Bil Browning

Can gay men & straight men be friends?

Filed By Bil Browning | July 06, 2009 2:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Media
Tags: can gay men and straight men be friends, friends with benefits, gay men, opposites attract, straight men

The New York Times ran an interesting article last week about whether or not gay men and straight men can be friends. Of course, the article concludes that they can be, but it does raise some interesting points along the way.

gay_straight_friends.jpegThe kinship between gay men and straight women is familiar to the point of cliché (see: "Sex and the City," "Will and Grace," Kathy Griffin's audience, etc.), but friendships between gay and straight men have barely registered on the pop culture radar, perhaps because they resist easy classification. For every sweeping statement one can make about such friendships, there is a real-life counter example to undermine the stereotypes. And as with all friendships, no two are exactly alike.

Resist easy classification? What could possibly need "classified" about friendship? Either you're friends or you're not... In fact, most of my male friends are *gasp!* straight - and I'm just fine with that too. I'm willing to bet even money that a lot of our readers - and not just gay men - have close friends who are straight, cis, or whatever "opposite" you'd like. Surrounding yourself with clones is boring and doesn't help you grow as a person.

But what about the sexual tension?

Still, as Billy Crystal remarked in "When Harry Met Sally," it's difficult for men and women to be friends because "the sex part always gets in the way." The same can be true between gay and straight men -- only it gets way more complicated

My closest friends have usually been straight men. Was there some sexual tension? Sure. Did we both kinda like it that way? To quote Sarah Palin, "You betcha."

I've found that one area the article didn't fully explore is that often the straight guys like being the center of attention. Women and men show interest in vastly different ways and sometimes having a dude think you're hot can be a turn on for a straight guy. It makes them feel sexy and wanted without having to do the delicate dance of "If I flirt back will she think I want a relationship?" After all, what have fathers warned sons about from the beginning of time? The man-trap. Even though it's an obvious stereotype, I've found a lot of straight men tend to believe it.

One of my friends and I were roommates. He knew I had a serious thing for him (hey, he was hot!), but we both knew it was never going to happen. He was comfortable enough about his sexuality that he didn't care if I thought he was sexy; in fact, he flirted with me more often than I flirted with him! Hell, he'd walk around the apartment naked like our apartment was the frat house he'd come from.

In a couple of other cases, my buddy and I actually slept together, but that doesn't mean we fell in love and lived happily ever after. One friend literally said, "A blow job is a blow job is a blow job" while another just wanted to know what the difference was between sex with a girl versus fucking a guy. It doesn't mean they weren't straight any more than the guys who experiment in high school or middle school. I'm a firm believer in letting people classify themselves since they know what they want/like better than I ever could.

Ask any of my friends, I'm a natural flirt. I do it all the time without even thinking about it. Straight or gay, it doesn't matter; I'm going to flirt with almost every man. Jerame laughs about how many straight men respond to me.

Recently, a new friend was going for drinks with us and some other friends. Before we left, Jerame was telling him about how I always attract the straight guys and the topic continued when we got to the bar/restaurant. Our waiter that evening was a cute young guy - obviously straight - and our group of friends were amazed that within an hour I had him eating out of the palm of my hand. Hell, by the end of the night he was offering to buy me a pack of smokes, had touched me on the shoulders and arm a bazillion times and forgot to address the group most of the time since he was so focused on me. ("Want another drink?" "No, but they'd like one!")

One of the main reasons gay men and straight men can be friends is because sex doesn't get in the way most of the time. Sure, you get the occasional ass - both gay or straight - who doesn't know the boundaries already set up in the friendship and tries to push it. Whether it's the straight man convinced that his gay friend only wants in his pants or the gay guy who thinks there's his friend just hasn't "found the right man," there's potential for some bumps in the road. Most of us know what we want and how we like it and we're able to set our own limits to what's acceptable. If you're a true friend, you respect those boundaries.

But sexual tension is a fine thing. As the quote from "When Harry Met Sally" points out, the issue is the same for straight men and women who are friends, straight and lesbian women, straight and gay men, or two gay or lesbian friends. People have sex. Big deal. It doesn't always "get in the way." Sometimes it adds a little spice to the friendship.

