Chapter Summaries from
"
Male to Male: Sexual Feeling Across the Boundaries of Identity"

Chapter 1: The Inner Boundary

This chapter introduces the idea of the “inner boundary.” The “inner boundary” is an internalized mirror image—inside the mind—of the external boundary that this culture draws between people it categorizes as either “heterosexual” or “gay.” “Male to Male” looks at what happens when  a person’s feeling for someone of the same sex comes up against this “inner boundary” and the pressure to maintain a “heterosexual” identity.

This chapter tells how, across four different groups of graduate classes (average age: mid twenties) over two years, about a third of 74 women, and almost half of 53 men acknowledged some degree of same-sex feeling or had an actual sexual experience with someone of the same sex after the age of sixteen. Even though—starting with Freud—clinical experience and research have shown that same-sex feelings exist in people who identify as heterosexual, that evidence has typically been discarded, ignored, or rationalized away.

Chapter 2: Women at the Boundary

Although a greater percentage of men than women acknowledged some degree of same-sex feeling, women were initially more open about these feelings. Their openness made me think that what was true for them might be true for men as well, and to offer men the gentle encouragement they seemed to need to talk about their own feelings. Women weren’t without anxiety about their same-sex feelings. But most seemed capable of accepting the response to the body of another woman without its being a threat to their sense of themselves as women. Thus, one woman said: "Although I have never practiced homosexuality, I have always had curiosities.  There have been moments where I wondered what it would be like to have a female lover. My intrigue has never dismayed me, as it might most. I have questioned myself as to why I might be attracted to another woman and my answer is that I have great admiration and appreciation for the inner and outer beauty of women."

How the Mind Works

In this chapter I also introduced some basic ideas about how the mind works. I pointed out that there are various avenues that the mind takes to express itself. The language of everyday life is the best known of these avenues. But dreams are another avenue. The various forms of art are a third. The forms of sex—images and actions—together are a fourth. The language of waking life, much more than dreams, is linked to life in culture, where sexual “identity” also exists. The waking self that we call “I” and that recalls the dream is not aware of having created it. But the dream is nevertheless a creation of the mind that continues, during sleep, to express what is important to it in the images and story line of the dream. The part of the self that thinks in language and lives in culture can’t choose what emotions the body will have anymore than it can choose what to dream. Nor can it choose toward whom  sexual attraction will be directed.

Chapter 3:  ‘Moving Toward’ and Resistance

Sexual attraction is not just about finding someone attractive; it’s about a feeling of wanting to move toward  someone and to touch them. It was in my conversations with Seth and Will that I first saw the dynamic “moving toward” of men’s sexual feelings toward each other and the operation of the dynamic resistance that blocked it from progressing further. Seth was a young man in his twenties who had said, in a class discussion about gays in the military, that he was not anti-gay but could really understand the discomfort that a heterosexual man might feel if he knew that he was in the shower at the same time as a gay man (he had been in the service.) The following is from my one-to-one interview with him:

Seth: “Sometimes I've had a dream where I was hugging a friend real tight. It was like the line between friendship and intimacy was blurred. I'd wake up in the morning after a dream like that and say, ‘Wow, what was that all about? What was that?’ ” I asked Seth what the emotion or feeling in the dream was like. He said, "The emotional feeling—I guess it was just love for my friend—you know, brotherhood and whatever. But at the same time, in the dream it was much more. When I see my friends after they come home from college, it's always, ‘What's up?’ and a hug. When I got back from being abroad, everyone hugged me. But these dreams were, like, much more, like a real hug, like a long time or whatever." 

Knowing nothing else about the dreamer, how could one know if this was the dream of a gay man or a heterosexual man? One could not know. I think we have to conclude from this that Seth was in a space within himself common to both gay men and heterosexual men—a space where men experience powerful bonds of love and affection for other men.

Will: Will was a bit older than Seth, about thirty or so. He had also been in the service as a junior naval officer. Recalling  his times aboard ship, he said, “After you've been under way for a number of months  and you've been deprived of relationships with women, a lot of guys start talking and thinking about the guy next to them. It was mostly joking, but I always wondered how much was joking.....”

I asked Will if, among all the male friends he had,  there was one, or more than one, with whom love could be expressed in a physical and sexual way. He replied, “Actually, it's a strange question, because with the whole issue of homosexuality coming up, I've probably thought about it with a good friend of mine, Mark. We have the same sense of humor, the same personalities, the same vision of life. People are on certain spiritual wavelengths or something. If anybody, this person would be the person I'd be involved with, because we have such compatibility at the friendship level. But then that block comes up and I think, 'What the hell am I thinking? That's crazy.' But yeah, I guess I have visualized it sexually but thinking.....this person, if I was to be homosexual, would this person be the one I'd be with? Yeah, I guess I have thought about it once or twice. But then, like you said, that block seems to come up.” 

