Most of us assume that sexuality is fixed: either you’re straight, gay, or bisexual. Yet an increasing number of young men today say that those categories are too rigid. They are, they insist, “mostly straight.” They’re straight, but they feel a slight but enduring romantic or sexual desire for men. To the uninitiated, this may not make sense. How can a man be “mostly” straight? Ritch Savin-Williams introduces us to this new world by bringing us the stories of young men who consider themselves to be mostly straight or sexually fluid. By hearing about their lives, we discover a radically new way of understanding sexual and romantic development that upends what we thought we knew about men.
Today there are more mostly straight young men than there are gay and bisexual young men combined. Based on cutting-edge research, Savin-Williams explores the personal stories of forty young men to help us understand the biological and psychological factors that led them to become mostly straight and the cultural forces that are loosening the sexual bind that many boys and young men experience. These young men tell us how their lives have been influenced by their “drop of gayness,” from their earliest sexual memories and crushes to their sexual behavior as teenagers and their relationships as young adults. Mostly Straight shows us how these young men are forging a new personal identity that confounds both traditional ideas and conventional scientific opinion.
An illuminating new study about male sexual fluidity…Calling for a more modern understanding of sexual orientation, [Savin-Williams’s] idea is that increasing numbers of millennial metrosexual young men are shunning rigid notions of sexuality, and increasingly not identifying as straight, but mostly straight. These are not closeted gay or bisexual men but a new generation of guys who are predominantly heterosexual but have embraced the idea that sexuality exists on a spectrum and who have less anxiety than previous generations about being open to intimacy with other guys.
Savin-Williams, a highly respected psychologist and pioneer in research on sexual minority youth, brings us a fascinating and in-depth exploration of nonexclusive heterosexuality among young men. Woven around engaging first person narratives that defy gender stereotypes, and supported by emerging science on male sexual fluidity, Mostly Straight offers an opportunity to challenge the status quo of tripartite sexual identities and attractions—bi, gay, straight—and consider the possibility of a more flexible, and less categorical, sexuality.
This is a book whose time has come, and there is no one better suited to tell these riveting, surprising stories than Ritch Savin-Williams. For too long, men who consider themselves ‘mostly straight’ have been invisible and misunderstood. Their experiences will challenge your assumptions about sexual identity and orientation and reveal blind spots in your thinking that you didn’t know you had.
In this beautifully written book, Savin-Williams offers a nuanced and substantive portrait of an often overlooked group. He makes a forceful case that both the general public and the scientific community should recognize the existence and experiences of mostly straight men.
- 256 pages
- 5-1/2 x 8-1/4 inches
- Harvard University Press
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