The Phenomenon Of ‘Bud Sex’ Where Straight Men Have Sex With Other Men, But Don’t Identify As Gay

February 15, 2018 | 6 Comments » | Topics: Story

A University of Oregon sociology doctoral student named Tony Silva recently interviewed 19 men from the M4M casual encounters section of Craigslist to ask them about their sexual habits and identities and published his findings in the journal Gender & Society. All the inteviewees identified as exclusively or mostly straight, most were over 50 (only five were under) and they all lived in rural areas of Idaho, Illinois, Missouri, Oregon and Washington known for their “social conservatism and predominant white populations.”

In his backgrounding, Silva came across several not-completely-straight terms like “dude sex” (sex between white, masculine “bros” in urban and military contexts) and “heteroflexible” (same-sex encounters of men who predominantly identify as heterosexual). But his interview also uncovered a a new term: “bud-sex”, a type of encounter that reaffirms the participants’ heterosexuality by framing their same-sex sexual activity as “helpin’ a buddy out,” relieving “urges” or having sex without sexual attraction (if that makes sense).

He found that these men re-contextualized their same-sex encounters in ways that reaffirmed their own heterosexual identity. Predominantly, they tended to go for other straight-identifying men that didn’t behave effeminate or “flaming”. This way, the men could talk about women together and avoid romantic/emotional entanglements that might involve them more in each other’s daily lives.

“These men genuinely identify as straight or some variation thereof. They aren’t fooling themselves.” They have wives. They have kids. They know how to work a chainsaw and clean a dead deer."

When it comes to straight men having sex, Silva says it’s important to differentiate between two groups: (1) Closeted guys who tell people they’re straight but secretly identify as gay or bisexual; and (2) Those who identify as straight but perceive their sexual identity in ways that run counter to what many people think of as straightness.

Silva’s participants were among the latter and reframed sex with men to fit rural, hyper-masculine identities. In other words, they were just “helpin’ a buddy out” or “acting on urges.”

Here are a few of the study’s participants explanation as to why they reckoned what they were doing wasn’t gay at all:

Pat (69): I have a 15-year collection of Playboy magazines. I don’t think gay people subscribe to Playboy.

Mike (50): I don’t want the effeminate ones, I want the manly guys. If I wanted someone that acts girlish, I got a wife at home.

Jeff (38): I perceive that men who are feminine will want to hang out, have companionship and make it last two or three hours.

Kevin (69): Meetin’ up with women would be cheating on my wife. When I meet up with guys, I justify it by sayin’, “Well, it’s only fun between me and the other guy, it’s not like I have another woman…”

Cain (50): I’m not cheating on my wife. I don’t have the intention of leaving her.

Pat (69): Sex with men is not cheating because part of marriage is sex, and my marriage has no sex.

Jon (39): I’m a straight guy who likes to hunt, fish, camp and raise cattle for a living.

Pat (69): I drive a pickup and like guns. I’m not good at hunting, but I like to go up in the woods and sit there and drink my half pint of Jack Daniels and act like I am hunting.

Kevin (69): I’ve always done blue-collar type work, I live in a rural area, I’m a farmer.

Will (52): I lean a lot toward masculine. I can clean a deer, I can catch some fish and I’m a very good handyman.

Reuben (28): I exercise, play sports, take part in what you’d call stereotypical masculine activities. I go hunting every now and then, things that a quote-unquote manly man would do.

Marcus (38): [I prefer] a guy that I would consider more like me, that gets blowjobs from guys every once in a while, doesn’t do it every day. I know that there are a lot of guys out there that are like me: Manly guys doing manly stuff and just happen to have oral sex with men every once in awhile. … It also seems that more masculine guys wouldn’t harass me, hound me all the time, send me 1,000 emails, “Hey, you want to get together today… Hey, what about now?” And there’s a thought in my head that a more feminine or gay guy would want me to come around more.