Chapter 4: Men on Men—Image, Emotion, and Meaning

In this chapter I continued the process of looking at the connections between men’s bodies and men’s feelings.

Brad: In high school, Brad  had gone out with girls and had sexual experiences with them short of intercourse. In his first year of college he had gotten on the Internet.  He found that people could sometimes be rude and unfriendly, but that people on the gay line were usually pretty nice. He and another man got into an ongoing dialogue and, he said, "I kind of fell in love with him." He said that after a while, "We would sometimes talk dirty." This aspect of their electronic relationship eventually culminated in an on-screen (verbal) fantasy, where Brad came to orgasm imagining himself performing oral sex on the other man. They talked about meeting but never did.  There was some sense that he—or they—feared that the reality might be disappointing. Prior to this on-screen relationship, Brad had never had any sexual experience with a man or felt any attraction toward another male. Brad got married a few years later.

Charlie: “I have never felt the desire to have intercourse with a male but have thought of kissing one of my friends at my undergraduate school. I feel really close to him and respect him a lot because he loves everyone and accepts everyone, even the people I feel like punching in the face because they are so ignorant.  I remember saying to myself, 'I could kiss Tommy,' one day as we were sitting around talking.  I consider myself to be bisexual because I love both males and females, and if I ever feel like being physically close to a male and he's open to it I will do it.

Charlie related two very recent dreams:

"I was being chased by a bunch of hoods. They finally caught up with me, but then we all just played music together."

and

"I was having intercourse with a Hispanic guy from the back. We were both naked. I was dominant, but the feeling in the dream was not that of being domineering or aggressive."

Running from dangerous men is a common theme in men's dreams. In men whose identities are heterosexual it can express the "lethal" threat posed by the sensed sexual potential in their relations to men. In spite of the genuine movement that had taken place within Charlie since high school and his openness to a sexual relationship with a man, some residual anxiety is evident in the first dream. But even here movement takes place, and the danger is de-fused. He and the "hoods" who had given chase wind up playing music together—that is, being emotionally expressive and "in tune" with each other, corresponding to his adult sense of what a sexual relationship with a man would be.

After the danger in the first dream is resolved, the second dream, in which he is having intercourse with a man, takes him further. And here the “inner I" is a bit ahead of the  “waking I.” In his waking thoughts, he said that he had no wish for anal intercourse with a man, perhaps because this mode of sex between men is so heavily freighted with our cultural obsessions about power relationships, as his use of the term "dominant" seems to imply. But his feelings in the dream are neither domineering nor aggressive.

I don’t think Charlie had ever described himself as “bisexual” before taking my class. But in the course of the semester—and this was true for other men too—he became aware that he did not have to pigeon-hole himself on one or the other side of the boundary separating cultural "gay" from cultural "straight." The dream that his mind creates is the avenue that takes him more deeply into the realm of male-to-male feeling, where the physicality of intercourse is one of the primal modes through which that feeling is expressed.


Chapter 5: "Heterosexuality"—Versus “Moving Toward” Women

As the “institutional culture” has constructed it, “heterosexuality” is the polar opposite of “homosexuality.” Whereas homosexuality, in the traditional literature, resulted from “gender nonconformity,” heterosexuality was simply been regarded as the natural unfolding of feelings by men for women or vice-versa. However, it’s clear from what both women and men have revealed that, for many, exclusive heterosexuality—as we know it—is the net result of a combination of inner conflict and conscious, self-protective concealment. The concept of "masculine identification" seems aimed at buttressing this one-sided version of heterosexuality while denying the potential for same-sex feeling in the male self. Thus, heterosexual men are supposed to have achieved a state of "masculine identification" that results in their exclusive attraction to women. In fact, masculine identification—both as core gender identity and as value placed on one's own sense of maleness—is characteristic of the great majority of gay as well heterosexual men, just as it was for the men in this book who disclosed their same-sex feelings to me. But the stereotypes about heterosexual men help to perpetuate those about gay men. Looking at the feelings and thoughts of individual heterosexual men is a step toward the deconstruction of both sets of stereotypes.