Can gay men and straight men be friends? Absolutely - and I like it that way.

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Donn Murray | July 6, 2009 4:06 PM

I've often said, if it were not for straight men, I wouldn't have sex at all. Sure it's usually one sided, and one time, but it is exciting. I have many straight male friends who are now happily married and continue to keep me in their life. I'm now great friends with their wives. No we don't talk about it...but we know it happened. I like gay men too, but usually the ones who turn me on, turn me down. Straight men are so much easier.

Straight men are so much easier.

Not from my experience... I'm a little jealous ;)

Oh, I'd agree with Donn. Straight men are blunt; they want to get off and be done. LOL

I tend to get shy around other gay men. I know there's a possibility. With straight guys it's just flirting until something happens. There's no expectations and it's always more spontaneous.

But still, not all straight guys and gay guys who are friends actually have sex. In fact, I'd say that a good portion don't - which is perfectly fine! I'm just saying that a little sexual tension isn't a bad thing.

Well, I'm living proof of that :(

I've had straight friends I had huge crushes on, but I never made moves, mostly because I didn't want to get rejected and end up spoiling a friendship, or bed them and end up spoiling a friendship. I've tended to avoid sex with gay friends, even the ones I've had crushes on, for the same reason.

Still, as a teenager, I knew a guy who was the picture of hotness whom I might have had a chance with.

LOL - That's funny. One of the bitches Jerame had about me when we started dating was that I'd slept with all of my friends. And it's true... Straight, gay, whatever. My flirting gets me offers. LOL

Can the farmer and the rancher be friends? ;-)

Oh, crap. It's the farmer and the cowman. That should have been close enough for show queens, though.

Wait, how come no flirting's ever gone in my direction? I've known you for more than two years!

It's kinda funny how every guy I'm with has serious jealousy issues when my life is spectacularly non-sexual... :)

Yes, straight and gay guys can be friends. It's about the least divisive social boundary there is.

Yes, they can be friends, I have seen it many times. I have straight friends and gay friends and I am neither. Though until recent years straight guys were more likely to befriend a bi guy so I would say that I have had more straight friends for that reason. And no I don't generally sleep with friends straight or gay.

I got bogged down after the first paragraph; my train of thought was:
1-someone wants to know if gay & straight men can be friends?
2-can lesbian & straight women be friends?
3-can men & women be friends?
4-what was question No. 1?

Bill: your article reminds me of a beer commercial. Straight guys! ugh. whateva. they are so simple.

Angela Brightfeather | July 7, 2009 8:17 AM

Wow Bil! This got me really thinking a lot about my relationship as a Transgender person with my two oldest friends. We have known each other since high school and we truly love each other. But we seem to relate differently on a sexual level. It seems very complicated to me. There is a part of me that understands why they have never made a move on me, and there is a part of me that feels a little insulted that they have never made a move on me.

and how do you think bi guys figure into this?

I happen to be straight and good friends with one of the bloggers on this site. I was a bit shocked when he came out of the closet, but we have always been good friends and his sexuality did not change that in the least.

what can i say? my ex best friend is straight and i had a huge crush on him..(still have) he didn't had a problem with that and he has cry in to my arms like a baby many times. i make him understand his true self..that he was deeply bi! no i didn't had sex with him..there were many love moments between us(hugs,sweettalking,sleeping together) and that made him left me. but hey..i realize that most people arent really that straight as they think they just need to find their weakness..friendship can generate very strong feelings that you never thought about having!

I can very easily relate you, Bil, about getting shy around other gay guys. It's so frustrating. As long as I think you're straight and you know I'm gay, we'll get along just fine. Most of my male friends are straight. Actually, all but one. I haven't had it cause any problems at all. The only problem I've ever had with it was before I came out, since then, perfect. But, if you tell me you're gay, too, then I start getting self conscious. haha I can be friends with gay guys, too. I just think it's a no-brainer for gay and straight friends.