That’s right. It seems they do, but this is more likely if they live in a culture where homophobia is less pronounced. According to Dr Erik Anderson, author of a recent book, 21st Century Jocks, when homophobia, or as he prefers to call it, homohysteria, lessens and homosexuals are included as part of society, then men are more likely to kiss other males. In other words, they no longer fear being labelled as gay if they show affection to other men.
Dr Anderson studied young male heterosexual sportsmen (jocks to use American terminology) in three countries, the UK, Australia and the USA and presented his findings at a Symposium on Kissing (‘Why Do We Kiss’) at the International Academy of Sex Research annual meeting that I attended recently in Croatia.
Here’s what he found. In the UK, considered less prone to homohysteria, a whopping 89% of young men were found to have kissed another straight male friend on the lips as a way of expressing platonic affection. In other words, it was a non-sexual kiss. And 37% of these guys also said they had engaged in a long sustained kissed another male, again as a non-erotic way of expressing their enjoyment of the male friendship.
In Australia, apparently characterised as more ‘homohysterical’ than the UK, then just 29% of young males reported having at least one same-sex kiss. And what about the USA, where it seems to those from other cultures that homophobia runs rampant? The young American jocks who kissed, as predicted, polled much lower, with just 10% having kissed another heterosexual male friend on the lips (although it has to be said that 40% had planted a kiss on a friend’s cheek).
Of course, there may be factors other than levels of homophobia that could have also played a part in these results, eg, alcohol consumption after a team sporting event seems to lead to a lot of male-to-male touching, as does winning the game, but overall it seems that the trend is for young straight men to now feel more comfortable showing affection for each other without worrying about being labelled ‘gay’. We’ve heard about straight girls kissing each other on the lips for some years now (remember Kate Perry’s song, “I kissed a girl and I liked it”?), but apparently the guys are now discovering that same-sex kissing is a nice way of connecting with their pals (I can’t wait to see what their song is called).
Does this mean we can all now simply kiss those whom we like without worrying about whether we will be labelled gay, lesbian, bisexual or something else? It seems we might be heading that way. A video clip presented by Dr Anderson at the conference certainly showed the audience a glimpse of the fun that’s happening these days at parties for young adults. There was a lot of kissing taking place – between guys, between girls and, oh yes, even between guys and girls. If all this seems a bit hard to believe then stay tuned. I suspect we’ll be hearing more on this subject.
ps: If you’ve never been to Croatia put it on your list of “must-do’s”. The beauty of the scenery is unbelievable and the people are gentle and friendly.
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