Comparing the three heterosexual men in this chapter helped me to see that there is no “one size fits all” set of behaviors or personality traits that characterize all men who are designated as “heterosexual.” Rather what these men had in common was that each of them moved primarily toward women in their search for emotional and physical closeness with another human being.  My interview with Russ, a man in his mid-thirties, blew most of the stereotypes about the relation between “masculine identification” and heterosexuality.

Russ: Russ was a full-time firefighter—a tall, husky man who would have no trouble being seen as one of the masculine stereotypes of our culture. He told me: "I have a hard time with masculine and feminine. I'm very feminine inside. I'm sensitive and cry at movies. I believe in reincarnation and think I was a woman in the last couple of lifetimes. I feel closer to women, though I have a lot of male friends. But I'm more comfortable around women. I like romantic music. I don't have a lot of macho attitudes. In my early twenties, I'd go out with mascara on to clubs. It was more of a joke. I'd stand there talking to a woman and they'd ask, ‘Do you have mascara on?’ I felt comfortable enough with myself to do something like that. I liked shocking people.  I always felt a feminine side to me.

What was the meaning of sex with a woman for Russ?   "This may sound corny but I feel almost like I become one with them.  As I said before, I like to please a woman. I enjoy that closeness where you feel like you rise up and all of a sudden you come together and you're one. I don't think you can get any closer than that. You get inside them almost and you feel like you've become one with them...I feel a oneness with them. I don't feel like a separate entity.”


Chapter 6: Emotional Paths

If "the heterosexual" is a stereotype that fits the ideology of the institutional culture, is the notion of a fixed path of "gender development" that eventuates in "heterosexuality" also part of that ideology? I think so.

Colin: Colin was a young married man who had grown up in another country. But the religious environment that he was surrounded by in his formative years was not conventional. His mother was interested in Hinduism early on, and then switched to Christian spiritualism, including working with mediums. Referring to Frank, the man I had written about in “Sexuality and the Devil,” Colin said, "From this vantage point, I can only empathize with Frank's fears to a degree.  I grew up believing that the soul is neither male nor female.  I believe that "God" is both sexless and all sexes at the same time. Our 'earthly' sexuality is just a product of our human bodies' genetics and accompanying constructed social environment. Thus, although I subsequently acknowledge whatever sexuality exists within me, I do not really question it, but instead try to accept it and allow it to manifest itself in whatever  way it does. In short, I do not think that Christian monotheistic images of evil and good ever haunt me." 

While these views might owe something to the religious milieu in which he was raised, a powerful strain of individuality was also evident in Colin. "Beginning as a baby and continuing into young adulthood, I used to have a series of repetitive dreams of an adult man who would come to visit me in my dreams.  Although he never verbally communicated with me, he nonetheless sent me various images.  I understood him to be a guide and, at the same time, another incarnation of myself.  Thus, regarding my own response to images of the body, I have always wanted  to be the same as the man that visited me in my dreams. The man in my dreams became the ideal male that I wished to emulate.  Not only do I judge myself against the ideal male of my dreams, but I also judge all other men and women, that I have come into contact with, against this same ideal as well."

This male image was about 6' 2"—willowy but also muscular.  Sometimes he would have clothes that appeared "sprayed on," revealing all of his musculature. At other times, he would have eastern, or Indian, clothing.  Colin understood this man to be a spirit as well as an incarnation of himself. At some point, Colin also realized that, although his body had a male form, this figure was "bisexual" in the sense of being both male and female—as Colin felt he himself was.

Chapter 7: Identity Crises

Although individuals are exponents of their culture, they are not simply clones off the cultural assembly line. Each person remains, at the same time, an individual in a potentially confrontational relationship with his culture.  In this chapter, I looked at three men who, in different ways, crossed the identity boundaries set up by their culture. This crossing went beyond fantasy or experimentation as each passed through a series of emotional crises at different stages of their lives. At different stages and in different ways they found themselves “moving toward” one sex or the other. The concern with identity—imposed from the outside—complicated but didn’t measurably help them in their search to understand their own experience or find emotional fulfillment in their lives. It merely added another element—an “identity” crisis—to the emotional problems they were trying to solve.

Michael: An Orthodox rabbi, Michael found himself in a confrontational relationship with not one but two cultures  as he crossed and re-crossed the cultural boundary dividing heterosexual from homosexual. Michael knew that people could feel attraction to both sexes, but neither his American background nor his Jewish training offered any models for dealing with this dualism in himself. He had some occasion to deal with homosexuality because a gay man in his synagogue came out to him, but the whole concept remained distant from him personally. He continued to date, as always, and got as far as lying next to a woman in his underwear. He got an erection but felt guilty, and that went nowhere. It was a woman he cared about a good deal but he just did not feel anything physical with her. He said, "I set up the romantic circumstances all the time and then nothing would feel." 

