The Effects of Changing Sex Roles on Male Homosexuals

  • Joseph L. Norton


Any chapter dealing with male homosexuals’ roles needs to begin with the caution that the population studied is anything but clearly defined. For instance, one report1 indicates that different individuals with similar sexual histories describe themselves variously as heterosexual, bisexual, and homosexual. The male hustler who presents himself as “straight” because he only permits the gay to fellate him, or only inserts in the “fag,” is well documented.2 It is important in counseling to remember that homosexual acts neither cause nor define one’s sexual orientation. The simplest definition is “one who has an affectional or sexual preference for a person of the same sex.” For some helping professionals, an individual with no same-sex experiences but regular fantasies would be called homosexual; for others, only two individuals of the same sex who set as a mutual goal getting each other to climax would be involved in a homosexual act. Enough males respond sexually to pressure on the genitals or other external stimulation that it almost seems as if intent should be part of the definition, as Bieber3 recommended in 1962. Whether one uses the individual’s self-definition, or an outsider’s count of frequency of the behavior (e.g., the Kinsey4 data that 10% are primarily homosexual for at least three years in their postadolescent lives), it seems clear that there are vast numbers of American males who see themselves as gay, fear that they may be homosexual, or merely indulge in some same-sex activity as occasion presents itself, without thought of a label. For mental health workers, it is important to recognize that some self-definitions are merely “homosexual panic,” but a thorough review of the individual’s developing sexuality usually helps. Some adolescents wonder about being homosexual, but the vast majority of gay males “knew” by the time they were in their teens.5’6


Sexual Orientation Anal Intercourse Premature Ejaculation Male Homosexuality Drag Queen 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1982

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joseph L. Norton
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Counseling Psychology and Student DevelopmentState University of New YorkAlbanyUSA

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