You cannot even guess from where does the surprise come - in this case from the "straightest" and most "macho" game of all, the American Football. A new research made amongst former high-school American Football players revealed that over a third of them stated of having had homosexual sex. 19 out of 47 male subjects, aged 18-23, participated in sexual "activities" with other men, from kissing to mutual masturbation and oral sex.
All the subjects, coming from south, Mid-West, west and north west, previously played American Football at the high school (secondary school) level but did not enter into their university's team and were now cheerleaders. "The study showed that society's
increasing open-mindedness about homosexuality and decreasing stigma concerning sexual activity with other men had allowed sportsmen to speak more openly about these sexual activities.", said study's author Dr Eric Anderson, a sociologist now of the Department of Education, University of Bath, UK.
The homosexual sex was generally in a two men and one woman formation, as well as two men alone. "The sexual acts described differed from acts of 'hazing' or team-bonding that often include pretend-homosexual acts. The evidence supports my assertion that homophobia is on the rapid decline among male teamsport athletes in North America at all levels of play," wrote Anderson in his study to be published in the journal Sex Roles in January.
"These finding differ from previous research on North American men who have sex with men, in several ways. First, previous research describes heterosexual men in heterogeneous group sex as men symbolically engaging in sexual practices with other men. However, I find informants actually engage in sexual activity with other men. But this does not mean that they are gay. Second, my informants do not feel that their same-sex sex jeopardizes their socially perceived heterosexual identities, at least within the cheerleading culture. In other words, having gay sex does not automatically make them gay in masculine peer culture." said Anderson.
Anderson explains the results of his research by the positive image of homosexuality on television, but also on the internet, which allowed easier to gay man to express and present themselves, and also talk with straight men; the decline of religious fundamentalism has also contributed to this. Gay men could express more freely their homosexuality, and engage in homosexual acts easier. "The study was not biased by talking to sportsmen who were now cheerleaders, which is often seen as a feminine activity.", said Anderson, the first openly gay man high school sports coach in the US, which he left.
The selected subjects considered themselves traditionally masculine, typical American Football players. "Men have traditionally been reluctant to do anything associated with homosexuality because they feared being perceived gay. There has been pressure on them to conform to the notion that being male is about having traditionally masculine traits, in terms of dress, behaviors and sexual activities. But as more men are open about their varieties of sexuality, it becomes less stigmatized to be gay or to have sex with men,", said Anderson.
"I see this in other areas of my research too, including how men behave in straight nightclubs, where I find that university-aged men dance as much with each other than with women, and how heterosexual men are increasingly free to wear clothing styles or colors that once were taboo for them. This isn't something that would have happened ten or twenty years ago", he added.