It was at about this point that he met Josh. Josh said to him, when they met, "I want to tell you one thing, when I was single and before I got married I had some relations with men and you seem to me like you could also be kind of bisexual or have ambiguous sexuality."  Michael said, "It blew me away. My jaw dropped. He asked, ‘Am I right?’ Later, as I was going home, I was on the subway and I remember seeing an attractive guy.  For the first time in my life, I let myself feel itI almost fell down, I almost collapsed. Had I not been holding on, I would have fallen down....It was so powerful!"   

Chapter 8: A Man Like Myself

and

Chapter 9: Movement into New Territory

Clark: Both of these chapters are concerned with Clark, an African-American man that I met in a prison situation—an institution for the incarceration and treatment of sex offenders. I interviewed him about once a month over a period of almost three years. Clark was serving a sentence for raping a woman. Although research on rape had not been on the  agenda for this book, in the course of my interviews with Clark, I was  able to understand,  with his help, the origins and dynamics of the rape—dynamics which he had worked very hard to overcome. Also, I was able to witness, in real time, the process by which his sexual feeling towards men developed and evolved .           

By the time I met Clark, after eight years in prison, he had  already begun to allow other men to perform oral sex on him, always however,  being very careful to maintain the “dominant” role in the encounter. But even before we began our conversations, deeper emotions would sometimes creep into his encounters with men. He said, "Sometimes it would get so deep. I would respond, with touching, massaging his back, his neck. I was responding and in turn they'd respond back. I told myself one day—after all the talks we (he and I) had, I was doing a lot of thinking—if I went that far I could go a little farther, see what it's all about. It's not just a learning experience, this could be a part of me."

When he thought about sex with a man now, he told himself, “I'm going to open myself totally. This isn't about me performing, trying to be Mr. Joe Macho king—it's getting myself to a relaxed stage and letting things take their course.” But the emotions in the imagined scene seemed every bit as important to him as the acts themselves. He thought of,  "Being embraced—the hug, not so much the…sex, just the embrace, the touch—that right there is more arousing than the fantasy of the sex act to me. My skin against his skin, my chest against his chest, the warmth of the skin."

I said to Clark that some theories talked about repressed homosexuality. But it seemed that what had been repressed or stopped in him was a kind of movement. As the block was removed, he began to move toward  another man, toward exploring a whole new realm of emotion and physicality. He said, "I'm not afraid anymore. Before, males weren't in my fantasies…..  Now, I have a choice.”  He didn't really have a choice before?  “Right, there wasn't a choice.”

Chapter 10: “Cultural Confrontations and Identity"

This is the first of three chapters on Zack, a gay police officer whom I met at a meeting of the Gay Officers Action League, where I was introduced as a psychologist interested in speaking with gay men working in law enforcement. As with Clark, Zack and I met over an extended period of time, meeting about once a month. Zack would come into New York, where I had my office, we would talk for a while there,  followed by dinner or sometimes lunch together.

The identities of most of the men in my classes were—and largely remained—heterosexual. Over the time that we worked together, Clark's became bisexual. Zack's was unambiguously gay. Any study of a gay man in this culture has to be an interactive study. There is the obvious fact that as a boy and as a man he is affected by the rejection of his feelings and often of himself by people who mirror the negative attitudes of the institutional culture. This chapter tells the story of the evolution of Zack’s awareness of his sexuality, how he dealt with its collision with the institutions of a culture hostile to it, and the eventual self-affirmation that came with the assertion of his identity and its disclosure to his family and on the job.

Here is an excerpt about Zack as young man in his late teens in which he tells about having his first male to male sexual experience as a young adult, after meeting another young man in a Greenwich Village bar:

Zack: "This kid ended up talking to me and he goes, 'Oh, oh, let me guess, this is your first time in this place.' I said, 'Yes, I don't even know what I'm doing here.' He was really nice, talked to me for a long time.  Needless to say, he got me back into his car and we did all kinds of things that I never thought anyone could do or ever experienced—it was great, a lot of fun, I was in complete shock.  He dropped me off at the train station, made sure I got home—he called a couple of times, and could tell I was completely uncomfortable.  He said, 'I completely understand.  Hold onto my number if you ever need anyone to talk to.'  That was my first, real, true experience—as far as being, like out in a bar, someone I met and everything.  I told everybody at work that I met this girlEverything that happened—I said it was a girl."

