can understand that

    I can understand that sexuality is complex and the importance of allowing patients to use their own words to describe what's going on internally; however, it's a fine line that a therapist is on here because as a therapist, we wouldn't want to reinforce a patient's internalized homophobia, shame etc.  How would a therapist know whether what they're doing is only reinforcing one's shame etc. Isn't this approach sort of like a reparative therapy in a way. Meaning, it's possible we're only hurting these patients by reinforcing their shame…as they do in reparative therapy. A lot of gay men are attracted to women emotionally but that doesn't mean we want to sleep with them etc. so I'm unsure if this "Hetero-Emotional and Homosexual" is actually a thing. The biggest question here is why would any of these men show up in a therapist's office anyway? Surely it wouldn't be about his confusion.

  8. Sounds like homophobia.  Yes

    Sounds like homophobia.  Yes gay is a lifestyle and you should be proud of it embrace it and make it whatever you want.

  9. What a bunch of pussies.

    What a bunch of pussies.


    Be a man.  Embrace who you are.


    Anything less is a waste of your life.

    • What a scrotum.

      What a scrotum.

      Be a human being. Embrace a more nuanced understanding of how society and community can affect an individual's health and well being.

      Anything less is a waste of your humanity.


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