The following is a proposal for a book on SO YOU SAY YOU’RE STRAIGHT: The one in five hidden homosexual heterosexuals by the late Dr Neil McConaghy placed on StraightGuise.com with permission by the author’s daughter Dr. Finola McConaghy.
Contact Dr. Finola McConaghy at the address and phone below:
Dr. Finola McConaghy, Ph.D.
281 Cabbage Tree Rd.
Grose Vale NSW 2753
Phone 0427 427 477
All rights reserved.
SO YOU SAY YOU’RE STRAIGHT:
The one in five hidden homosexual heterosexuals
The currently most ignored facts about homosexuality are that men and women with homosexual feelings make up at least 20% of the population and that the majority of these men and women have predominantly heterosexual feelings. Most of these men and women with some but not predominant homosexual feelings do not consider themselves bisexual but heterosexual, and it is likely they have mainly or exclusively opposite sex partners. At least one percent of the population are aware of predominant or exclusive feelings of attraction to members of the same sex but behave similarly, at least overtly, identifying socially as heterosexual and having partners of the opposite sex. The lack of attention given these findings has resulted in little interest being shown in whether and if so how the feelings of homosexual attraction of these groups are expressed in their sexual behavior and emotional life, or what are the reasons for their presence. Most men and women who identify as bisexual have predominant homosexual but some heterosexual feelings, though they may have a number of opposite sex partners. These bisexuals together with men and women who label themselves homosexual or gay or lesbian, constitute at most about three percent of the population. The remaining 17% or more of the population with some homosexual but predominantly heterosexual feelings and the approximately one percent with predominant homosexual feelings who identify as heterosexual remain independent of the gay community as a hidden group in society. Currently they can be investigated only in studies in which they remain anonymous, as the majority will not report the presence of homosexual feelings if they can be identified.
Almost all scientists who study sexual behavior investigate subjects who volunteer on the basis of their self-identification as heterosexual, bisexual, or homosexual. Their studies therefore do not take into account the existence of the hidden group of men and women with homosexual feelings or sexual activities who identify as heterosexual, apart from a sub-section who have recently come to attention due to being at risk of HIV infection. They are labeled “men who have sex with men”, a designation indicating a lack of interest or an unwillingness to classify these men in relation to their sexual orientation. The terms in current use for sexual orientation remain heterosexual, bisexual or homosexual. Without an additional term the approximately one in five men and women with some homosexual but predominant heterosexual feelings remain excluded from the discourse concerning sexual behavior. To encourage their inclusion in the discourse, they are designated homosexual heterosexuals in this book. It would seem appropriate to use this term to also include the small number of women and men aware of predominant homosexual attraction, who identify socially as heterosexual. Some gay activists claim to have deliberately organized the exclusion of both groups from discussions of sexual orientation to encourage acceptance that people are only “gay or straight”, and so support the incorrect claim that gay women and men make up one in ten of the population.
Addition of the label homosexual heterosexual to that of heterosexual, bisexual and homosexual should have the positive effect of increasing knowledge of human sexual behavior by encouraging study of this currently ignored group of women and men. However it will perpetuate another limitation of the present concept of sexual orientation. This is that it is based only the degree to which women and men sexually desire members of one or other sex. This limitation has resulted in little attention being given to other important aspects of sexual behavior, in particular the desire and ability to love, to form attachment or bonding relationships, and to parent children. There is minimal information concerning the prevalence of these desires, or how they relate to sexual orientation as it is currently conceptualized. It is possible a significant number of homosexual heterosexuals do not express their homosexual interest because unlike their heterosexual interest it is not associated with feelings of love, or wishes to form a lasting attachment to same-sex persons, or is not considered compatible with parenting. The unknown percentage of homosexual heterosexuals who have same-sex activity would appear to do so mainly in clandestine brief relationships, which lack the components of love, attachment, or parenting. However in view of the limited information concerning these components, the current conceptualization of sexual orientation as degree of sexual attraction to or choice of sexual partners of the opposite as compared to the same sex, is in general followed in this book.
The reason most homosexual heterosexuals currently identify as exclusively heterosexual is likely to be their awareness of the widespread negative attitude to homosexuality. To reverse this attitude many liberally minded persons have opposed discrimination against men and women who identify as homosexual, and if they still consciously or unconsciously retain such negative attitudes, they resist expressing them. In an attempt to reverse the openly expressed negative attitudes of the less liberally minded, their attitudes have been labeled homophobic, implying the are based on pathological and irrational fears. Nevertheless most men and women continue to regard homosexual men and women in general as not worthy of the unquestioned respect given those they believe to be heterosexual. It is possible a major factor in this lack of respect is the widespread knowledge of the association of homosexuality with sissiness in boys, effeminacy in men, and butchness in women. Evidence of contempt for these opposite sex characteristics found in contemporary and past societies indicates it is strongly entrenched. A further factor has been the persistence in European countries at least since the end of the middle ages of the belief strongly influenced by Christian morality that homosexuality was a sin of unparalleled magnitude. When it was referred to, it was commonly termed “the unmentionable vice”, “the dumb sin” or “the sin that cannot be named”. As a result references to homosexuality in literature for most of the period following the collapse of the Roman empire became minimal, while laws penalizing homosexual acts, including death by burning, were introduced. Homosexual heterosexuals, aware of the prevailing belief that a person is either heterosexual or homosexual, realize that to maintain a heterosexual identity they cannot acknowledge the presence of any homosexual feelings or behaviors however minimal.
Ironically avoidance of discussion of homosexuality, originally for religious reasons, has recently been advocated for ideological reasons by gay activists. Its appropriate removal from classifications of mental disorders, in which removal gay activists played a significant role, has led to it being considered discriminatory to teach medical students and psychiatrists about homosexuality, or for medical and psychiatric journals to publish articles concerning it. It was argued that to do so maintained the earlier belief that it was a medical disorder. Many doctors, psychiatrists and psychologists therefore graduate with little knowledge concerning homosexuality although it is established that men and women who identify as homosexual compared to those who do not, are at greater risk of becoming depressed, attempting and committing suicide, and developing other psychiatric conditions.
Investigating the causes of homosexuality has been opposed on the grounds that it could lead to attempts being made to eradicate it. However public knowledge of the research establishing that at least 20% of the population have some degree of homosexual feelings would alleviate this concern. Clearly it is impossible that such attempts could be made on a fifth of the world population. Other research findings could aid in reducing legal discrimination against homosexuality. One such finding is that the homosexual activity of the majority of males occurs before they are aged 18 and not subsequently. Paradoxically while the homosexual activity of these adolescent males is commonly regarded as a form of sexual experimentation rather than an expression of homosexual interest, it is the homosexual activity most commonly treated as illegal.
Many issues being researched remain controversial. These include the degree to which homosexual feelings and behaviors and the effeminacy and butchness associated with them are determined by biological as compared to social factors, and the nature of these factors. Of particular interest in this respect is the significance of genetics and being a younger sibling. Whether there is a role for treatment of homosexual feelings and behaviors, and if so what is the role and what the form of treatment, remain debated after at least fifty years of often heated argument. Increased information concerning the as yet hidden group of homosexual heterosexuals could help clarify some of these issues.