The British psychoanalyst D.W. Winnicott  coined the term "False Self"  to describe a compliant way of being and living that a person constructs—starting in childhood—in order to conform to the needs of its caretakers and the demands of the environment. But this “False Self” does not correspond to the person's own deep inner feelings or authentic potentialities—which are the “True Self.” As Zack stood on the threshold of young manhood he had begun to construct the kind of social False Self that so many young people do when they realize that the True Self is out of sync with the demands of the environment. By falsifying the sex of his partner in order to comply with social expectations, Zack could only alienate himself further from his inner truth.  Not surprisingly, after this incident he began to drink more heavily.  "I was a lot of fun when I drank.  I was wild and crazy, I made everybody laugh, and I danced with all the girls, but that was it—I had no sexual interest in anyone."   Although Zack had gotten a glimpse of another world that was of sexual interest to him he was far from comfortable in that world. So, although he began to go to the gay clubs he had discovered, he would just stand there stony-faced, ignoring everyone who tried to talk to him—and many people did—getting drunk, and returning home at five in the morning, still alone. The False Self could party with the girls, while his True Self had to stand at the sidelines in watchful apprehension at the gay clubs.


Chapter 11: “The Color Green”

One evening,  we got on the theme of love.  Zack mused, "I was thinking about it today. What's love for me? I thought, that for me, it's like the color green, a color that I love. It consists of sensations, but there's emotion in it too. I could imagine holding it, even smelling it. I think you could explain what green was even to a blind man—as in grass, its texture, the smell of it, how it moves and bends, the sound of wind passing through it.”

A few months later, Zack told me a dream that seemed to pick up the thread of that conversation in a revealing way:

"We [he and I] were on the 'Donahue' show. We'd written a book together called  'The Color Green.' On the cover there was a circle inside a square. I don't recall for sure, but they might have been the same shade of green. On the set were also the guys from work, as well as the chief, my mother, and another man."

The dream told him—and me—what we were doing and, I think, why we were doing it. Zack had used the metaphor of the color green when he tried to explain to me what love felt like to him. In writing a book called "The Color Green" we were, therefore, writing a book about love. But since the focus of our work was on his feelings for men, the dream was saying that love was at the core of those feelings. I felt then and there that "The Color Green" had to be the title for a chapter dealing with the meaning of Zack’s same-sex feelings.

The Image of the Double

One evening, over dinner, Zack told me that he had recently been at a club with some friends when a group of men came in. He was immediately struck by one of them. He had broad, square shoulders, dark "buzzed" hair, a nice nose—almost a "German" look. He had felt a definite attraction to him. Looking at Zack across the table, it struck me that, except for the hair color, Zack (who was blond) could be describing himself. Later, I went back to that part of our conversation. I said to Zack that, as he was telling me about the image of his desire, it seemed to me that I was looking at it.  Zack, thinking I was speaking metaphorically, said, "You were feeling what I was seeing...."  “No,” I said, "I was seeing it as I was looking at you across the table."  I said it seemed he was looking for a man who looked like himself. Was he somehow looking for a twin?  Zack laughed and told me about a daydream that had recently crossed his mind: sex with a twin brother. It recalled to my mind a theory of the “archetype of the double” by Jungian analyst Mitchell Walker.

Walker's idea of the “archetype of the double” converges with the evidence from men's feelings that I've presented in this book. My students were just beginning to give me the material about their same-sex feelings when Zack and I had the conversation about his twin fantasy. Looking at that fantasy now—in the context of what my students also said—it appeared to focus, in a very intense way, the dominant theme in the same-sex feelings of my male students—the sense of shared ties—of identification—with someone like oneself, the erotic pull toward the best friend, the aura of brotherhood.

Chapter 12: “Boundary Crossings"

As an adult, Zack sometimes found himself the object of the search for the “double” by other men whose identities were not gay. Zack recalled one such instance that occurred several years before we met. He was in Florida, visiting Maria, a woman he had once dated steadily but who now knew that he was gay. They were at a club and Zack spotted a man that matched his own image—“He had buzzed hair, blond, blue eyes, I think, to this day one of the most attractive men.” Zack and a woman friend were sitting at a table behind a railing on a platform raised slightly above the level of the dance floor while the other man was on dance floor with a woman. Zack recalled, "He worked his way over and handed the girl over the railing to me! She was pissed off, and I grabbed her because she had no choice at this point. In the meantime, he climbed up over the railing and introduced himself. We started talking—the chemistry between us was so strong. We ended up partying together and driving around a lot. I was pretty drunk. He said to me, 'Zack, you're a real attractive guy and the women were going crazy over you. How come you aren't doing anything about it? Are you a fag?' I remember just wanting to scream, 'yes' and jump on him, but I sat there frozen and said, 'no.' My heart went to my stomach and I said to myself, 'You idiot, why did you say that?' I still kick myself to this day.”

