When Brokeback Mountain, a short story turned movie (amazingly directed by Ang Lee) first came out, it was a cultural shock, a boundary pushed, a meditation on moral downfall, if you will. For the first time, very directly, the public was faced with a truth that was rarely ever talked about or even acknowledged in its existence.
At the time, the book was such a huge leap forward into the unknown and unexplored, that it seemed it would take decades for the nation (and the world) to understand it, forgive it, and then effectively recover from it - especially given the context and rural surroundings of thie “sinful” urges and the actions taking place. However, when brought to the screen by the much-loved and familiar faces of Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal (celebrity symbols of masculinity and alpha dominance), the much of the public took interest and liking to the plot. Now, a decade later – people are talking about the gay populous without a hint of distress or judgment. Well, more people at least…
Naturally, with sexual progress, it was a matter of time before we’d get to be shocked with something new. These days, we are threading very tricky waters – those where men help each other tame their sexual urges while still declaring themselves as ‘straight’ men who love women, but just look to “help a bud out”.
The situation has gotten so alarming that both gay and straight men are getting confused; who’s who in the mix of likes and dislikes - and what does this whole thing mean in the long run? While some straight men claim same-sex interaction is simply a testament to being even more heterosexual, others are seeing it as the ultimate testament to their male friendships.
Maybe they should just admit they love 'gay' sex (and sometimes even the use of men’s sex toys) and drop the heterosexual pretence of “wing men” and “best buds” drama? No?
Research and intrigue
A sociology doctoral student from the University of Oregon, Tony Silva, turned this newly emerged hetero/homo situation into his social research, publishing his findings in Gender & Society.
He interviewed men that identified as exclusively or mostly straight about their sexual habits and identities. The people he talked to all lived in rural areas of Illinois, Idaho, Oregon, Missouri and Washington - known for their “social conservatism and predominant white populations”.
He found that labels like “heteroflexible” (predominantly identifying as heterosexuals while enjoying same-sex encounters with men) and “dude sex” (sex between white, masculine “bros” in urban and military contexts) were very common - and just as confusing. As explained in his study, “bud sex” is “a type of encounter that reaffirms the participants’ heterosexuality by framing their same-sex sexual activity as simply “helpin’ a buddy out,” relieving “urges” or having sex without sexual attraction.
What the research found was that “bud-sex” was re-contextualized in ways that were reaffirming for the interviewees’ own heterosexual identity. Predominantly, these relationships were formed with other straight-identifying men who didn’t behave stereotypically “gay” or “fem”. Cultivating relationships with men who weren’t effeminate and are “firmly straight” and “love women” allows these men to avoid romantic/emotional entanglements with each other and enjoy talking about women together, without that complicating their relationship in any way.
With this new sexual trend, the whole binary concepts we’ve grown accustomed to – of straight being straight and gay being gay – gets questioned. In the long run, we’re unable to predict the outcome of future relationships forming, but we do know that there’s no going back from here.
Would the situation be a little less alarming if they were simply going gay for pay? Maybe.
Still, these “bud sex” guys are so focused on proving they’re hetero that they even get offended when being linked to homosexuals. They prefer to enjoy the physical benefits of homosexuality – while living safe and securely in their outwardly heterosexual lifestyle. The best of both worlds?
Is it time to move beyond bud sex? Find a BRO at www.bro.social!
Peter Minkoff is a lifestyle writer for The Authentic Gay. He worked as a freelance writer for local newspapers before blogging. Follow Peter on Twitter for more fun tips for men!