For the next year Zack regretted not having been forthcoming with Don and, when he returned to Florida the next year, he went back to the same club hoping to run into him. Astonishingly, Don was there, but in spite of his eagerness, Zack waited for him to make the first move. He said, “After an hour, he walked up to me and said, 'Zack?' His friend said to me, 'Zack, I don't know who you are, but all Don talked about for an entire year was this cop he met in Daytona Beach, and how cool he was, and what a good time he had and how he hoped to run into you. He planned this trip to be the same night, hoping to run into you, and you're here, which is unreal.'  “But,” Zack went on, “the same thing happened. We hung out all night and had a great time. It got to that point where we ended up by ourselves and we both chickened out again.”

In the latter part of our work together, Zack found himself being drawn into a loose circle of a half dozen to a dozen young men, all of whom were friends with each other. Their ages ranged from twenty to twenty-two or three. (Zack by now was just over thirty.) Gabe was more or less the fulcrum of the group. They all knew that Zack was a police officer and also knew that he was gay. They related to Zack as a friend—sometimes an older, more experienced one that they could turn to for advice, but also as someone to relax and have fun with. In turn, Zack enjoyed having, as he put it, "local friends." Some of Zack's best friends had been older men but the range in his personality could encompass the developing friendships with these younger men as well. Zack's being gay didn’t appear to be a problem for them.         

A number of them were interested in going with Zack to a local club that drew a mainly gay and bisexual crowd and enjoyed it. One of them,  Jim, was a bit disappointed that no one tried to "hit on" him when they were there. It was also Jim who left a message on Zack's answering machine, not identifying himself but pretending to be drunk, saying "I love you, I want you." When Zack played the message for Gabe, he said, pretending to be shocked, "Zack, what are you doing to all my friends?" The next time Zack saw Jim, he said, to Jim's vast amusement, "I got your message and I just want you to know, Jim, that I still like you even though you're gay—I'll still be your friend!" Another one of the group was even more playfully forward than Jim. Zack related, "One night, we're all out at this bar and Phil jumps across the table and starts kissing me and biting me on my neck. Gabe was terribly embarrassed. I was like, 'Phil, would you please get off me?' And he's like, 'Oh Zack, you're so hot...' "

Zack appeared to be a catalyst whose easygoing warmth and openness allowed

these young men to play with the boundaries set up by the culture, not respecting them, but rather toying with them in a light-hearted way, while experimenting with crossing the inner boundary within themselves. I suspect the range of the feelings and reactions in this group reveal to us what we would find in our society as a whole if we could somehow do away with the “don’t ask—don’t tell” code of silence around same-sex feeling.


Chapter 13: Identity and Beyond

In  Greek legend, Procrustes, an outlaw living on the road to Athens, invited travelers who stopped with him to use a special bed. Those who were too short were stretched on a rack to fit it, and those who were too long had their legs chopped off to the appropriate length. Each category—“heterosexuality” as well as “homosexuality”—functions as a Procustean bed on which people are stretched or shrunk to fit. The difference is that the man who is gay has to resist being stretched or shrunk to fit the stereotype of “the homosexual,” whereas the man who is not gay may have to stretch or shrink the truth about himself in order to fit the stereotype of “the heterosexual.” Nevertheless, having taken on the appearance of “objectivity,” the categories remain unquestioned in much of the research on male sexuality, even as they distort the reality of what men are actually like. I think the evidence in this book demonstrates that when the voices of individual men are no longer marginalized, ignored, or suppressed, the hollowness of the stereotypes that the institutional culture imposes on them is exposed. And as the hollowness of “heterosexuality” is exposed, so is that of “homosexuality.” We can then see that men’s emotional and physical feelings for each other are not confined to any single category of men. And as we listen to men and ask what their feelings about each other mean to them, we can see something else that the institutions of this culture have been organized to deny. This is that the identity that really counts—that constitutes the deepest source from which men’s sexual feelings for each other spring—is not a gay or heterosexual identity. That source is, rather, a male identity, and—beyond that—a human identity.